George Graham

A Trashy Spectacle



Last night’s Republican debate was a dispiriting display of vulgarity and venom. If you began the debate thinking Donald Trump was a guttersnipe, I’m sure you thought even worse of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio before it was over.

Rubio (above, fleft), who has a shady record blotted by ethics abuses while in the Florida Senate and by his close relationship with a brother-in-law who was convicted of cocaine peddling, self-righteously attacked Trump (above, middle) on moral grounds.

He dug into Trump’s colorful past and came up with such allegations as importing foreign workers – including illegal immigrants – and founding a bogus university.

Cruz (above, right) joined Rubio in the assault, claiming Trump is a johnny-come-lately conservative who repeatedly supported “liberal politicians.”

They relentlessly badgered Trump about a host of perceived transgressions, including failure to release his tax returns. (Trump said he is being audited and wants to wait until the audit is conclued.)

Even Wolf Blitzer got into the act, aggressively challenging Trump to explain how he would get Mexico to fund that wall along the US border.

Trump lamely fought back against the tide of accusations, but he was shouted down and interrupted by his attackers.

It reminded me of a bulldog being harrassed by yapping terriers.

John Kasich, as usual, stayed above the fray, preferring to beat his breast about his achievements as head of the Senate budget committee during the prosperous Clinton years and as governor of Ohio.

Ben Carson was his usual amiable, sleepy self, choosing to first do no harm (as doctors are sworn to do). But I don’t remember a word he said.

Did the debate shed any light on the important issues facing America? Did it provide any hint of possible solutions? Not that I could tell.

It is inconceivable that the spectacle enhanced any of the candidates’ prospects

Kasich and Carson are mere footnotes to the primary campaign, and I am sure they will remain mired in single-digit territory.

As for the front runners, they left me with the impression of a mean spirited, spiteful rabble unfit to hold any public office, let alone the world’s most important job.

More on the debate.

Another view of the event.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for