August 7, 2015

My Thoughts on the Republican Presidential Debate

By In Blogs, Shane Kastler

Warning. If you love politicians, you will hate this article. Which candidate am I endorsing?  None of them.  Which candidates do I trust?  None of them.  Which do I agree with?  Some more than others.  Which will I vote for in the primary?  None.  I’m not a Republican, I’m an Independent and cannot vote in the primary in Louisiana.  Which candidates do I have opinions on?  All of them.  With that said, here are my thoughts on last night’s Republican presidential debate.

First of all, I’m not a fan of Megyn Kelly….at all. She seems nice and would probably make a good next door neighbor, but she has no business running a debate. The whole scene had more of a tabloid, “Jerry Springer” type feel to it. Rather than asking serious questions about issues it was more like the pretty girl on the playground trying to goad two boys into a fight. Megyn needs to be hosting something like “The View” rather than attempting serious journalism. Her feelings are hurt because of something Donald Trump said about Rosie O’Donnell ten years ago. Then when Donald answers her in typical Donald fashion, her feelings are hurt again. In the post debate analysis she spoke of how “offended” she was by Donald’s response. Megyn, if you’re that sensitive, then get out of journalism. I’m no fan of Chris Wallace either. Brett Baier should have been running that debate by himself. He’s serious, professional, and most importantly…. not a whiny cry baby like Megyn and Wallace are. But I digress.

This debate smelled like a set up from the word go. The very first question was asking for a show of hands for those who would not commit to supporting whoever the Republican nominee is. Everyone knows Trump is the only one who refuses to make that pledge. And he was the only one who raised his hand. They ALL should have. Why would anyone promise support when they don’t know who the nominee is? This proves that the Republicans, just like the Democrats, have a “group think” herd mentality and want to bludgeon anyone who dares to think for themselves. Independence is not allowed. Step in line or pay the price. Of course this is exactly why America is in the dismal state its in today. Republicans and Democrats largely refuse to oppose any party leadership, even when the leadership is borderline satanic. They go along and get along. They don’t rock the boat and they keep their pockets lined. And if you don’t raise your hand and pledge support to whichever hack wins the pony show, then you’re ridiculed. I don’t blame Trump for not going along with such a dorky pledge. I wouldn’t go along with it either.

While Trump’s candor is refreshing, his vindictiveness is frightening.  He’s very opinionated and he holds grudges.  That could be a scary combination in a President (Obama for example).  Trump’s ferocity is comforting if you’re on his side; but what if he’s turns on you?  He could make your life miserable.  He’s a pit bull and pit bull’s have to be watched closely.  But at least you know a pit bull is a pit bull.  Which is much better than a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Clearly the moderators were trying to get Trump and Jeb Bush in a fight; but for the most part it didn’t work. Regardless of what people might think of Trump, the fact that he at least is willing to speak his mind makes him a breath of fresh air in the phony political world. This is also what makes him so dangerous to the establishment, the media, and why both major parties want him destroyed. The hysterical way in which the media has gone after him is hilarious to watch. They’ve tried to dig up every piece of dirt they can find. Of course he’s lived such a public life, most of the dirt has been known for years. But the more the establishment attacks him, the more the people seem to like him. I think most common people are just sick of the political phonies ruling our country. At least he says something, other than just reciting talking points which is what most of them do. And when someone gives an honest opinion, people like Megyn Kelly get their feelings hurt. She’s “personally offended” by Donald’s opinion. But I’ll tell who should have been personally offended by Kelly and that’s Ben Carson.

Kelly’s first question to Carson, the only black man on the stage, was this: “Do you really think you’re smart enough to be President?” Are you serious? Of course she gets away with the degrading question because she’s a woman and because he’s a black CONVSERVATIVE man. Imagine what the national reaction would have been if a white, male reporter asked a black, liberal candidate if he really thought he was “smart enough to be President.” The howls of racism would have been unending. Carson is a brain surgeon for crying out loud. And while he may not be schooled in political rhetoric his intelligence should be unquestioned. I think Megyn’s question was shameful.

The fact is, Ben Carson probably isn’t going to be the next President. He seems to genuinely be a kind and decent man; and for that reason alone we should probably hope he doesn’t get sucked into the political world where he’ll be raked over the coals. He would probably make a good cabinet member, but his lack of political suaveness (which I think is actually a plus) will sink him in the end. He’s not a smooth enough salesman to convince most people.

Jeb Bush is a joke who thinks he has a shot at winning because of his last name. He suffers from the same malady as Hillary Clinton. They are both entitlement candidates who expect to ride the coattails of others into the oval office. Jeb tries to paint himself as a conservative, but he’s not. He’s pro-Common Core. He’s pro-gay. He’s a lifelong political hack who is uninspiring and too “establishment” to make any change to the current political situation.

