The Debate Fallout

I did watch the GOP debate last week before embarking on my trip to Texas for the C. S. Lewis Foundation retreat. Normally, you might expect I would comment on it before now, but I hope these belated few comments will suffice.

As many have noted, this was a landmark debate in the sense that it brought to the surface once and for all the biased nature of the questioners. CNBC’s moderators (hardly the correct title this time) were about as hostile as one could find. The experience caused the GOP to cancel NBC’s sponsorship of one of the later debates.

Even though I have drawn attention often to the lopsided politics of the mainstream media, I was stunned by the manner in which these questions were asked and the remarkable double standard when compared to the kinds of questions Hillary Clinton has received:

Questioning

The moderators couldn’t have been more obvious about their own political views. As Ted Cruz noted, he didn’t expect any of them would be voting in a Republican primary. They probably just should have made it clear from the start:

Debate Rules

I wasn’t at the debate in person, of course, but if I had been, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the parking lot outside might have offered some clues as well:

Media Van

What this ham-handed approach actually accomplished was to unite all the GOP contenders; it was them vs. the media throughout the debate. If the goal of CNBC was to humiliate the presidential hopefuls, it boomeranged on them:

Bad Shot

So the loser in the debate is clear. Who won? Everyone has their own opinions, of course. I think the following candidates helped their cause the most: Rubio, Cruz, and Christie. A high honorable mention goes to Fiorina, who always comes across as articulate and firm in her convictions. Carson held his own, as did most of the others.

Some of those instant online polls taken after such events are about as unscientific as they come. One, for instance, said Trump won. Well, he didn’t do anything to stand out and, as more than one commentator said later, this was the first debate in which he was not the center of attention.

Maybe the next debate, moderated by Fox Business Network, will be more worthy of our time.

The False Benghazi Hearing Narrative

Hillary Clinton’s testimony before the Benghazi Committee has been declared a “win” for her by the mainstream media. They report, almost breathlessly, how calm and collected she was. At the same time, they paint a picture of Republicans on the committee as out of control and frustrated by the answers offered by the smartest woman in the world.

Well, that’s the narrative from the usual suspects. In fact, that narrative wasn’t anywhere close to the truth.

Benghazi Narrative

What we got was a performance without substance. Sadly, performance is what counts in the media. Never mind the truth—or lack thereof. It would have been better, I think, if the scene had been set up differently:

Polygraph

“No new discoveries.” “No smoking gun.” Really? How about the e-mail Hillary wrote to her daughter and the other one to the Egyptian government official in which she admitted the attack had nothing to do with some obscure video? Is that not newsworthy? Is that not some kind of gun emanating massive amounts of smoke?

Of course not, we’re assured. Nothing to see here. The real story is that she made it through all those grueling hours. Why, she is the real victim, not those who died in the terrorist attack. After all, Ambassador Stevens knew what he was getting into, right? Again, never mind all those appeals he sent for more security that she apparently never saw. Why, she is the real story here.

I Survived

Unscathed

The outright dishonesty and lack of integrity shown by both Hillary Clinton and her media supporters is becoming legendary. It’s almost as heinous as the love affair between the media and Barack Obama.

You see, the true villains in this drama are those who are seeking answers and demanding that documents be turned over so that the truth can come to light. Such tactics are pure evil, we’re told.

Stop Asking

Fortunately, there are some with integrity who will keep on asking. They deserve our thanks and appreciation as they continue to contend with the stonewalling and the false media narrative.

The Atrocity Known as Planned Parenthood

The House Judiciary Committee is holding another Planned Parenthood hearing today. This one will focus on the details of abortion procedures, with much of the attention on late-term abortions, as well as a medical analysis of the ramifications of altering abortion techniques to acquire intact, usable organs.

Cecile RichardsAt its last hearing, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards was grilled on the ghastly practices of her organization and the way in which taxpayer money has been spent on those practices, along with the exorbitant salary she receives for being the public face for Planned Parenthood’s selling of body parts of aborted infants.

