Friday, February 26, 2016

Rubio out-Trumps Trump

Did you watch the debate last night? The next presidential election is important for the issues we write about, and it doesn't cut it to say, "none of them are any good!" That's just an excuse to let you go play video games or whatever you do in your spare time. In fact, two candidates--Senators Cruz and Rubio--likely would put an end to the Department of Education's institutionalized hostility to due process for men accused of college sexual assault.

Both men have been forced to endure Donald Trump's insults in the previous nine debates. Last night, both men said, "enough."

It was more like a professional wrestling match than a serious debate. In almost any other context, I would have been appalled by the conduct of Rubio and Cruz, but their conduct was fitting last night. For nine previous debates, we've had to endure the front runner hurling incivility after incivility at his fellow candidates--using accomplished people as punching bags, because they are too well-mannered to respond in kind. The most obvious example was Jeb Bush, the respected former governor of Florida who is a serious, earnest, and mild-mannered man. Trump was unmerciful to Jeb Bush, and last week, Gov. Bush dropped out of the race. His parents attended the debate last night. I was grateful that Donald Trump didn't insult them.

Last night, Rubio and Cruz decided they'd had enough of Trump. Cruz was flawless, as always--the best debater going. Rubio was given an opening to go after Trump early, and when Rubio gleefully unloaded on him (especially about health care, how Trump would be "selling watches" if his father hadn't left him $200 million, and Trump's bizarre penchant for repeating himself), it was George McFly decking Biff or Ralphie pummeling Scut Farkus--and it exposed Trump as someone not capable of discussing issues beyond 140 Twitter characters. When Rubio mocked Trump for repeating himself (something Rubio was derided for doing in a debate a few weeks ago), the laughter and applause was deafening. Rubio gave a bully a taste of his own medicine and out-Trumped Trump. Most important, he showed people who think "Nobody Messes With Trump" that, in fact, it's relatively easy to "mess" with a bully, if the bully is lacking in substance, and if you choose to go down the incivility route.

With that said, I am hoping the next debate allows the candidates ten minutes each to respond to questions. Trump likely will run out of Twitter-length sound bites in the first 20 seconds. Unless, of course, he starts repeating himself.

As for the issues pertinent to us: either Cruz or Rubio likely would be a marked improvement over what we have. As conservative talkmeister Rush Limbaugh has said, Cruz is the closest thing we will ever have in our lifetimes to Ronald Reagan. He's the most conservative guy running, and he happens to be brilliant. If anyone will roll back the witch hunt of college men by the Department of Education, it's Cruz.

For his part, Rubio is on record as saying he would swiftly move to end the Department of Education's assault on the due process rights of men accused of college sexual misconduct and, in fact, that he will enhance those same due process rights. He considers men wrongly accused to be "victims."  He calls the sexual grievance industry's statistics on sexual assault "overheated . . . and misleading." He opposes both “affirmative consent” (known as “Yes-means-yes”) as a national standard for campus sexual assault and the “preponderance of the evidence” mandate for campus disciplinary proceedings.