Marco Rubio is going to fool a lot of people because he’s young, handsome, and articulate. He’s also a political robot who flew into his list of talking points on every issue. He delivered a few good “one-liners” but it was so obvious that they were pre-planned and rehearsed that it’s surprising people couldn’t see through them. Here’s a hint: When Rubio flashes the phony smile and says something funny and cute….. then pauses for the applause before the applause actually come….. you know it’s a set up. He said some good things, but he’s a snake-oil salesman, who wants to remind you 500 times that his dad was a bartender and his parents are immigrants. Kind of like the way John Kasich mentioned 600 times that his dad was a mailman. Why do these guys think they’re more qualified to serve as President if their parents were poor? In actuality they’re trying to convince you they are “common people” just like you. But they’re not. They’ve played the political game long enough that they’re not struggling to make ends meet. They’ve got money. They’ve go power. And they want you to give them more. And they’ll do this by convincing you they’re really, deep down, poor. Just like you are. Kasich probably helped his cause. He came across as likable and when given a chance to bash Trump, he refused and was complimentary instead. That will save him some grief in the long run. Of course, in his closing argument, Kasich gave a laundry list of all the offices he’s held over the years. In other words, he’s a career politician. And that’s not really what America needs.

Ted Cruz is smooth and says things that conservatives want to hear. Much like Rubio, he’s a smooth talking politician; but with more hard of an edge than Rubio. His line about “If you sign up with ISIS you have signed your own death warrant” will go over like gangbusters with many conservatives. And Cruz has shown a willingness to stand up to his own party, which is a plus. But I don’t see him winning either. He might be a future Attorney General, but he probably needs to stay in the Senate where he can stir the pot and make other Republicans uncomfortable. The same is true of Rand Paul.

I think Mike Huckabee’s poll numbers will rise. He’s more charismatic than any of them, being part politician and part preacher. He delivers one-liners with the skill of a stand up comedian. And has the ability to think on his feet, unlike a lot of the talking-point robots (Rubio for example). Huckabee has “been there and done that” and will probably have a good chance at winning. His likability will help him with everyone and his Christianity will help him with evangelicals. I expect his popularity to rise.

Rand Paul gave all the signs of being a desperate man. He came right out of the gate attacking. Which can be good, or it can make you look petulant. He looked petulant. Even though I agree with many of his ideas. One thing to keep in mind: It’s probably not a good idea to accuse another candidate of “buying and selling” politicians when you’re one of the politicians he has bought and sold in the past. His accusation against Trump backfired when Trump pointed out that Rand had no problem taking his donations in the past. I did like Rand standing up to Chris Christie over the way we are spied on by the Feds. This is Rand’s strong point; but in a country where people cower in fear they are a little too eager to hand over liberty to Christie in exchange for perceived safety. Christie is a dictator, who I’ve railed against in the past. And I’ve railed against him some more.  The one thing I do like about him is that he seems to speak his mind in Trump-like fashion rather than relying on talking points. But I would never support Christie.

Scott Walker might have some good ideas, but he’ll never get elected. He’s too vanilla white and comes across as sleazy. I’m not saying he IS sleazy, but he comes across that way.

In conclusion, like most debates, this was a panorama of bad questions and evasive answers. I watched it with my 14 year old son and we relished pointing out all the logical fallacies that were constantly being used. “Red herring” “ad hominem” and “straw man” attacks were plentiful. Of course this is to be expected in a sound bite debate like this with a stage full of salesman being questioned by an overly sensitive prom queen. Any of the candidates would be better than Hillary Clinton. But none of the candidates compare to Jesus Christ. They will attack the former and praise the latter in order to get elected. But I’m distrustful of them all. When Kasich announced that “God wants America to be a leader in the world” I had to roll my eyes. Yes John, if only God can some how manage to get you elected then you will save us won’t you? Ha ha. The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together…He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them.” (Psalm 2:2-4) One of those ten will likely win the Republican nomination and might face Hillary or some dark horse Democrat to be named later. None of these people will save America. Only Jesus can do that. Trust in Him and be wary of the those who seek political power. Politicians are salesman; and salesman always come across as nice. But it’s not because they want to be your friend, it’s because they want to sell you something. The product politicians are hawking is themselves. Be on guard and don’t be fooled. Round one of this political cycle is in the books. But there are many more rounds to come.

Written by Shane Kastler

Shane Kastler serves as Pastor of Heritage Baptist Church in Lake Charles, Louisiana (www.hbc-lakecharles.com). He is a graduate of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity) and Northeastern State University (Bachelor of Business Admin.). In addition to pastoring, he is the Co-Host of "Church & State" heard every Thursday from 8-10 AM on KELB, 100.5 FM in Lake Charles. Shane writes a weekly newspaper column called "Seeking Higher Ground" and has contributed articles to "Sword & Trowel", the "Economic Policy Journal", and LewRockwell.com. He is also the author of "Nathan Bedford Forrest's Redemption" a biography of the great Confederate general, which tells of how he found redemption in Christ. Shane and his wife Erin are both native Oklahomans, who now make their home in Lake Charles with their 3 children. His blog is: http://shanekastler.typepad.com