May 04, 2007

Republican Presidential Debate Number 1

I was going to just watch the Republican Presidential Debate & see what I could gleem from it. I got about 4 minutes into it & decided to just go ahead & write down my impressions as they hit me. Not quite live blogging, but perhaps memorex blogging?

As the rules are being explained & the camera pans around the stage I can't help but feel like I'm watching a friggin' game show. what bothers me about this is that it's probably a more honest approach. But yesireebob - we're gonna have a game show style debate to judge a nominee by. Too friggin' bad it wasn't a spin off of "Jeopardy" ("...I'll take Daily Constitutional doubles for $300 Alex...The answer is, 'It was just as unconstitutional in 1934 as it is today'...Oh come now - anyone care to answer other than Paul & Huckabee???")

Rudy: Lying bastard. "...what I did was set policies & programs for growth, for moving people towards prosperity, security, safety..." If I was mayor in a city that lost 2,000+ in a single day to terrorism I wouldn't mention "security" - especially since he was on watch during the first world trade center bombing (1993). & safety? With the gun control laws in NYC he dares mention safety? The boy just can't be that bright. For the record here's Wikipedia's summation of Rudy's gun control views. & here's Gun Owner's of America's page on Rudy. Safety my ass.

4:05 into it at this point - this is gonna be a long night.

Bullshit about immigration with no specifics. Ditto on health care except he claims to be against socialized medicine. Guess he doesn't want the taxpayers to be burdened with all those criminal assaults on law abiding folks who obeyed his gun laws.

McCain. Isn't it illegal for him to speak this close to an election?

Gov. Thompson: He seems to have a plan for Iraq, but the splitting the oil reserves between the fed & state governments & the people - sounds a bit communistic to me.

Congressman Hunter: His Iraq plan is more focused on military matters. I'd have to hear it fleshed out to comment on it with any depth.

Mitt: Good Lord - he's harping on the values of "leadership' instead of following polls. For the record I don't want a "leader". I have a "leader". It’s me. I want a representative who'll leave me the hell alone unless I materially burden someone else.
Hmm he's saying if we get out of Iraq too soon the Turkish border could be de-stabilized by the Kurds. Guess since he spent all that time in Mass. we should expect he'd not value the idea of a people wanting freedom when security is soooo much spiffier as a talking point. I wonder if he would let Kurds have "assault weapons"?

Sen. Brownback: Better diplomacy but still being strong with our enemies. He's politicking.

Gov. Huckabee: Well he answered well about making a mistake in ethics regarding firing Rumsfeld, but he let the cheap shot pass & attributed Bush's error to listening to the suits instead of the generals with sand on their shoes.

Gov. Gilmore: He seems a big picture kinda guy - in a microcosm sorta way.

Congressman Paul: He's nervous. Preaching isolationism but he seems shaky in his delivery. Not that the message is bad, but he'd have been more convincing if he could have seemed more composed.

McCain. Isn't it still illegal for him to speak this close to a primary?

Congressman Tancredo: He'd help Israel against Iran because it's in America's interest.

Rudy: He's consistent - he doesn't want weapons in the hands of Iranians.

Gov. Gilmore: Wants to get Bin Laden because he's a symbol, but cautions against harming ourselves in the efforts to do so.

Mitt: Plays CYA on a quote he made last week. Ends with saying Bin Laden will die. What? Is he going to force Bin Laden to comply with Mass. gun control then put him in a rough neighborhood?

MSNBC has it broken up into segments so I'm not sure if I'm watching what came next. It's the Double Jeopardy "interactive round" of questions.

McCain. Didn't someone clarify that it is in fact illegal for him to speak this close to the election?

Oh this is cheap - they asked each candidate to look Arnold in the eye as they answer whether they'd support or oppose altering the constitution so a foreign born American could become president.

Mitt: Nope. I suppose he wouldn't want anyone having been made to study the constitution in at least minimal form (it's part of the citizenship process) to look at the laws he supported.

It's not even worth watching this bullshit. Obligatory jokes about who Arnold will support, etc... But I will note one more answer:

Congresman Paul: "I'm a 'no' because I am a strong supporter of the original intent".

At this point the moderator mutters "Oh God" as if he's seen something disgusting before moving to Rudy. Granted, Paul could have just said "no” & he seemed a little awkward while saying it, but he was stabbing at getting his message out. There was no need to let the "Oh God" slip like that. Hell, if the debate already didn't feel like it had one of those smiley face tags with a red line through the former price as it sat on the shelf at the dollar store I'd say his crack cheapened it.

Rudy: He tried to treat everyone the same. & that's right - everyone was equally disarmed. Oh, except for he cops. & the politicians. & the well connected. But other than that...

Mitt: Hmm He loves America. I'm curious though - since he was in Mass. & he's now in Cali (for the debate) did he have a layover in America & formed his opinion from that? Oh c'mon - any more ass kissing & this would have to be X-rated.

Gov. Huckabee: Kinda dancing around the global warming thing.

Congressman Tancredo: Heh. Doesn't believe it's the president's job to meddle in private medical matters (in response to a question about a shortage of organ donors).

Congressman Hunter: He says he's a compassionate conservative, but wants to talk about Iran crossing the line. Heh.

