GOP Debate Lowlights Featuring Donald Trump’s ‘Sarah Palin Moment’

Fox Business Network is patting itself on the back for pulling off the most boring primary debate to date (transcript). They led the candidates through what amounted to a two hour Republican infomercial. The moderators were so detached that when Donald Trump flew off on a tangent about China in response to a question about the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, they failed to inform him that China was not a party to the deal. Rand Paul stepped in to correct the record, but they never followed up to get a straight answer from Trump.

And speaking of Donald Trump, he contributed some of the most hair-brained comments of the evening. Most notably, Trump may have delivered what will become his “Sarah Palin Moment.” He was asked what he would do in response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, Trump said “I got to know [Vladimir Putin] very well because we were both on 60 Minutes.” That’s about as delusional as Palin’s belief that her geographical proximity to Russia gave her insight into the region’s labyrinthine complexities.

The Republican Foreign Policy Dream Team:
Donald Trump Sarah Palin

Furthermore, Trump never actually met Putin who taped his 60 Minutes segment in Moscow. Trump was interviewed in his Manhattan penthouse. So what he meant by being “stablemates” is incomprehensible. It’s impossible to avoid the conclusion that he was being deliberately misleading.

In addition to his fudging a close relationship with Putin, Trump came out against raising the minimum wage because he thinks that people “have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratum.” He continued saying that if wages were higher it would make the U.S. less competitive. In other words, he expects American labor to compete with the slave-wage earners of China and other nations that abuse their working class. That should make a good campaign bumper sticker.

But a Trump rant wouldn’t be complete without his descending into rancid bigotry. And Trump didn’t disappoint. While answering a question about his utterly ludicrous proposal to round up and deport eleven million undocumented residents, Trump sought to validate his approach by comparing it to a program implemented by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. And as if to put a sunny disposition on the controversial program, Trump introduced the comparison with a reminder of Eisenhower’s chummy campaign slogan, “I like Ike.” What Trump left out is that Eisenhower’s Operation Wetback (yes, that was what it was called) resulted in dozens of fatalities and a taint of racism. Approximately 1.2 million people were deported to rural areas of Mexico with none of their possessions or other resources necessary to survive. Trump is calling for ten times as many deportations and still won’t explain how he will do it.

Now we don’t want to pick on Trump exclusively. Ben Carson also indicated his opposition to raising the minimum wage saying that “Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases.” Once again, Carson is pulling data out of a human body part far removed from area that he generally operated on. There is ample evidence that raising the minimum wage has no negative impact whatsoever on job creation. But not satisfied with merely misstating reality, Carson went on to actually call for lowering the minimum wage for some workers.

Marco Rubio weighed in on the matter of wages and education. Apparently he is not too anxious to encourage Americans to seek higher education. Consequently, he advocated for vocational training as opposed to college. Of course, there isn’t anything wrong with vocational schools, which may be superior alternatives for some students. But Rubio reduced the argument to “Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers.” However, Rubio’s argument is not based in reality. The median salary for philosophy professors is almost $64,000. The median salary for welders is about $37,400. And philosophy majors (who often go into many other lines of work where an understanding of people and society is required) command higher average salaries throughout their careers. We need both welders and philosophers, but no one should be persuaded based on dishonest applause lines from self-serving politicians.

Rand Paul’s breakout moment in the debate came during a discussion on income inequality when he said that “If you want less income inequality, move to a city with a Republican mayor or a state with a Republican governor.” Not surprisingly, this is another Republican distortion of the truth. Of the ten states with the worst income inequality gaps, six are run by Republicans. Do these people ever get tired of being wrong?

Apparently not. Because Carly Fiorina joined the parade in a rant against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She inexplicably said that “We’ve created something called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a vast bureaucracy with no congressional oversight that’s digging through hundreds of millions of your credit records to detect fraud.” What Fiorina considers a “vast bureaucracy” is a relatively small agency with fewer than 1,000 employees. For comparison, the IRS has about 90,000. What’s more, it has the same measure of congressional oversight of almost every other federal agency. It’s director must be confirmed by the Senate, and it is subject to budgetary constraints imposed by Congress. Finally, you’ll have to ask her what she finds so offensive about uncovering fraud and protecting America’s consumers.

To give credit where it’s due, there some questions that where genuinely probing and worthwhile. Sadly, not one of them got a direct answer. The candidates exercised the old debate strategy of not answering the question you are asked, but the question you wish you were asked. And the moderators did nothing in the way of follow ups to attempt to get a responsive answer. Here are three outstanding, and unanswered, questions:

Gerard Baker, Wall Street Journal: Now, in seven years under President Obama, the U.S. has added an average of 107,000 jobs a month. Under President Clinton, the economy added about 240,000 jobs a month. Under George W. Bush, it was only 13,000 a month. If you win the nomination, you’ll probably be facing a Democrat named Clinton. How are you going to respond to the claim that Democratic presidents are better at creating jobs than Republicans?

