Patterico's Pontifications


GOP Debate Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:44 pm

[guest post by Dana]

“Who’s going to watch a debate between the two Cuban guys? Who’s gonna watch a debate between Rubio, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz? Who cares?”

Well, Chris Matthews, in spite of your ugly bigoted sputterings, a lot of us will be watching the Fox News debate tonight because we care about this election and the state of our nation. (It’s not surprising that Mr. Bigot loves him the party running only white candidates…)

Missing in action, of course, will be the leading candidate, Donald Trump. Instead of being at the debate, he will be using our veterans hosting a fundraising event at Drake University in Des Moines to benefit veterans. Reports say that CNN and MSNBC will be covering the event.

Today I heard several commentators predict it will get bloody tonight with Cruz getting hammered from all sides. He has the most to lose, Rubio has the most to gain. Does the pack go after Trump or do they ignore him and actually focus on the issues at hand? And perhaps more importantly, does Fox News, and particularly Megyn Kelly, let them? And how about Trump, does he start to fall after this or does he hold fast to his lead?

It’s anybody’s guess at this point.

Live coverage of the debate here.


Debate Absence Illustrates Trump’s Erratic and Unpredictable Character

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:29 am

Byron York, no Ted Cruz fanatic he, writes:

James and Brooks Schooley are raising a young family in this tiny Iowa community. They support Ted Cruz and brought their kids to an old church near the Bloomfield town square to hear the candidate, along with Iowa Rep. Steve King and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

The Schooleys like Cruz’s faith and his fealty to the Constitution. But their choice is also shaped by their wariness of the Republican front-runner, Donald Trump.

“He’s not principled,” James Schooley told me, referring to Trump. “He just goes by emotion.”

“I feel like he doesn’t stick to the Constitution the way Ted Cruz would,” added Brooks. “Once you go away from that, then where’s your standard? I mean, you can do anything.”

Before Brooks finished, the Schooleys’ 10 year-old son, until then silently enduring his parents’ conversation with a visiting journalist, chimed in. “He can’t control his anger,” the boy said of Trump in a chirpy voice.

I’m pretty sure “erratic” is a word you will hear tonight from Ted Cruz. “Unpredictable” will be another.

A couple of hours earlier, at a Cruz stop 25 miles away in Centerville, Jeff and Jessica Lenik offered the adult version of a 10 year-old’s assessment of Trump. They like Cruz for his values and positions — faith, Second Amendment, national defense — and they worry about Trump’s temperament.

“He’s too much of a wild card,” Jessica Lenik said of Trump. “I understand his anger, and I get that, and I understand the people behind him. But I think he’s too much of a wild card, and without any background in the political arena, that really scares me. Too much of a hothead, I think.”

Before Cruz spoke, another Cruz supporter, a woman who didn’t want to give her name, worried that Trump just seems a little risky. “I haven’t heard anything that makes me truly feel safe with him,” she said of the New York businessman.

The hot-headed attitude clouds Trump’s judgment when he is making “deals,” as Timothy O’Brien explains in this piece.

But a well-documented and widely reported trail of bad deals litters Trump’s career as a real estate developer and gambling mogul. (Disclosure: I wrote a book about the Republican candidate, “TrumpNation,” for which he sued me in 2006 because, among other things, it questioned the size of his fortune; the suit was later dismissed.)

O’Brien documents a deal that could have validated Trump’s false boasts in 2004 of being the “largest real estate developer in New York.”

With the property, financing and plans in place, a large part of what Trump needed to do to make Television City a reality was to bring together different stakeholders: locals (like the late actor Paul Newman) who wanted parks and a less imposing development, and a mayor, Ed Koch, who had his own outsize personality and who was trying to balance the city’s redevelopment with the needs of the area’s longtime residents.

Had Trump appeased these interests, he might have made the project a reality. Instead, the author of “The Art of the Deal” quickly became entangled in an epic, only-in-New-York round of public fisticuffs with Koch in the spring and summer of 1987. The brawl devolved into name-calling — and ultimately helped doom a deal that could have had vastly different results if Trump chose different tactics.

O’Brien’s piece is worth reading in its entirety. But one prominent example was his reaction to Ed Koch when Koch refused to give Trump an abatement:

Trump doubled down, holding his own press conference and calling on Koch to resign. The battle played out in a carnivalesque stream on TV and on the front pages and gossip columns of newspapers.

Koch said Trump was “squealing like a stuck pig.” Trump said Koch’s New York had become a “cesspool of corruption and incompetence.” Koch said Trump was a “piggy, piggy, piggy.”

Trump said the mayor had “no talent and only moderate intelligence” and should be impeached. “Ed Koch would do everybody a huge favor if he would get out of office and they started all over again,” he noted. “It’s bedlam in the city.”

He showed strength! He didn’t back down! Nobody took advantage of him! Instead, he insulted Koch repeatedly.

Did it work? No. Trump failed with the project and lost big on a deal that should have been a great financial success.

Erratic. Unpredictable. And a failure.

That’s Donald Trump.

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