Thursday, September 17, 2015
Her answer on Russia, for instance, was bizarre.
The Sixth Fleet is already huge, and it's hard to say why adding to its capabilities would intimidate Putin — after all, America has enough nuclear weapons pointed at Russia to level the country thousands of times over. Her proposal for more military exercises in the Baltics seemed odd in light of the fact that President Obama is already conducting military exercises in the Baltics. And the US already has around 40,000 troops stationed in Germany, so it's hard to say what good "a few thousand" more would do. And pushing on a missile defense system in Poland is a very long-term solution to a very current problem. In total, Fiorina's laundry list of proposals sure sounded like a plan, but on inspection, it's hard to see why any of them would convince Putin to change course.
Her immigration answer was also odd to anyone who knew the issue's recent history. It's true Obama didn't immediately push immigration reform when he took office, but it was his top priority after reelection, and he spent a solid year trying to make the Senate's comprehensive immigration-reform bill — the one crafted, in part, by Sen. Marco Rubio— into law. That legislation was stopped by Republicans in the House of Representatives, not by the Democrat in the White House. "Send me a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the next few months," Obama begged in 2013, "and I will sign it right away."
Or take her biggest applause line of the night: a riff on the Planned Parenthood tapes that set conservative Twitter afire. "I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table,it's heart beating, it's legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain."
The only problem? Nothing like that happens in the Planned Parenthood tapes. As Sarah Kliff, who has watched all the tapes, wrote, "either Fiorina hasn't watched the Planned Parenthood videos or she is knowingly misrepresenting the footage."
This has become something of a habit for Fiorina, who has a notable facility for delivering answers that thrill conservatives but fall apart under close examination. In a recent interview with Katie Couric, for instance, Fiorina delivered a four-minute riff on climate change that the National Review enthused "shows how to address the left on climate change." The only problem, as David Roberts pointed out, was that every single thing she said in it was wrong.
But if presidential campaigns were decided by fact checkers, Al Gore would have won in a landslide. Fiorina is, for now, able to do what her competitors aren't: command a stage, speak in specifics, project knowledge, and elicit roars from a crowd. She's a political outsider in a campaign that favors outsiders, an orthodox conservative at a moment when Republicans are terrified of Donald Trump's heterodoxies, and a woman in a year when most Republicans think Hillary Clinton's main advantage is her gender. And she's now won two debates against the most talented Republican field in a generation.
Fiorina is going to be a force to be reckoned with, even if it's going to leave fact checkers and policy analysts pulling their hair out.
Posted by Barbara at 9:50 AM
Labels: According to Fact Checkers on Fiorina From Last Night's Debate Her Nose Should Have Grown Longer by This Morning