By Doug Porter
What a night.
Presidential candidate Ted Cruz was busy calling out Democrats as Bolsheviks and Mensheviks during the Republican debate, which was about as out of control as any debate, ever.
Chargers fans called out NFL executives on a listening tour of cities threatened with franchise relocation. Attorney Mark Fabiani, representing the team’s owners was roundly booed, hissed and even warned about walking around unaccompanied.
It was a two-fer evening of bullshit, featuring occasional factual-sounding words laced with hyperbole and ignorance. Metaphors counted. Reality didn’t. Let’s wander together through today’s punditry for selected insights on what transpired…
GOP Debate # 3 – Loud is Okay. Facts, Not So Much
The problem for Republican candidates has been the logistics of a crowded field. Up to this point, the most outrageous statements have yielded the most media coverage. Outrageous doesn’t have to be loud, as Ben Carson’s rising profile indicates.
Ohio Governor John Kasich came out swinging on CNBC, doing his best Howard Beale ‘mad as hell’ impression, incredulous about the lack of connection between the real world and the positions of the top polling candidates. The real world, unfortunately, wasn’t on the debate agenda, so his assertions of fact served to cancel his bombast.
Kasich wandered into his own twilight zone following an exchange that started with Ted Cruz making the obligatory joke about legalized pot in Colorado, host state for the debate.
From The Week:
“Sending kids mixed signals about drugs is a disaster,” Kasich said. “I’ve spent five years of my administration working with my team to do a whole sort of things to try to rein in overdoses.”
Roger Stone, a political operative who worked on Ronald Reagan’s 1976 bid for the Republican nomination, and later as an advisor to Donald Trump, had something to say about that, tweeting out “Hypocrisy ? I fired John Kasich from the 1976 Reagan Campaign … For selling pot to other field men”
Kasich’s handlers deny that claim.
Senator Ted Cruz was both loud and effective, at least as far as the partisan crowd in the theater was concerned. Here’s Charles P Pierce, writing at Esquire:
But the highlight of the first hour, and the most vivid example of what was going on, was when Ted Cruz was asked about the budget deal that was struck this week between the Congress and the White House, and he replied by ripping the moderators up one side and down the other. This was the Tailgunner in full cry, channeling the spirit of the original Tailgunner when he called the last Democratic debate, “the Bolsheviks vs. the Mensheviks.” Are you now, or have you ever been…
This wasn’t a lack of control. The format was fine. But there’s nothing you can do about someone like Ted Cruz, who isn’t encumbered by either truth or civility. Even defending the other candidates, he doesn’t care what damage he does, as long as he can stand atop the rubble. Come to think of it, that could be said of pretty much all of these people.
The gang of data-centric journalism site FiveThirtyEight.com graded each of the
contestants, er, candidates. Occupying the top spots were Rubio and Cruz. Down at the bottom were Jeb! and Rand Paul.
Here’s Ron Elving at NPR, talking about Rubio’s performance:
Rubio, by stark contrast, was both sharp with a cutting remark and adept at the charming aside. Talking about a program for older people, he beamed boyishly as he said, “I’d never vote for anything that would hurt my mom.” Rubio has been locked in the single digits in national polls and surveys in the early voting states as well. But many who watched the third debate expected that to change. And if the current front-runners should fade, leaving their voters up for grabs, the contest could become between Rubio and Cruz.
I have to wonder what Jeb Bush was thinking last night during the debate. Could it be true that he’s considering dropping out? We know the Bush family spent the weekend working on ways to “re-launch” the campaign. Maybe it didn’t go well.
Here’s Jeb Bund at the Guardian:
But if Bush led himself to the gallows onstage, he at least had company. At best, Kentucky senator Rand Paul’s night was a long stretch of silence punctuated only briefly by irrelevancy. For much of the debate, it was tempting to see if the CNBC moderators would ask him to periodically rap his knuckles on the podium to remind everyone that he’s alive.
