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Affluent Christian Investor | October 21, 2017

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The Round Two Winner is …

Marco Antonio Rubio (Photo by Gage Skidmore) (CC BY) (Resized Cropped)

Marco Antonio Rubio
(Photo by Gage Skidmore) (CC BY) (Resized/Cropped)

Look, I don’t really have the energy to do a good job reviewing Wednesday’s 3.5 hour debate, because, well, I just got done watching a 3.5 hour debate. I guess 3.5 hours of debate beats 3.5 weeks of non-stop Fed/interest rate talk, but I think some people have better diversions from their day job than I do. I digress.

It was a long debate – too long – but there were some illuminating moments. There is no point to mentioning how unpresidential and weak and ignorant and narcissistic and shallow Donald Trump is, because anyone reading my blog already knows that, and if they don’t, they aren’t going to agree now. He is incorrigible, but not as incorrigible as his minions are. I assume Sean Hannity went on air tonight to praise his advanced studies on immigration and serious, impressive approach to, say, jurisprudence, but for my readers whose IQ exceeds Sean Hannity’s, which is to say, all of you, Trump was a disaster. The air is coming out and the only question is how fast. I assume his handlers will take that slap mark off his face that Carly left squarely on it. Highlight.

Carly was strong, really strong. She should have left the Christie thing alone when he rightly scored points for pointing out the irrelevance of Donald’s and Carly’s pedigree. Going back to it a second time was not necessary, but all in all she was really outstanding – sort of an anti-Hillary: Impressive story, well-spoken, likable, informed, intelligent, charismatic.

Jeb had a disastrous first half of the debate, and did do better in the second half. His line defending his brother was ironically the strongest point of his campaign so far. Jeb’s problem, though, is unsolvable – totally unsolvable – and that is that he is lacking in mojo, and mojo is not to be bought with PAC fundraising. He is bright, and he is a solid conservative, but he is a yawner, and that is not going to work this time around – I promise you.

I don’t have anything to say about Rand Paul or Mike Huckabee.

Scott Walker tried. He was well-prepared with cute lines. But he comes across desperate now. He barely had the mic. He just doesn’t seem relevant. For him to get back into this thing it would be a far bigger comeback than what John McCain experienced in 2008, and that thing was for the record books. I like the Governor, but I do not believe he is Presidential.

Dr. Carson had a bad night. It was supposed to be his night to pick up those Trump folks who maybe perhaps have a brain or a conscience, and he did not do so. He started slow, and he didn’t pick up much throughout the night. His Afghanistan material was abysmal – like shockingly bad. You can tell he doesn’t have a campaign filled with consultants because I assume if he did they would have told him to do a better job tonight.

Christie had a good night. He is going nowhere, but he had a good night.

I want to give Ted Cruz a chance, I really do. But I have no tolerance for his hypocrisy on the Justice Roberts issue (he CLEARLY and EMPHATICALLY supported a Roberts nomination at the time), and his disingenuous use of the “amnesty” term is unbecoming someone of his intellect. He is bright, and he is formidable, but he grated on me tonight.

Kasich had a bad night, and perhaps one he won’t recover from. That may be too dramatic. But his waffling on the Iran deal is ridiculous – there is no “if” when it comes to Iran funding Hamas and Hezbollah – we KNOW that they ARE doing so. We don’t have to see IF they will do so. His people have him tunnel-visioned on this 1990’s nostalgia thing, as if American fondness for the balanced budget will give HIM more points than Hillary CLINTON in the end. Totally bizarre. Kasich is a strong candidate because he governs a state that probably delivers the Presidency, and he is a grown-up. But he had a bad night. He can recover though.

I am perfectly fine with readers believing my own biases for Marco Rubio prohibit me from giving an objective assessment of his performance, but I would suggest that anyone who watched the debate who does not believe Rubio simply SHINED is the one lacking objectivity. Solid on Russia. Solid on Syria. Solid on ISIS. Best foreign policy credentials on that stage. Best economic message – solid vision of hope and aspiration. Articulate. Out of the fray with Trump the Clown. Really a great night overall.

So here we are. Two down. I don’t remember how many to go. Wednesday should have counted as two. We have three or four people I’d like to see up there. It will take awhile. The report card:

Rubio and Fiorina – the winners
Kasich and Carson – the losers
Huckabee – kinda sad
Rand Paul – I found a guy who dislikes him more than me (but I dislike that guy)
Christie – good night
Walker – mediocre
Bush – some warm; some cold; so lukewarm
Cruz – irritated me tonight
Trump – I’m excited to hear Trump will have a team to tell him the names of world terrorist leaders. I’ll pay him to stop giving people five on stage and making me wince at the awkwardness

Good night.

David L. Bahnsen, CFP®, CIMA® is the founder, Managing Director, and Chief Investment Officer of The Bahnsen Group, a private wealth management boutique based in Newport Beach, managing over $1 billion in client assets. David has been named as one of Barron’s America’s Top 1,200 Advisors as well as On Wall Street’s Top 40 Advisors Under 40 and Financial Times Top 300 Advisors in America. He brought The Bahnsen Group independent through the elite boutique fiduciary, HighTower Advisors, in April 2015 after eight years as a Chairman’s Club Managing Director at Morgan Stanley and seven years as a First Vice President at UBS Financial Services. He is a frequent guest on CNBC and Fox Business and is a regular contributor to Forbes.

David serves on the Board of Directors for the National Review Institute and the Lincoln Club of Orange County, and is a founding Trustee for Pacifica Christian High School of Orange County.
David’s true passions include anything related to USC football, the financial markets, politics, and his house in the desert. His ultimate passions are his lovely wife of 15+ years, Joleen, their gorgeous and brilliant children, sons Mitchell and Graham, and daughter Sadie, and the life they’ve created together in Newport Beach, California.


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