Maria Bartiromo, Fox Business: [Hillary Clinton] was the first lady of the United States, a U.S. senator from New York, and secretary of state under Barack Obama. She has arguably more experience, certainly more time in government than almost all of you on stage tonight. Why should the American people trust you to lead this country, even though she has been so much closer to the office?

Baker: Income inequality has been rising in the United States. Fifty years ago, for example, the average CEO of a big corporation in this country earned 20 times the average salary of one of his or her workers. Today, that CEO earns about 300 times the average salary of a worker. Does it matter at all that the gap between the rich and everyone else is widening?

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

This debate was a peculiar creature from the start. The Fox Business Network has program ratings so low that Nielsen doesn’t even publish them. The only explanation is that it was a gift from the Republican Party to Rupert Murdoch and the Fox News family. As it turns out, it was a generous gift in that the debate drew a record number of viewers (13,500,000) for the tiny network. Although it was still the smallest audience of any of the debates held so far this election cycle. The next debates are scheduled for November 14 (Democrats on CBS) and December 15 (GOP on CNN).

GOP Debate On FBN To Be Moderated By The Glenn Beck Of Business News

The Republican candidates for president are preparing for their next televised debate tomorrow on the Fox Business Network. It is rather peculiar that FBN was selected as a debate host considering that their program ratings are so low that Nielsen doesn’t even publish them. This debate was a gift from the Republican National Committee to their benefactor and overlord, Rupert Murdoch, who is desperate for anything that might goose the numbers.

Neil Cavuto

In the wake of the last GOP debate on CNBC, FBN is facing certain challenges to their production. The candidates were so outraged at what they regarded as unfair treatment that they banded together in a show of unity to force all the subsequent debate hosts to bend to their will. Embarrassingly, they couldn’t even manage that protest and eventually dropped their demands.

Still, there will be competing pressures on FBN and their moderators, Neil Cavuto and Maria Bartiromo. Candidates will watching to see if they are hammered with “gotcha” questions (which to Republicans are any questions they can’t answer). But if the moderators go soft they will be pilloried as stooges for the GOP who didn’t have the cojones to address serious issues or differences between the candidates. It will be interesting to see how they walk that tightrope.

There may be some surprises, but for the most part this debate will shun controversy. What can be assumed with some confidence is that the moderators will avoid anything that might reflect badly on the candidates. They will skew closely to the Fox News bias in favor of electing Republicans. Questions will framed as how the GOP will differ from the commies in the other party. And leading that parade will be Neil Cavuto, the Glenn Beck of business news.

Cavuto’s presence on Fox News and Fox Business (where he is the Senior VP and Managing Editor) is a relentless barrage of hyper-partisanship and crackpot conservatism. His commentaries are boorish assaults on Democrats and liberals. He is a serial interrupter of anyone who holds a different opinion than his. And his analysis always manages to put progressive policies and achievements in a negative light. For instance, he was fond of calling the historic market gains that occurred in Obama’s first term as a “bear market rally.” And that was when he wasn’t calling it the “Bush recovery.”

For your entertainment pleasure, the list below demonstrates some of his more outlandish pronouncements:

  • On the Iran nuclear deal Cavuto said that “We are helping the very folks that may have had a hand in 9/11.” But there is no evidence that Iran had any role in the Al Qaeda attack.
  • Cavuto opined that if Benghazi had happened on George W. Bush’s watch he would have been impeached. However, there were thirteen deadly attacks on diplomatic facilities during Bush’s presidency, but no impeachment, no hearings, not even any notable criticism.
  • Cavuto demeaned people who received government aid as lazy moochers who believe that “as long as Uncle Sam’s got my back I can lay back.”
  • Cavuto slammed efforts to raise the minumum wage because when he worked at a fast food restaurant in his youth he considered it a great learning and growth opportunity. But when adjusted for inflation, he was earning $2.22 more than the current minimum wage.
  • In one of his tirades against Climate Change he railed that “it is freezing across the entire globe.” Of course, only an idiot would say such a thing, particularly when almost every year for the past decade ranks as among the hottest ever.
  • His report on ObamaCare featured high grade fear mongering and a title warning about “National Healthcare: Breeding Ground For Terror?” That’s right. In Cavuto’s world health care equals terror.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

This is the sort of fringe crackpottery that is right at home on Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze or Alex Jones’ InfoWars. But Cavuto practices it on both his Fox News and Fox Business shows. He invites guests to appear with equally outlandish conspiracy theories with which he generally agrees. He engages in non-stop, brazenly partisan, propagandizing on behalf of the conservative agenda of his network bosses, Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch. Cavuto is a Tea Party boosting, climate science denying, harbinger of economic Armageddon. And tomorrow night he will moderating a Republican primary debate. Should be fun.