Richards claimed that she had never heard of any baby being born alive during an abortion. If that’s never happened, why did Barack Obama, as an Illinois state senator, fight against a bill that would have provided medical care to children who “accidentally” showed signs of life after an abortion? Why fight against something that never happens?

She also had to admit, under this public scrutiny, that the oft-repeated claim that Planned Parenthood performs valuable services such as mammograms just isn’t true. One might ask why the mainstream media hasn’t picked up on that whopper, but there’s no need to ask—the mainstream media supports Planned Parenthood, being ideologically joined at the hip.

Democrats have pushed the lie that the videos showing the gruesomeness of abortion procedures and the callousness of conscience that allows for selling those body parts were “doctored.”

Videos

Bottom line: they aren’t interested in the truth.

Life is a sacred gift of God. We need to treat life with the greatest of respect. We’ve already seared our national conscience on abortion. Where are we headed next as a society?

Planned Elderhood

Don’t think this couldn’t happen. I applaud all those who are taking a firm, principled stand for life. May their efforts roll back this tide of depravity.

Gleanings from the Second Debate

I loved the setting of the second Republican presidential debate: the Reagan Library with Air Force One in the background. I was there almost a year ago; it’s an impressive place.

Fourteen Republican U.S. presidential candidates (L-R), U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, former New York Governor George Pataki, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, U.S. Senator Rand Paul, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, businessman Donald Trump, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, former CEO Carly Fiorina, Ohio Governor John Kasich and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie pose before the start of the second official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, United States, September 16, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson - RTS1HC6

Not as impressive was how CNN conducted the debate. Jake Tapper, the moderator, attempt to be the whole show; the other two questioners, when allowed a stray question or two, were no more than window dressing, virtually non-existent.

It also became evident from the very start that Tapper’s goal was to create as much divisiveness, bitterness, and “good television” as possible by trying to make everyone attack Donald Trump. For CNN, this was just a moment to try to relive its glory years when people actually watched this news channel rather than Fox News.

Overall, reaction to CNN’s ploy has been largely negative.

But enough about CNN. My aim today is to provide whatever analysis I can of the candidates. Let’s get Trump out of the way first, since he has been the headline grabber now for weeks.

His petulance showed immediately. Upon getting his first question, he decided instead to turn to Rand Paul at the far end of the line and tell him that he didn’t deserve even to be on stage with everyone else because of his low poll numbers.

What did that have to do with anything substantive? It was Trump being Trump, annoyed because Paul has been one of his most vocal critics, and he will never let a criticism go without response. His thin skin won’t allow it.

I’m not a Paul supporter, but this was patently unpresidential and rude. Paul’s rejoinder was that Trump was revealing his “sophomoric” attitude. I couldn’t agree more. Perhaps I might change the word to “juvenile” or “childish.”

The most cringeworthy moment was when Trump attempted to walk back his insult of Carly Fiorina’s face by shouting into the microphone that she really is beautiful. The only reaction from the assembled crowd was a groan because it was so obviously a fake comment. Fiorina, for her part, didn’t even look at him and retained her dignity.

Beyond that, when one looks at whatever Trump offered as substance, one might ask, as in the old Wendy’s commercial, “Where’s the beef?” No specifics on foreign policy except to say that he will get along with everyone and will be respected. Putin, apparently, will be so overwhelmed with Trump’s personality that all Russian aggression will cease. I seem to remember that being Obama’s approach in 2008.

Trump wasn’t any better on domestic policy. All we can do is believe grandiose promises that everything will be great once he’s in charge.

Unscientific polls afterwards indicate he was the runaway winner of the debate. Those are the kinds of polls that Ron Paul always won. I don’t recall his presidency.

Let’s go on now to the real candidates. The field, of course, is much too large. How to begin? How about Mike Huckabee’s comment later that he felt like he was waiting in line at the DMV? Huckabee and Scott Walker received the least time to speak than all the rest, yet they are two of the governors who have shown how to be an executive.

Life isn’t fair, right?

