Who Won Tonight’s VP Debate?

I haven’t done much debate coverage on this blog in awhile.  At one point, it was the most popular feature of this blog – my debate analysis and live Twitter feed.  So, tonight, I make this blog great again…

I was not disappointed in tonight’s debate.  It was much better than how the two on the top of the ticket last week did.  What was disappointing was Tim Kaine.  Coming into this debate, I genuinely respected the man.  He seemed reasonable and level-headed.  Yet, tonight, he came off as a little weasel.  He kept interrupting (a complaint I made about Trump last week) and kept repeating clearly rehearsed lines of attack.  He was impatient and just annoying.

However, Kaine was at his best when going after Trump’s “insult-driven campaign.”  Governor Pence was left speechless.  But, what can you really say?  Trump’s childish insults simply cannot be defended.  The more Kaine went after him on this, the more points he put up on the board.

That being said, the clear winner of this debate was Mike Pence.  The governor was calm, cool and collected.  Dare I say it?  He looked presidential.  He swatted down Kaine’s overly-rehearsed attack lines with a simple dismissal.

Pence was at his best at the end of the night speaking of his faith, showing respect for Senator Kaine’s beliefs but, most of all, standing firm on life.  Governor Pence is clearly pro-life and a champion for the unborn.  I have to respect that.

Will it be a game-changer?  Probably not, but it may get some conservatives off the fence who have been looking for a reason to vote for Trump.  But, it won’t be enough change the course of the campaign.

Below are my live-tweets from the debate.  Read from the bottom to the top.

Thank you, @mike_pence for standing firm on life. Notice @timkaine would not defend partial birth or HIllay’s stance on the Hyde Amendment.

If I were @mike_pence I’d say, “Shh, Tim. Take a breath. Count to ten. You’ll get your chance to quote your rehearsed lines.” #VPDebate

Gov @mike_pence – keep asking the question – do you take deductions? Don’t let him ignore it. You’ve got him on this! #VPDebate

Clearly @timkaine scored some clear points going after Trump’s insults. @mike_pence is left silent. What can you say? #VPDebate

So @mike_pence can’t defend Trump’s insults and so goes after comments @HillaryClinton apologized for. #VPDebate

Now I’m ready for the debate! https://www.instagram.com/p/BLKbQ8vDGWBBbGUTSOPnG7rLLVqIIg_501VVSA0/

I wish @timkaine would answered the question – do you pay more taxes than you need to? #VPDebate

Clearly @GovPenceIN is looking the most presidential here. @timkaine just seems to be trying too hard. #VPDebate

Kaine is the Trump of this debate, can’t wait to interrupt. Trying to play Joe @JoeBiden maybe? #VPDebate

Both these guys sound ridiculous defending the trustworthiness of their candidates – can’t do it without attacking the other guy. #VPDebate

Gov @mike_pence wins the battle of the receding hairline against @timkaine #VPDebate

I guess Tim Kaine has home field advantage tonight. #VPDebate

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This Week’s Interesting Reads

Rick Perry’s Campaign Reportedly Stops Paying Staff As Fundraising Flounders – Katon Dawson, chair of Perry’s South Carolina campaign, told The Texas Tribune and The Washington Post late Monday that all South Carolina staffers are now working as volunteers.  “Money is extremely tight,” Dawson said. “We all moved to volunteer status.”  Staffers at the campaign’s headquarters in Austin, Texas, and in Iowa and New Hampshire also will not be paid, according to sources familiar with the campaign. Campaign manager Jeff Miller has permitted staff members to begin searching for other jobs, the sources said.

Ben Carson Shares With Iowa Church How He Became Christian – In May, Carson shared how God helped him “ace” his chemistry exam at university by showing him all the answers.  Carson, who was a featured speaker at the official National Day of Prayer gathering in Washington, D.C., said he won a scholarship to Yale and thought he was “pretty hot stuff” but only until he got to the end of the first semester.  “I was failing chemistry; that wasn’t cool at all. And you can’t be a pre-med and fail in chemistry,” said Carlson.  The night before the final exam, he was thinking about his life. He prayed, saying, “Lord, medicine is the only thing I ever wanted to do. … Would you please tell me what is it you really want me to do?”  He planned to prepare for the exam the whole night, but fell asleep. He had a dream in which he was alone in an auditorium as some “nebulous figure” wrote out chemistry problems on the blackboard.  “When I went to take the test the next morning, it was like ‘The Twilight Zone,'” he said. “I opened that book and I recognized the first problem as one of the ones I dreamed about. And the next, and the next, and the next, and I aced the exam and got a good mark in chemistry. It worked out okay,” he added.

