Pandering by GOP candidates isn’t debating


Take a break, Donald Trump. Take a break, Jeb Bush. Take a break, Marco Rubio. Take a break, Ben Carson.

And take a break, America. The next Republican debate is in mid-December, not that it promises to be any more enlightening that the ones preceding it. The Republican debates have offered more fodder for pundits and comics than sound ideas and hopeful visions for the country these candidates wish to lead.

Mostly, and this was the case last week, the candidates argued predictably with one another ... but not about how they would give Americans hope and make the nation stronger. No, they focused on trying to scramble for the top rating as most conservative, as most critical of President Obama, as most able to control illegal immigration, and as most likely to get the GOP nomination once front-running Trump and Carson, who’s been dented by inaccuracies in his boastful personal history, fade away.

And Trump ... Trump in Iowa did 95 minutes Thursday about his opponents and the president in what can only be described as a rant. The people placed on the stage with him even had to sit down after awhile. But bluster has worked before, and turned the Baron of Bombast into a serious contender.

Sadly, the Republican Party these candidates represent is flailing, wedded to old ideas about trickle-down economics, “reforming” programs such as Medicare and Social Security (code for cutting those programs), claiming a hike in the minimum wage would somehow be bad for working people, and bashing all things associated with President Obama, of course. These positions are as weary as the candidates themselves appear to be; the ideas are mired in the previous generation of Republicans, whose economic policies brought the country to near-ruin and did virtually nothing for average working families.

And as these candidates stick to the losing positions of the past, the American electorate grows more diverse, particularly with a growing Hispanic population. So Donald Trump attacks Hispanics and vows to deport 11 million “illegal aliens.”

Instead of a debate series driven by ideas, these candidates are engaged in pandering to the right wing of their party, a group, by the way, not big enough to elect any of them.

Wacky ideas and the scrambling to wound Trump may make for a spectator sport for Democrats, but they’re not doing much for Republican ambitions for the White House.