Rather than go down the long list and say something about everyone, I would like to provide my view that only candidates with strong conservative/Christian principles be allowed to participate in the next debate. I know, that’s a pipe dream. But given complete dictatorial power, I would immediately suspend the campaigns of Paul, Kasich, Bush, and Christie (and Trump, of course).

Half the Candidates

Ben Carson I put in a special category. He is a wonderful man, thoroughly Christian, with whom I would love to sit down and talk and enjoy his presence. However, I don’t see him as the next president. His answers on minimum wage and foreign policy, for example, are not clearly thought through; I just don’t believe he is ready to be president. Few successful neurosurgeons can make that leap, no matter how pure their intentions and impeccable their character.

For me, that leaves, in alphabetical order, Cruz, Fiorina, Huckabee, Rubio, and Walker. I would love to add Bobby Jindal to that list if he ever breaks out of the lower tier.

Ted Cruz was forceful, as always, and principled in his answers. I don’t doubt his commitment to constitutional concepts and his bravery, shown by his willingness to buck the system and tackle his own Republican leadership. The only down side to Cruz, for me, remains his rather speechified way of talking, as if every answer is an invitation to go into speech mode. I would prefer someone who comes across as more human and less robotic.

Carly Fiorina certainly benefited most from this debate. She was sharp, knowledgeable, and courageous. Many commented that, at times, she seemed to be the real adult in the room. She was the anti-Trump, full of specifics and well informed on all the issues. Regardless of what happens in the future, I will always fondly remember her masterful takedown of Planned Parenthood and the complicity of Democrats in supporting its atrocities.

She was eloquent in her defense of the unborn in a way that few have been. Some have questioned her real views on abortion, but I don’t see how anyone can have said what she said—and with the kind of vehement conviction with which she said it—without her pro-life stance being genuine.

I agree with others who have concluded that she was the standout speaker of the night. Whether that translates into the presidency is still another matter.

Mike Huckabee was, as usual, an effective communicator. I was particularly pleased that he came out and said he would definitely have a litmus test for judges. He called out the hypocrisy of the Democrats who say they have no litmus test when, in reality, they would never vote for a pro-life nominee or anyone with even a hint of constitutional principles.

Huckabee was strong in his condemnation of the Iran deal and how the consequences of that deal can lead to the destruction of Israel and undermine the security of America. He deserves to be heard.

Marco Rubio was, like Fiorina, well versed on the issues and effective at communicating his views, particularly on foreign policy and national security. Even though he damaged himself with conservatives by his dalliance with the Gang of Eight immigration reform plan, he clearly knows we need to tackle that problem, and I believe he has learned a lesson about attempting some sort of comprehensive plan.

The weakest part of Rubio’s evening was his defense of his voting record in the Senate. He’s missed votes, he said, because nothing would have been accomplished by being there since the measures he would have voted for were doomed anyway. My response is that he was elected to represent, so he should be there as the representative of his (my) state whenever possible.

Finally, there is Scott Walker, the candidate who was given the least amount of time to speak. Many have now written Walker off since he doesn’t come across as strong in these forums as others. I think that’s a mistake.

Walker was better this time than in the first debate, but he had to try harder to be heard. He is the only candidate who has come up with specific plans to replace Obamacare and reform the federal government unions. Tapper never asked about those; he was interested only in controversy.

I refuse to dismiss Walker because he has an outstanding record as governor of Wisconsin. He not only has manifested courage in standing up to opponents who wanted to take over the Capitol building and remove him from office, but he has succeeded in getting his reforms through his legislature. In other words, he has been an effective governor.

If conviction and competence were the only factors that Republican voters were to consider, Walker would be the nominee.

I feel like I’ve been writing forever here. I don’t claim any special insight that others haven’t offered, but I hope my thoughts will spark a fresh perspective for some who read these words.

May God extend His mercy to our distraught nation once again as we move forward to make what might be the most crucial political decisions in the history of this nation.