Rand Paul Calls Trump a Fake Conservative

We don’t need a bully, and we don’t need another President who thinks he is King. We certainly don’t need someone who has driven his companies into bankruptcy four times yet smugly tells us he uses our nation’s Chapter 11 laws to his own personal advantage. All well and good for him – but what of the creditors and vendors he defaulted on?

Voters are hungry for a plain-spoken critique of Washington. But I’m unsure how credible that voice is when it comes from the consummate insider, a man who buys and sells politicians like he does Lamborghinis.

Trump has paid over 1.5 million dollars to politicians from both sides of the aisle, from Harry Reid to Rahm Emanuel to Jeb Bush. The majority of his donations were to Democrats until a few years ago when he began thinking more seriously of making a play for the Republican nomination.

(For the record, Donald Trump has NEVER donated to any of my political campaigns, perhaps because he knows I can’t be bought. He has donated to an eye institute that sponsored the medical mission I took to Guatemala where the funding was directly spent on our surgical work restoring sight to over 200 men and women.)

Read the entire op-ed here.

Bobby Schilling Urges Us to Let Senator Kirk Know We Stand for Life

BobbySchillingIt’s been my pleasure to support and volunteer for Congressman Bobby Schilling in his past two campaigns for Congress.  In the following editorial the Congressman reminds us that defunding Planned Parenthood is not the only piece of pro-life legislation Senator Kirk is likely to vote against.  We need to let Senator Kirk know there are consequences to his votes.  This article also makes me think the Congressman would make a great Senator himself should he decide on a primary challenge.  I’m ready for some more volunteering!

It is early, and Sen. Kirk has time to change course. According to reports, there are as many as seven more investigative videos coming out. That will likely mean further congressional action.

One vote sure to happen in the Senate as soon as next month will be on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This common-ground legislation would limit abortions after 20 weeks, or 5 months of pregnancy.

It would prohibit the late-term abortions (except in cases of rape, incest and life of the mother) that Planned Parenthood finds especially useful in harvesting valuable body parts.

Polls show that a strong majority of Americans support this legislation. One Washington Post-ABC News poll in 2013 showed that 60 percent of women support it, compared to just 25 percent opposed. Bills like this can move us forward together on this contentious issue.

Yet, Kirk is one of only a handful of Republican senators who isn’t co-sponsoring this bill.

While Sen. Kirk is home for the August recess, I hope Illinois voters will urge him to rethink — politically and morally — and do the right thing. Lives — and real women’s health care — hang in the balance.

Read the whole post here.

PS. Run, Bobby, Run!

Who Won the First GOP Presidential Debate Last Night?

Disclaimer – I did not watch the entire debate last night due to a busy schedule.  My thoughts are based the few minutes I was able to listen as I worked on other things, the closing statements I was able to watch uninterrupted, clips online and cable news analysis after the debate.

It seems to me that the overall winner was Marco Rubio.  He was conservative, articulate and looked competent despite his age and inexperience.  He didn’t get caught up in made-for-TV squabbles and kept his composure.  In short, for the first time, he looked presidential to me.

I’ll run down a few other rambling thoughts:

Since he announced, Rand Paul has been my guy.  Yet, I’ve got to admit, he didn’t have a great night.  It seemed to me he was looking for a fight, trying too hard to create that break-out moment (especially in his interactions with Trump).  It never happened.  On style points, Chris Christie bested him during their dust-up. However I still think Rand’s argument was better, constitutional and more substantive.  There is a reason why we have the Fourth Amendment!  Christie can win sympathy by playing on fears and memories of 911.  Rand’s hug comeback wasn’t the greatest either…  The good news for Rand is, this was only the first debate.

Donald Trump once again displayed why he shouldn’t be President.  He was arrogant and couldn’t give a straight answer to the question.  However, I will say two things in his defense.  First, those questioned were so biased against him that there might not have been any good responses.  Second, I think it is tyrannical to ask candidates to pledge to support the eventual winner no matter who it may be.  Would we really expect Lindsey Graham to support Rand Paul if he got the nod?  There are real disagreements between these candidates.  I will never blindly pledge to support just any candidate the GOP decides to put up.  I applaud Trump for having the guts to be the only one to stand against this ridiculous question.

Chris Christie reminded everyone why he used to be so popular before Bridgegate…

Ben Carson had a few really good lines and overall did well.  His intelligence was obvious.  I loved his closing remarks.  My gut tells me he’s going to do a lot better than people think.  He’s got a strong, committed, grass-roots base behind him.

