The fourth GOP debate, held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and hosted by Fox Business, was mostly well-moderated, stayed on point and was chock-full of substance.
Which means for the average voter that it was a total snoozefest. Candidates went on ad nauseum about regulatory reform, Dodd-Frank and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. There was minimal bickering, no moderator snark, and Jeb Bush didn’t mention warm kisses — not one time. So if you tuned out early (or skipped it altogether), here are the five important things you missed that you need to know.
Donald Trump is weak on foreign matters
Aside from knowing America is “losing big time,” Trump really is fairly clueless when it comes to our foreign policy and procedure. His answer to the Syria situation is to “let Putin have it,” not recognizing the vacuum that will remain should America bow out. Trump also took a hit when discussing the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, which he said was “designed for China to come in as they always do — through the back door — and totally take advantage of everyone.” China isn’t a part of the TPP, which was immediately pointed out by Sen. Rand Paul, much to Trump’s dismay.
Trump's drunken rambling on foreign policy is painful. #GOPDebate
— Seth Stuck (@SethStuck) November 11, 2015
Dr. Ben Carson is too
His first foreign policy question, regarding his view on President Obama’s decision to send a small group of Special Operation Forces into Syria, was mostly incoherent, went on forever and didn’t seem to have a point. He was a nonissue for the remaining foreign policy discussion and seemed happy to stay out of the fray.
Every one of the top-tier GOP candidates has a detailed tax plan and can discuss it. Well.
From Dr. Carson’s tithe-based plan to Carly Fiorina’s three-page tax plan, from Gov. Jeb Bush’s Reagan-era rates to Sen. Paul’s and Sen. Ted Cruz’s flat-tax plans, the remaining prime-time candidates are well-versed in how they want to change the tax system to help boost the middle class. Will they all work? That’s the real debate, but at least we were finally able to see and hear them discuss what they each want to do.
YAY GOP CANDIDATES COMPARING THEIR TAX PLANS! Sincerely, dorky conservative voter who expected this at the last debate. #GOPDebate
— Sarah Rumpf (@rumpfshaker) November 11, 2015
Gov. John Kasich is on the wrong stage
Honestly, Gov. Kasich and Jim Webb should trade political parties — it would allow their talking points to make much more sense to potential voters. At the Milwaukee debate, Gov. Kasich announced he is for government bailouts for “people who can afford it,” is pro-Obamacare and is in favor of a minimum wage increase. These are great Democratic positions, but they don’t sit well with the majority of Republican voters.
When Kasich started "If Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders wins this election…" we were all expecting him to say "…that would be great!"
— Buck Sexton (@BuckSexton) November 11, 2015
Republicans want their presidential candidates to act like presidents
Gov. Kasich’s constant interruptions were off-putting, as they seemed desperate and annoying. Not presidential. Trump’s slam on Fiorina’s interruptions (which were far fewer than Gov. Kasich’s) was petty and mean. It was not presidential and was rightfully booed. Sen. Marco Rubio’s comments about American exceptionalism and our need for military might were well-received. His statement “I know that the world is a safer and a better place when America is the strongest military power in the world” received one of the loudest cheers of the night.
— Breeanne Walters (@breeannewalters) November 11, 2015
Overall the debate continued the status quo. There were no clear winners, people likely saw from the candidates what they wanted to see, and most on the stage were able to get their talking points across. The only “losers” were maybe Gov. Kasich (for being annoying) and Gov. Bush (for being mostly absent). Hopefully the next debate in December will render an even smaller field, allowing for continued substantive discussion as we move toward the primary elections next year.