As the August 6 Republican debate wore on, so did the evasive answers.
Chris Wallace, Fox News Commentator to Businessman Donald Trump: “In 2011, you told Forbes magazine that ‘I’ve used the laws of the country to advantage.’ But at the same time, financial experts involved in those bankruptcies say that lenders to your companies lost billions of dollars.
“…With that record, why should we trust you to run the nation’s business?”
TRUMP: “Because I have used the laws of this country just like the greatest people that you read about every day in business have used the laws of this country, the chapter laws, to do a great job for my company, for myself, for my employees, for my family, et cetra. I have never gone bankrupt, by the way.”
[Trump totally ignored the charge that “lenders to your companies lost billions of dollars.” He bragged that he had “used the laws” to “do a great job for my company….” He seemed to be saying that as long as he made a killing, it didn’t matter if his lenders got nothing.]
Chris Wallace persisted in his questioning: “Well, sir, let’s just talk about the latest example, which is Trump Entertainment Resorts, which went bankrupt in 2009.
“In that case alone, lenders to your company lost over $1 billion and more than $1,100 people were laid off. Is that the way that you’d run the country?”
TRUMP: “…First of al, these lenders aren’t babies. These are total killers….And I had the good sense to leave Atlantic City….Every company virtually in Atlantic City went bankrupt.
“…Seven years ago I left Atlantic City before it totally cratered, and I made a lot of money in Atlantic City, and I’m very proud of it….”
TRUMP: “And by the way, this country right now owes $19 trillion. And they need somebody like me to straighten out that mess.”
[Trump bragged about making “a lot of money” in Atlantic City while ignoring the jobs lost by his employees and the monies lost by his lenders. He said that America needed “somebody like me” to straighten out its financial mess.
[But there is a difference between making a profit for yourself as a businessman and ensuring a just society for all Americans as President.]
Fox News Moderator Megyn Kelly to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush: “…A story appeared today quoting an anonymous GOP donor who said you called Mr. Trump a clown, a buffoon….”
BUSH: “None of which is true.”
Then, after saying “I want to win,” he attacked President Barack Obama:
“We’re not going to win by doing what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton do each and every day. Dividing the country. Saying, creating a grievance kind of environment.”
[From literally the first day Obama’s Presidency, Republicans tried to block every piece of legislation he proposed. This was especially true of his efforts to provide healthcare for all Americans.
[Thus, Bush slandered the President and distorted history while denying that he had slandered Trump.]
Sometimes it is the moderator who raises non-issues, as Megyn Kelly did with Senator Rand Paul:
“In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling on same sex marriage…what will you do to ensure Christians are not prosecuted for speaking out against gay marriage….?”
[Christians are not being “prosecuted for speaking out against gay marriage.” The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech, especially on controversial issues.]
Fox News Moderator Brett Baier asked Dr. Benjamin Carson: “As President, would you have used military force [in Syria, when its dictator, Bashir al-Assad, was found to have used chemical weapons against his own citizens]?”
CARSON: “…I would shore up our military first, because if you don’t get the military right, nothing else is going to work.”
[In short, Carson didn’t say whether he would have used military force in Syria.]
* * * * *
So how do you tell when a politician is evading?
First, educate yourself on the issues. If you know that President George W. Bush intended to go to war with Iraq when he took office in 2001, you won’t buy the line that he was the victim of poor intelligence two years later.
Second, pay attention to the question being asked. If it seeks a specific answer, the failure of a candidate to give one will alert you that s/he’s evading. Be especially alert to the unwillingness of candidates to directly answer “Yes” or “No” questions.
Third, look for contradictions in the candidates’ statements. If he describes himself as “pro-life” but calls for huge increases in the nuclear arsenal, it means: He’s anti-abortion but pro-slaughter–so long as the victims aren’t fetuses.
Fourth, beware of meaningless babble. A favorite trick of highly-polished debators–such as President John F. Kennedy–is to throw out impressive-sounding statistics which seem to answer the question but don’t.
Fifth, beware the emotion-charged story. To inflame Americans against Saddam Hussein in 1991, President George H.W. Bush clamed that Iraqi soldiers had ripped Kuwaiti babies from incubators. Only after the Gulf (oil) war did the story prove to be false.