Hillary Clinton Smeared By Fox News For Correctly Analyzing Trickle-Down Economics

During the 2012 presidential campaign President Obama gave a speech wherein he paid tribute to the American people who collectively created an environment for business to prosper. That environment included paying for the roads, bridges, water and electricity facilities, and other infrastructure necessities without which the economy would whither.

However, one sentence fragment was lifted out of context from that speech by Mitt Romney’s campaign, and his friendly media cohorts, and used to unfairly clobber the President. That sound bite, you may recall, was when Obama reminded the proprietor class that “You didn’t build that,” meaning that every business has benefited from the investments made by our society and government.

Well, here we go again. Yesterday on Fox News the curvy-couch potatoes of Fox & Friends hosted a segment that focused solely on a sentence fragment that was part of a speech by Hillary Clinton.

Fox News Trickle Down

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Clinton was speaking at a rally in support of Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley. The comment in its sliced-up form was “Don’t let anybody tell you, that, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.” In essence it is barely different than Obama’s comment two years ago. But it is just as deceitfully excised from its original context. Here is what Clinton actually said:

“Don’t let anybody tell you that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs. They always say that. I’ve been through this. My husband gave working families a raise in the 1990s. I voted to raise the minimum wage and guess what? Millions of jobs were created or paid better and more families were more secure. That’s what we want to see here, and that’s what we want to see across the country.

“And don’t let anybody tell you, that, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs. You know, that old theory, trickle-down economics. That has been tried. That has failed. That has failed rather spectacularly.

“One of the things my husband says, when people say, what did you bring to Washington? He says, well I brought arithmetic. And part of it was he demonstrated why trickle down should be consigned to the trash bin of history. More tax cuts for the top and for companies that ship jobs over seas while taxpayers and voters are stuck paying the freight just doesn’t add up.”

It’s plain as day that Clinton was referring to the discredited sham known as trickle-down economics. She also hammered Republicans for opposing a pay raise for America’s workers while simultaneously pushing for a tax cut for America’s wealthy. That is exactly the reverse of what is needed to stimulate the economy. When the middle class has more money in their pockets they spend it, increasing profits for businesses and creating the demand that spurs employers to hire. Conversely, when the rich get more money it is typically directed to Wall Street or retirement accounts which have no productive impact on job growth.

Particularly disturbing were the comments by Fox’s business maven, Maria Bartiromo. For someone who should know better, she offered an ignorant appraisal of how the job market works. She accused Clinton of calling business evil, which never happened, and turned the whole debate into a political drama saying…

“Everybody knows that businesses create jobs. I mean, this is not brain surgery. We know that businesses, people that run business actually create the jobs. And I think Hillary knows that as well. […] Here we are a week away from the midterms, she’s gearing up for 2016, she’s firing up the base.”

Apparently Bartiromo knows even less about economics than she does about brain surgery. Businesses do not create jobs. They create products and services. But there are no jobs until there is consumer demand. That means people have to want the products and have the funds to pay for them. If a company has such demand for their product they will hire new employees. If there is no demand they will not hire anyone, no matter how many tax breaks they get.

[For a deeper look into who the “Real Job Creators” are, see this article and infographic]

The big fallacy about business is that it focused on creating jobs. But that isn’t true and the proof is that no business sits around trying to figure out ways to increase its expenditures on staff. To the contrary, they spend a great deal of time trying to find staff they can cut. Since their mission is to increase profits, their goal is to reduce expenses, and personnel are generally first on the list of cost-cutting measures. That’s one of the reasons that businesses are so drawn to outsourcing to foreign labor.

So businesses, rather than being job creators, are more often job destroyers, trying to operate with the fewest number of employees possible. And when Clinton says not to let anyone tell you that corporations and businesses that create jobs, she is spot on. It is, and has always been, consumers that create the demand that creates jobs. Trickle-down economics was a fat-cat scam from its inception. Fox News and other right-wing deceivers will perpetually mislead their ill-informed flock, but the truth is available for those clear-eyed enough to want to see it (which means no Fox News viewers or Tea Partiers).

Shameless self-promotion…
Get Fox Nation vs. Reality. Available now at Amazon.