Watching Young Republicans watching the Republican presidential debate

MinnPost photo by Brian Halliday
Members of the Young Republicans watching Wednesday's Republican presidential debate on CNBC at Poor Richard's Commonhouse.

The media was the message for the crowd gathered at a Bloomington bar to watch  the third Republican presidential candidate debate.

The group, brought together by the Young Republicans affiliate of the state party, appeared mixed on their favorite candidates — but completely unified in their agreement that the CNBC broadcast from Boulder, CO, was designed to be more of a glib joust than an exchange of ideas.

“I love what Ted Cruz said about the media,” said Susan Tangen of Inver Grove Heights. “That was really notable. I mean, I think the questions … just were not very smart questions.”

Cruz, who had one of the better showings of the evening, deftly parodied the moderators’ line of questioning. “And you look at the questions: ‘Donald Trump, are  you a comic book villain? Ben Carson, can you do math? John Kasich,will you insult two people over here? Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign? Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen,’” he said. “How about talking about the substantive issues people care about?”

The CNBC moderators did try to probe on some substance; they questioned how the Carson and Rubio flat tax plans could result in increasing revenue. They tried to get Sen. Rand Paul to explain how raising the age for Medicare eligibility would make the program more sustainable. They wanted Ohio Gov.  Kasich to repeat his criticisms of Trump’s and Carson’s tax cut proposals, which Kasich did, calling them “empty promises.”

But while the candidates attempted to craft arcane policy details into sound bites, the more quotable comments overshadowed — particularly Rubio’s successful deflection of a question about political action committees.  “The Democrats have the ultimate Super PAC,” he said.  “It’s called the mainstream media.”

The group in Bloomington, like the crowd in Boulder, responded with applause, as they did when New Jersey Gov. Christie charged at a question about regulating fantasy football. “We have $19 trillion in debt, we have people out of work, we have ISIS and Al Qaeda attacking us and we’re talking about fantasy football,” he thundered.

Amy from Minneapolis, who declined to give her last name, sympathized with the candidates’ frustrations, but said the debates are giving the public what it’s asking for.

“People like to see, especially when you’re watching something on TV, you want to see a little drama, you want to see a little laughter, comedy,” she said. “No matter what your political beliefs are, you’re getting a little bit of what society likes to feed people, especially Americans, and we’re all eating it up.”

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Comments (12)

  1. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 10/29/2015 - 12:26 pm.

    Ms. Amy is insightful

    I wonder if she actually thinks any of the GOP candidates are worth her vote.

  2. Submitted by jim hughes on 10/29/2015 - 01:17 pm.


    They candidates wanted more substantial questions? I agree. So next time ask them about climate change, or sustainable energy sources. And watch them dive for cover.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 10/29/2015 - 01:51 pm.

      Christie took that one

      HARWOOD: Governor Christie, you’ve said something that many in your party do not believe, which is that climate change is undeniable, that human activity contributes to it, and you said, quote: “The question is, what do we do to deal with it?”. So what do we do?

      CHRISTIE: Well, first off, what we don’t do is do what Hillary Clinton and John Kerry and Barack Obama want us to do, which is their solution for everything, put more taxes on it, give more money to Washington, D.C., and then they will fix it.

      Well, there is no evidence that they can fix anything in Washington, D.C.

      HARWOOD: What should we do?

      CHRISTIE: What we should do is to be investing in all types of energy, John, all types of energy. I’ve laid out…

      HARWOOD: You mean government?

      CHRISTIE: No, John. John, do you want me to answer or do you want to answer?


      How are we going to do this?


      Because, I’ve got to tell you the truth, even in New Jersey what you’re doing is called rude. So…


      We’ve laid out a national energy plan that says that we should invest in all types of energy. I will tell you, you could win a bet at a bar tonight, since we’re talking about fantasy football, if you ask who the top three states in America are that produce solar energy: California and Arizona are easy, but number three is New Jersey.

      Why? Because we work with the private sector to make solar energy affordable and available to businesses and individuals in our state.

      We need to make sure that we do everything across all kinds of energy: natural gas, oil, absolutely. But also where it’s affordable, solar, wind in Iowa has become very affordable and it makes sense.

      That is the way we deal with global warming, climate change, or any of those problems, not through government intervention, not through government taxes, and for God’s sake, don’t send Washington another dime until they stop wasting the money they’re already sending there.

      HARWOOD: Thank you, Governor.

      • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 10/29/2015 - 03:40 pm.

        With govt

        Subsidies Tester.

      • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 10/29/2015 - 04:07 pm.

