The post-second GOP debate has come and gone right along with the polling and analyses of who’s up, who’s down, who’s in or out. So now, we’re moving towards the third debate and get to witness all the maneuvering, dodging and outright lying among conservative candidates, with the intent of bettering their position at best or avoiding the loss of ground at worst. What follows are newsy bits that are meant to inform.

**Both Rick Perry and Scott Walker have “suspended” their respective campaigns. Do not take that to mean that they have dropped out completely. By suspending, they are both able to send a message to likely Republican voters; i.e. “I’m still available if you can’t come to an agreement over who should be the party’s standard bearer.” Call them potential default candidates.

Perry’s move came as no surprise. His campaign never gained much traction and as a consequence, his poll numbers were stuck in low, single-digit territory. He was relegated to the “JV scrum” that preceded the first main debate, failed to make any sort of significant impression, and saw potential donors quickly flee to other candidates.

In contrast, Walker once seemed like a formidable contender, especially in Iowa. He is the sitting governor of neighboring Wisconsin and has a legislative history of cutting spending and union-busting, both assets in the eyes of Republicans. But following the first debate when he had a position on the main stage, his initially high poll numbers dropped steadily as a result of a combination of lackluster performances and gaffes (1) that scared off supporters.

**Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC) has continued to campaign as though she were not the target of an ongoing House investigation into whatever role she might have had in the tragic deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, and her questionable use of a private server through which she conducted personal as well as State Department business.

As was noted in a previous blog at this site, eight congressional committees concluded many months ago, that HRC was neither criminally negligent nor derelict vis a vis Benghazi. As for the server, both the State and Justice Departments have now stated publicly, there was nothing illegal or criminal in the woman’s use of that technology. These declarations dramatically reduce the number of potentially viable avenues that the aforementioned House committee can follow; i.e. was the server secure, and did HRC mishandle communiques she sent and/or received that were eventually identified as “classified” or “top secret”?

**As for Donald Trump, he has been put upon by the media over the way he handled a remark made by an audience member at a recent townhall meeting. The man asserted that President Obama “is a Muslim”. Trump did not address that claim and it was thereafter that the media pounced. Specifically, the candidate was asked to put that matter to rest with a clear answer. He responded by saying that it was not his “moral obligation to defend the president”.

This patently evasive reply by the candidate should be examined in two ways:  First, whether or not Trump has a “moral obligation to defend the president” really isn’t what matters here. What is critical and fundamental is whether or not Trump feels a moral obligation to tell the Truth. Second, it is worth remembering that long before he made himself a candidate for the GOP nomination, he was a “birther”; i.e. a person who openly questioned Barack Obama’s eligibility to be our president. For Trump, telling the Truth would be tantamount to admitting that he had been wrong.

By looking at Trump’s “no moral obligation to defend….” remark with the contents of the preceding paragraph in mind, it is hard to escape the conclusion that this man’s moral “compass” works in “hit or miss” fashion, and that he took a cowardly “out” that kept him on good terms with many of his supporters who are  birthers themselves. This unwillingness to speak the Truth while still pandering for votes marks Trump out as the very sort of establishment politician that he rails against at every opportunity. He is just as venal!!

**Following the second debate, there was widespread agreement that Carly Fiorina had been the big winner. Respondents to various post-debate polls saw it exactly the same way and vaulted this woman into second place ahead of Dr. Ben Carson.

There was a period in the debate, when Ms. Fiorina went on at length about the horrific images contained in a long (12 hours) video of Planned Parenthood officials callously discussing the harvesting and selling of body parts gathered from aborted fetuses. She made particular reference to a video-segment that showed a live fetus, it’s heart beating, its legs kicking while someone talked about the importance of keeping it alive long enough for its brain to be saved.

This was perhaps the most powerful “moment” in the entire debate. If only it had been based on a video that was free of heavy editing!! If only the aforementioned video-segment was part of the 12 hours of tape. As a matter of fact, the tape in question was subjected to a forensic analysis, the results of which indicated that it had been cut and spliced in ways meant to convey a disturbing picture of Planned Parenthood. (2) The segment referenced by Fiorina simply is nowhere to be found within the tape’s entire 12 hours’ duration.

Here is another instance when the media pounced, confronting the candidate with that reality. She was given the opportunity to acknowledge that Planned Parenthood was not at all complicit in the gruesome contents of that segment. Thus challenged to tell the Truth, Fiorina chose instead to aggressively insist that what she had described was indeed in the tape she had watched. This, of course, was not at all the point. But, having climbed in the polls, this woman was not about to endanger what she had gained by engaging in some plainspoken honesty.

Concluding Remarks

Sad to say, it is likely that we are going to see more of this as the quest for the GOP presidential nomination continues. In the struggle to stay on top, watch for more moral lapses, evasions and demonstrations of self-serving dishonesty from the leading contenders. Call them Primadonald and Snarly Carly.

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  1. Walker said that he would consider building a wall between his state (Wisconsin) and Canada. That would be quite a trick in light of the fact that what lies between the two is Lake Superior.
  2. “Planned Parenthood videos manipulated forensic analysis finds” found at:  http://www.politicalhotwire.com/current-events/129527-pp-videos.

 

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