Planned Parenthood & God’s Righteousness

In a week that has been filled with national security foolishness—a.k.a. the deal with Iran—and the ISIS threat come home—the murder of Marines in Chattanooga by a Muslim terrorist—some of the mainstream news outlets have barely mentioned the most grisly event.

Planned ParenthoodA video showing a top abortion “doctor” with Planned Parenthood detailing how the organization sells body parts of dead babies (who were murdered during an abortion) hardly even makes the radar screen as news that everyone needs to hear.

Let me just say it outright: Planned Parenthood is an evil organization dedicated to snuffing out the lives of unwanted children and, in the process, overturning all Biblical morality.

And it gets federal funding.

The latest figures show that 94% of the money that flows into Planned Parenthood goes toward abortion “services.” More than 330,000 abortions are performed annually through the auspices of this vile organization.

Yet this doesn’t bother the Left, of course. Some consciences are seared.

Feel-Good Story

That’s the way of the world, and I expect it. What’s more disturbing is the attitude of those on the so-called Christian Left (personally, I think that’s an oxymoron) who seem unperturbed by the abortion holocaust. Yet they find it quite easy to point fingers at those who stand firm on Biblical truths such as the sanctity of life and God’s design for sexuality and accuse us of self-righteousness.

What I have witnessed in my interactions with such people is that one can use the old cliché appropriately: when you point your finger at someone else, remember that there are four fingers pointing back at you.

The attitude that I see all too often is illustrated very well in this classic comic:

If God Is Pleased

It’s all too easy to fool oneself. I know I have to keep a constant watch on my own attitudes. Some will, of course, read what I have written here today and accuse me of self-righteousness. No, I’m merely grieved over the butchering of innocent children. I’m simply trying to call us all to mirror God’s righteousness.

A Question of Character

As a nation, are we so jaded and cynical that one’s personal character doesn’t matter anymore? When someone runs for the highest office in the land, shouldn’t we have greater expectations of that person than, say, someone who picks up our trash weekly?

Might we want to weigh character along with one’s accomplishments? Who am I talking about, you ask?

Accomplishments

Isn’t this the same person who only got her political stripes because she married a man who ended up as president (that’s another whole story and primer on lack of character)? Yet now she is able to snap her fingers and make money in a way few can, all the while hypocritically savaging those who make money the old-fashioned way—by earning it.

Greedy

This is the person who ensures that she doesn’t have to answer too many questions from the press—many of whom don’t want to find the truth anyway—and uses unique means for keeping them at bay:

Trust Me

On those select occasions when she deigns to allow a conversation, she makes sure to find a reporter who is acquiescent in anything she says, one who lets her spin whatever lies she chooses without any follow-up questions. That happened recently with a CNN “interview.” It was a joke.

Less Obvious

There are so many scandals, false stories, and outright lies emanating from this person that one might be excused from wondering how anyone can support her:

People Trust Me

Her behavior has been compared to . . . . well, to this:

Oldest Teenage Girl

Might I suggest a modification to her official campaign logo?

Hilarious

Is the electorate really this foolish? We’ll see.

The Media & Our Perceptions

A short commentary today on how the media picks out what’s important to cover and how it may actually shape the perceptions of its audience. Take, for instance, this picture the Associated Press put out the other day:

Ted Cruz & Gun

Oh, said the AP, that was totally accidental. Right.

Negative Light

Meanwhile, if you depend on the mainstream news for your information, whether in print, on TV, or the Internet, you might be excused for thinking the whole flap over Hillary Clinton’s e-mails is no longer an issue. That would be a misleading perception, at odds with reality:

Meaning of All

Then there’s the Brian Williams saga. Dropped from NBC’s Nightly News because of his penchant for . . . well, bald-faced lying . . . he is now back. He’s been relegated to that joke of a news network known as MSNBC, but just the fact he’s going to be on the air again after what he has done is, frankly, unbelievable. They may yet regret this decision:

Reminds Me

Confidence in the mainstream media ought to be at an all-time low. I’m praying that more of the general public gets the message.