        Interesting response

        “…we work with the private sector to make solar energy affordable and available to businesses and individuals in our state…” This part of Governor Christie’s response is a fascinating answer to Harwood’s question, since basically, it doesn’t answer the question. By “we,” I can only assume Mr. Christie is referring to the New Jersey state government – one of those entities he mentions in the final paragraph of his response that we should not be placing any faith in – though, presumably, he’s mostly referring to the federal government, not the state level.

        Oh the other hand, much of the final paragraph of his response, specifically, “…That is the way we deal with global warming, climate change, or any of those problems, not through government intervention, not through government taxes, and for God’s sake, don’t send Washington another dime until they stop wasting the money they’re already sending there” should disqualify Mr. Christie from not only the governorship of New Jersey, but any serious consideration for the office of President of the United States. If “government” does not intervene through regulation and taxes to stem the tide of greenhouse gases and other industrial pollutants, who will do it? We have ample evidence, virtually every year, that corporate America will not only not regulate itself, but that it is constitutionally incapable of doing so. Corporate self-regulation is one of those terms that’s genuinely meaningless, unless we assume that it means no regulation at all. We have a century-and-a-half of history that shows unregulated capitalism on an industrial scale brings social and economic disaster to all except the 1%.

      • Submitted by jim hughes on 10/29/2015 - 04:09 pm.

        welll that’s something

        Yes, I shouldn’t have tarred Christie with the same brush. Although, his current answer seems to be that the government should ‘work with the private sector’ without actually spending any money on the problem, which seems like a bit of a dodge.

        Rubio, Cruz, Carson and Trump, I believe, all simply deny the science. Bush is a bit more nuanced. None of them actually want to talk about it.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/02/2015 - 03:25 pm.

        Christie’s Little Dance

        It is remarkable how you think Governor Christie handled that question well. He used gratuitous “I hate this administration and Washington DC” boilerplate to hide the fact that he is departing from the Republican orthodoxy on energy and climate issues.

        His “working with the private sector” is another way of saying “picking winners,” something I thought was anathema to Republicans. He is also on record as saying that the global climate is warming, the warming is impacting New Jersey, and that human activity is contributing to it. Governor Christie is continuing something of a tradition among northeastern Republicans (especially those from New Jersey) in caring about environmental issues.

        Who heard that? Was the substance of the answer all background noise, drowned out by the requisite hatred and anti-media bullying that draws the real cheers from Republicans? Don’t send money to Washington, but what else is there to his reply? Spite, and applause lines–that’s what is truly important to Republicans, right?

  3. Submitted by Rick Ryan on 10/29/2015 - 01:29 pm.

    Name of your column

    Perhaps you should rename you column “Republican” Party Politics because that seems to be all you cover.Praising candidates for how well they deflected the few substantive questions does little to add to the coverage. Perhaps Dr. Carson should explain how his tax plan would work, it appears to be as detailed as Herman Cain’s 999 plan of 2012.

    Simplistic answers to complex problems (build a wall) may appeal to the base but they won’t get the job done when it is time to govern, with the “Freedom Caucus” as the prime example.

    • Submitted by Jan Arnold on 10/29/2015 - 03:51 pm.

      Cyndy Brucato

      Most people who have been in the Twin Cities for any length of time know that Cyndy Brucato is a Republican. Work history highlights:

      1979 to 1986 worked for KSTP (Channel 5)
      1990-1996 Deputy Chief of Staff, Director of Communications and Press Secretary for Republican Governor Arne Carlson. Was also Director of Communications for the Minnesota Department of Transportation and as Communications Director for Republican Norm Coleman.

      Because she is known as a Republican, I have been surprised that for the most part her reporting seems to be fair and basically unbiased. There have been exceptions. This is high praise from someone that identifies with progressives.

      • Submitted by jody rooney on 10/29/2015 - 11:00 pm.

        I concur with Jan Arnold

        I tend to be a bit more evidence based in my evaluation of candidates so that may make me more conservative – although I find Republicans really radical right now.

        I have no problem with Ms. Brucato’s history, Arne Carlson actually gave a lot of women opportunities that the would not have occured to the Democrats – and he certainly is not considered a “true” Republican by the Minnesota pary any more.

        I think what she presents if fair and not party line ravings.

  4. Submitted by Dimitri Drekonja on 10/29/2015 - 02:44 pm.

    Declined to give a last name…too embarrassed to be identified as someone who is planning on voting for one of these candidates? I guess I can’t blame her.

  5. Submitted by Jim Million on 10/29/2015 - 04:45 pm.

    Column Titles

    Cyndy might call herself “The Right Side,” but only if Eric becomes “The Black Hole.”

    Fair trade?

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