Mike Huckabee is a likable guy who knows how to play to the cameras.  He’s great at one-liners and knows how to connect with people.  I share many of his convictions regarding social issues and I’m sure he’s a genuine believer.  Yet, being a likeable person isn’t a qualification for the job he’s seeking.

I don’t think Scott Walker made any big splashes, but had a couple of good thoughts here and there.  No major gaffes.  He basically maintained the status quo and didn’t hurt himself any.

A lot of people were concerned about John Kasich’s answer concerning gay marriage.  I think we’re getting a preview of the language that many conservatives are going to start using as gay marriage becomes more acceptable.  It’s the standard religious liberal response to abortion.  Personally I’m against it but I can’t force my beliefs on others…

Feeling the Bern in Madison

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It’s been a couple of weeks now, but I thought I would share a few things about the huge turn out for Bernie Sanders in Madison, WI back on July 1.  I don’t support Bernie but I do respect a candidate who is true to his principles and wishes to engage in substantive debate.

While he doesn’t have much of a shot at beating Hillary for the Democratic nod, the crowd cheered him on as if he were the front-runner.  Of course, it is interesting to note that I had to wait in quite the long line just to see an underdog…  It was interesting being a conservative in this crowd of progressives and socialists.  I must say, I was treated with respect.  I even made a few friends.  IMG_3717

As for the speech, I wasn’t as impressed as the rest of the crowd was.  I left unconvinced.  I heard attacks on Republicans, class warfare and calls for bigger government.  Apart from a few areas of agreement, it was pretty much what I expected.  Here are my live tweets that pretty much give a summary of my thoughts:

We are going to win this election! – @BernieSanders #FeelTheBern

IMG_3733Bernie says he wants to appeal to Republicans through a progress agenda. I think there’s a problem in his logic… #FeelTheBern

Medicare for all, single payer system. #FeelTheBern

Another point of agreement, college loan debt is out of control and something needs needs to be done #FeelTheBern

It’s there hatred on the left? Absolutely. Just mention the name Scott Walker. #FeelTheBern

Real family values adorably apparently means lots of paid time off. #FeelTheBern

Gop had a warped view of family values. #FeelTheBern

Mocking family values now. #FeelTheBern

If someone works 40 hours a week they shouldn’t have to live in poverty – @BernieSanders #FeelTheBern

WI minimum wage is a “starvation wage.” – @BernieSanders #FeelTheBern

Again, I agree that our criminal justice system should be overhauled so that young black men can walk the streets unfraid of harassment.

Hey, I agree, it would be great to spend money on education than incarceration. #FreeAgency

You can’t get tax breaks when children in this country go hungry. – @BernieSanders #FeelTheBern

Income inequality is the greatest moral issue of our time – @BernieSanders #FeelTheBern

Class warfare, attack the rich. #FeelTheBern

There are so many young people here. He’s inspiring this group to political revolution through grass roots. IMG_3692#FeelTheBern

I agree that there is way too much money in elections today. #FeelTheBern

According to @BernieSanders pro-life folks like me are the real extremists. #FeelTheBern

John Nichols introducing… #FeelTheBern

Just saw a woman literally on her knees begging Ed Schultz to interview @BernieSanders #FeelTheBern

Just ran into Ed Schultz. Nice guy, but I hate his show. #FeelTheBern

Literally just bumped into the mayor of Madison. He didn’t have time for a selfie. He was willing but his handler wasn’t in the mood.

Don’t anyone tell this crowd @BernieSanders is an underdog! #FeeltheBern

Just got interviewed by the Milwaukee Journal Standard. The reporter was surprised to see a conservative here. #Feelthebern

Last sound check, this crowd is excited. #FeelTheBern

I’ll be live tweeting the @BernieSanders rally here in Madison tonight. One hour till showtime, big crowd already.

There is one quick thing I would like to clear up.  As mentioned in my tweets, I was interviewed by the Journal Sentinel.  Here’s how it was reported:

IMG_3651Kevin Thompson, who teaches government at a Christian school in Beloit, said he is leaning toward supporting U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, but he came to see Sanders because he is intrigued by his proposal to provide free college education.

“I’ve got to respect a guy who stands on principle, and that certainly is Bernie Sanders,” said Thompson, 38, who lives in Rockford, Ill.

Read the entire article here.

For the record, I did not come because of Sander’s proposal about free college tuition.  As I told the reporter, I came because there was a major presidential candidate in town.  I would have come if it were Martin O’Malley or Ben Carson.  As for my thoughts on free college, I’m not yet on board.  I am interested if it involves the federal government getting out of the load business.  College loan debt is something that is going to have to be addressed sooner rather than later.  But, of course, I am concerned about how it will be paid for and just how much government control it would involve.

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