Republican Presidential Debate Highlights a Focus on the Wrong Priorities

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I watched the first Republican presidential debate. I wasn't expecting to enjoy it, and I didn't. I watched it because I was curious. We are facing a new situation in which the frontrunner is facing criminal charges. Republican voters don't seem to mind one bit. This shouldn't surprise us. After all, many of them supported an attempted coup.

I was curious to see how the competition would address this. Could they make a case that they were better choices? I was also curious to see how those who haven't been polling well might try to stand out from the pack. Some don't have much name recognition compared to others. Could they change that?

The debate was a bit of a let-down, and there weren't many surprises. I suppose the biggest was that nobody felt the need to go after DeSantis. I figured he'd be a prime target since he's been polling at the top of the candidates who showed up. It seemed like the others were competing for the #3 spot.

As far as the themes that surfaced, many were disappointing but few were surprising. These include:

  • The blatant denial of climate change
  • The many references to boys not competing in girls' sports
  • The pledges to eliminate the Department of Education
  • The suggestion that we are mired in a serious culture war
  • The desire to blame Hunter Biden for everything wrong in the world
  • The explicit promotion of Christianity

I realize I am not part of their intended audience, but I couldn't vote for any of these lunatics. That wouldn't change even if the Democrats decided to run Hunter Biden.

During the debate, I pushed myself to identify which one I'd support if I had to support one. That was much harder than I expected. In fact, I couldn't do it. As soon as I settled on someone and thought they might not seem so bad, they'd say something that proved me wrong.

I suppose the biggest disappointment was that the debate didn't focus on the issues we need to debate. Culture war issues are appealing to Republican voters but not helpful to the country. We've got bigger problems. And we need to find solutions to real problems. I don't object to debating some culture war issues, but they shouldn't be the primary focus.

One of my favorite moments came from Haley. Amidst the pledges to ban abortion at the federal level, she pointed out that Congress would never go along. Candidates in both parties make outrageous promises they can't keep in every debate. But what good are they when it will be impossible for them to deliver? That's a bit like promising to make Mexico pay for the wall when there's no chance of that happening. It was nice to see someone do what the moderators failed to do.

Image by David Mark from Pixabay