In the most churlish Republican presidential debate to date, Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz finally got around to bashing, smashing and slashing Donald Trump for being a fraud. Problem is, the attacks by the two Senate backbenchers Thursday night were based in, well, Truth and Reality and, as we’ve seen to date, The Donald’s hard core base of about 30 percent of GOP voters doesn’t care all that much for Actual Facts.
Rubio was the more aggressive throughout, and extremely so, having apparently gotten the memo from the D.C.-based Republican Establishment that it was well past time for him to take the gloves off against Trump: “What is Marco Rubio waiting for?” was the headline on the New York Times column by the soft hands conservative Ross Douthat a few hours earlier. “If Rubio can’t actually pull ahead of Trump in swing-state polls by March 15, when Ohio and Florida hold their winner-take-all votes, then he won’t be Kutuzov after Napoleon took Moscow; he’ll be the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk without a fleet to ferry him to safety.”
Facts, Funny Things So Little Marco swilled a few extra Red Bulls, boned up on a kitchen sink full of oppo research and tried to tear Trump’s face over his four business bankruptcies, his rip-off Trump University, the illegal workers who helped build Trump Tower, his refusal to release his taxes, his Mexican-manufactured suits and ties and his lack of an actual plan for health care, among several hundred other lines of attack. Cruz for his part repeatedly hit Trump over past campaign contributions to liberal Democrats and the Clinton Foundation, inviting Hillary to his wedding and several decades of support for “socialized medicine.”
By all traditional standards, Rubio dominated the debate with his relentless command of negative Trump facts. Cruz came in second, with his own fact-based shots at Trump. (Props also to CNN and its panel of questioners for putting the lie to Trump’s claim of support among Latinos by brandishing polls showing he has virtually none.)
But alas, at least for those Republicans hoping to stop Trump, there were no injuries.
Don’t Need Your Stinking Facts After all the lies, cheap insults and demagoguery that have come out of Trump’s mouth in the campaign, the nuances of his position on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, a 30-year-old lawsuit and what Mitt Romney excitedly tweeted about Donald’s tax returns aren’t likely to change the mind of anyone who’s so far been with Mr. Build A Wall.
They don’t care if he’s right on the facts, wrong on the facts or indifferent to the facts (which he mostly is). They’re for him because they like his bluster, his outsider status and his willingness to flip the bird to all the pin heads and bubble brains inside the Beltway.
So our guess is, despite the fireworks, Republican Debate #10 changed nothing.
Also: John Kasich was there, but once again made the fatal political error of trying to sound reasonable in a Republican debate. Ben Carson played the part of the potted plant.
We Tweet Here, in reverse order, are Calbuzz tweets from the debate:
#GOPdebate Trump says he had a good time. Pressed on taxes, Trump attacks Romney — suggests he’s being audited because of religion
#GOPdebate Post Debate Trump comments on Rubio’s sweat — We need people who don’t sweat, he says.
#GOPdebate Rubio pleads for an end to silliness and looniness — but he’s no match for the Greatest Showman on Earth
#GOPdebate Apple v FBI: Rubio misrepresents the FBI’s request. Cruz says Apple has no right to ignore a lawful court order.
#GOPdebate Falsely accusing someone of lying is itself a lie, which Donald does daily — says Cruz, the dirty trickster
#GOPdebate “Will somebody attack me, please?” Carson says, getting no time because he’s not really there.
#GOPdebate Trump wants the US to get reimbursed for military security we provide to allies. That’ll work for sure.
#GOPdebate Kasich suggests he would love to see regime change in North Korea — assassination? Who knows?
#GOPdebate Trump says he would personally try to make a deal between Israel and Palestine. That’s why he’s pro-Israel but neutral. Huh??
#GOPdebate Rubio and Cruz rattled Trump with actual facts, but facts don’t matter to the slice of Republicans who support Trump.
#GOPdebate Trump says he can’t release his tax returns because he’s being audited. Why is that a barrier? And couldn’t he release all priors
#GOPdebate Hewitt looks like he’s talking in his sleep
#GOPdebate Trump would defund Planned Parenthood although he says they provide health services to millions of woman. WTF?
#GOPdebate Ted sounds like an extremist Baptist preacher; Rubio is against reading the constitution as a living, breathing document…OY
#GOPdebate Rubio got the memo from the Establishment Republicans who want to cripple Trump. Not sure whether he’s got the chops.
#GOPdebate Rubio on a tear about Trump’s illegal immigrant labor, 4 bankrupt companies, a phony university that got shut down…HOT
#GOPdebate Rubio says Trump’s wall would be built by illegal immigrants
#GOPdebateCarson says he believes in liberty and justice for all — but not women, we guess
#GOPdebate Kasich stands by his guest worker program — path to legalization but not citizenship — like Reagan and Bush
#GOPdebate Trump smacks Cruz for having no support from Senate — “You should be ashamed of yourself.” Cruz hits back on Trump’s $$ to Dems
#GOPdebate Ted says he was fighting illegal immigration when Trump was firing Dennis Rodman and getting fined for hiring illegals
#GOPdebate Rubio hits Trump for hiring illegals…Trump tries to shout him down then says hey, it was 30 years ago
#GOPdebate Marco, would you give illegal immigrants the right to earn their stay? “We’ll see what the American people are willing to support”