Last night’s CNN Debate was, shall we say, explosive? It’s hard to pick one clip, but a lot of people are calling this exchange between Marco Rubio and Donald Trump to be one of the highlights.
One where Sen. Rubio scored a big hit? Or did Trump pull out a win? Let’s go to the video tape…
Trump said he would get rid of barriers between the states — something that he argued would increase competition. Rubio repeatedly pressed his rival for more details. “What else is a part of your health care plan?”
“When you get rid of the lines, that brings in competition,” Trump said.
“Now he’s repeating himself,” Rubio responded.
“I don’t repeat myself. Here’s the guy who repeats himself,” Trump shot back, referring to Rubio. “I watched him repeat himself five times four weeks ago.”
Rubio, appearing amused, quipped: “I saw you repeat yourself five times five seconds ago!”
Before citing a slogan, before typing a hashtag, ask yourself what kind of leader you want taking on Democrats, who never give up trying to destroy conservatism. Hashtags and slogans are great for bumperstickers, but they’re not positions, arguments, or policy.
I’m not even going to pretend here, I don’t think Donald Trump would make a good president (read Worried Yet? Donald Trump Sounds more like Michael Moore than Hillary…). A reality show star? Certainly. Not President. Donald Trump is a leaf on the wind, moving whatever way the wind moves him. All Donald Trump can do is say “I have a plan.” Not only does he have a plan, it’s the best plan. But if it is the best plan, if it’s a plan that beats all other plans, why not brag about how great and wonderful the plan is? Why not turn to Rubio and say, “My plan is this…” and blast Rubio away with how stellar his plan is with actual points and strategies, thereby shutting up Rubio and all opposition who accuse Trump of lacking specifics?
But that’s not what Trump does. He instead blusters, raises his voice, tries to give the impression of strength without any muscle to back him up. It’s a tactic used all the time, even in the wild. Puff yourself up so you seem bigger and more menacing to your opponents. And you know what? It’s worked for Trump in the past. He was unstoppable in the media, who lavishly gave him air time for free. Trump’s persona of “tough guy” who doesn’t give two craps has been highly effective and entertaining.
This exchange with Rubio, however, followed up by Ted Cruz, demonstrate Trump’s game is just that. A game. Trump may enter the Octagon with the best, most inspiring soundtrack. He might dance around the ring with great flare. He certainly seems impressive when he’s warming up, striking the air. But when an opponent enters, who maybe doesn’t have the same spring in his step, and throws an actual punch? Trump flails. He makes his movements dramatic. He seems like he’s a fighter, he seems like he’s “working” his opponent by constantly moving, yelling insults, raising his hands wide “inviting” the fight.
It’s an illusion. Punching at the air, as impressive as it may look, is not a connecting shot. Saying you have a plan is not the same as actually having one. Landing insults instead of hitting with strategy and solutions, repeating catch phrases, are no substitutes for policies.
When the bell rings, for whom will the judge call the fight? The fighter who seemed the biggest, the toughest, who moved around the most and maybe was more memorable? Or the fighter with substance, who managed to land strikes?
Written by Courtneyscoffs