During the long stretches when everyone ignored Paul, Texas senator Ted Cruz co-opted two Paul talking points by calling for an audit of the Federal Reserve and a return to the gold standard – which have long been favorite demands of the Ron/Rand Paul movement. Leaving aside the fact that a return to the gold standard is basically insane, it’s telling that Cruz feels like he can cannibalize the leftovers of the Paul movement.
Fantasy Football Flop
Jeb! did tell us about the success of his fantasy football team…
From the buzzy moments listicle at US Magazine:
Asked about whether fantasy football gambling should be regulated, Bush admitted he has a team of his own. “I’m 7 and 0 in my fantasy football league. Bukowski is still going strong. I have Ryan Tannehill as my quarterback. He was 18 for 19 last week so I’m doing great,” he revealed before quickly adding, “But we’re not gambling.”
For the record, Bush did think there should be “some regulation” of the online sites, and Chris Christie chimed in to ask, “Are we really talking about getting the government involved in fantasy football?” which was met with wild applause from the crowd.
Give this candidate’s social media team a thumbs up for gif of her brushing off her shoulder:
Football Fantasies at the Spreckels Theater
The Spreckels Theater was the site for last night’s public meeting with National Football League officials. San Diego was stop number two–the others being St. Louis and Oakland–in cities in danger of losing their franchise to Los Angeles.
The meetings were set up to provide an opportunity for fans and others in the community to ask questions and express their views directly to the NFL before decisions are made about the potential relocation of one or more teams from a current market.
The league execs nodded their heads a lot before ending the meeting at 9:30, with many people signed up to speak still waiting in line. (Tonight, the NFL officials will be in Oakland… heh,heh.)
From Dan McSwain at the Union-Tribune:
“I can’t guarantee what weight it’s going to have,” said Eric Grubman, the league’s executive vice president. “But I can guarantee people that I’m not coming to dog-and-pony shows.”
Indeed. It felt more like the Roman Coliseum than Spreckels Theatre Wednesday as a surly crowd of San Diego’s most passionate fans argued against a Chargers move to Los Angeles.
They opened the meeting with a chorus of boos designed to drown out Mark Fabiani, the team’s lawyer, as he blamed a succession of local politicians for the team’s inability over 14 years to get a new stadium built in town.
Ken Stone at the Times of San Diego captured that hostility in his account:
“Mr. Fabiani, I’m sorry,” said one late speaker. “I don’t think you can walk safely in this town anymore.”
Fabiani again decried what he called a “fatally flawed” plan for a new stadium in Mission Valley, citing legal doubts about the environmental impact report.
Then the third of 40 public speakers, Councilman Scott Sherman, bashed Fabiani even more, accusing him of reneging on his one-time support for a Mission Valley arena to replace Qualcomm.
And here’s Derek Togerson at NBC7, who noted the twin themes of “We love our team and “Mark Fabiani is the anti-Christ,” along with the bottom line.
For example, council member Scott Sherman, who is from the district where the Mission Valley stadium site is located, skewered Mark Fabiani, asking for someone with integrity to negotiate with.
While it drew cheers from the crowd it likely did not do much to help the cause of trying to keep the Bolts in town. The NFL is not interested in who does not like whom. It’s interested in which city (San Diego, St. Louis, Oakland) makes the most sense to keep its franchise. It wants to know which community can get a new stadium deal done.
The Chargers organization sold their team (product) as “belonging to San Diego” for many years. It was an effective metaphor.
Now it’s reality time for Chargers fans. And, as is true with many of the Republican faithful, it’s doubtful that facts will be accepted in the fantasy world they live in.
On This Day: 1929 – Wall Street crashes—”Black Tuesday”—throwing the world’s economy into a years-long crisis including an unemployment rate in the U.S. that by 1933 hit nearly 25 percent. 1969 – The Supreme Court ordered an immediate end to all school segregation. 1975 – Joan Baez became a member of Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue.
Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to “The Starting Line” and get an email every time a new article in this series is posted!
I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.Org Check us out on Facebook and Twitter.