Congressman Paul: Double heh. The question, "If you were president, would you work to phase out the IRS?" Answer, "Immediately". I could almost cry because he doesn't have a chance in hell.
He continues saying that it'll take an attitude adjustment; if you want the government to protect you from cradle to grave & be the world's policeman & have a foreign policy you can't manage then you can't get rid of the IRS, but if you want to cut taxes & stop printing money to make up for the “shortfall" that you call "inflation" then - well you have to change the policy.

The "values" segment.

Roe v Wade repeal a good thing? Nothing worth commenting on. They moved onto abortion generally & seem to be concentrating on "the big 3" (though not exclusively) as everyone tries to get their pro-life street cred on.

Gov. Huckabee: Explains why we're a great nation & the "culture of life" thing is used as a prime example.

Senator Brownback talks about the importance of faith & that we've been pulling away from it.

Congressman Paul: The question (they now address him as “doctor") "How do you reconcile this moral leadership kind of role of conservatism with the very libertarian strain of conservatism, the Barry Goldwater conservatism that you represent? How do you put together what he just said with what you believe in a unified national purpose?"

The answer, "Well, when you do it by an understanding of what the goal of government ought to be - if the goal of government is to be the policeman of the world you lose liberty. & if the goal is to promote liberty you can unify all segments. The freedom message brings us together; it doesn't divide us. I believe that when we over-do our military aggressiveness what it does - it actually weakens our national defense. I mean we stood up to the Soviets - they had 40,000 nuclear weapons. Now we're fretting day & night about third world countries that have no army, navy or air force & we're getting ready to go to war. But the principle, the moral principle is that of defending liberty & minimizing the scope of government...”

At which point he was over his time & they cut him off.

Gov. Thompson: He thinks individuals should not be restrained by anti-discrimination laws.

Now I gotta talk about a question that's been asked to Mitt. He answers it correctly but the question itself has no place in a debate. "What would you say to Roman Catholic Bishops who would deny communion to elected officials who support abortion rights?" The right answer is of course "nothing" as that whole separation of church & state thing (actually it’s a little more complex than that but I’m trying to be brief) makes it a big no-no for .gov to discuss any faith based matters with a religious group. As I said Mitt got it correct (before he delved into religious views not being good criteria for judging a politician) but who the hell let that question slip in? In a Democrat Party debate I could excuse it, but these are supposed to be Republicans?

Gov. Huckabee: Says faith does effect decision making if that faith is genuine, but not that it's a bad thing. The moderator is being argumentative with him about him allegedly changing his view from a quote given a few weeks before. From his answer & the quote (which was recited by the moderator) I don't see his answer as being inconsistent with what he said. What I see is the moderator is either an ass or an idiot. So that means he's probably qualified for a high position in the Republican Party.

I will say that the player MSNBC has for viewing this thing is aggravating. It's tricky to move from one segment to another - the slider is a bit finicky. & it'd be helpful if they had the candidates names displayed as they answer, especially in the 'speed round" segments. The splitting of the segments - they could have labeled them a little better & in some kind of order.

"Flip flopping & cutting taxes"

Mitt: Sounds like he's endorsing a quasi-socialized health care program that relies on price controls of the insurance companies. Ayup. Socialized insurance is what it sounds like. & he calls it a "market solution"? Is he that stupid or does he think we are?

McCain. I'm pretty sure it's still illegal for him to speak this close to the primary.

A "going down the line" question. As I said they need to have friggin’ name tags over each person as I just don't recognize most of them by appearance. & given their appearance I'm sure that I don't want to. The question is to name a tax (aside from the Bush tax cuts) that they'd like to implement & keep.

Alternative flat tax mentioned. Not sure who the guy is. Gilmore maybe?

Gov. Huckabee: Fair Tax. He mentions getting rid of the IRS.

A gov mentioned the flat tax. Thompson?

I think it's Hunter who wanted a $3,000 tax credit for health insurance. He then mentions a "simpler, flatter fair tax". But he couldn't mean "Fair Tax" could he?

Dr. Paul (it's "doctor" now). "In my first week I've already gotten rid of the income tax. In my second week I'd get rid of the inflation tax - it's a tax that nobody talks about. we live way beyond our means with a foreign policy we can't afford & an entitlement system that we have encouraged. We print money for it, the value of the money goes down & poor people pay higher prices. That is a tax. That's a* transfer of wealth from the poor & the middle class to Wall Street. Wall Street's doing quite well but the inflation tax is eating away at the middle class of this country. We need to get rid of the inflation tax with sound money."

At the * in Congressman Paul's answer someone (presumably the moderator) coughed a few times.

Congressman Tancredo: Fair tax. Repeal of the 16th amendment.

McCain again. Doesn't he realize he's breaking the law?

This should be interesting - it's the "lightning round" segment. I wonder if Vanna will parade around in an evening gown a size & a half too small (not that that's a bad thing)?

Rudy likes national I.D. cards. & he's thought about it, probably to aid in his gun control schemes.

Mitt likes the idea too. Imagine that - two gun grabbers liking registration of people as well as guns. Maybe it is about people control more than anything else.

The moderator asks if someone is against this on "libertarian" grounds. Several folks raised their hands.

Brownback says instead of a national I.D. card we secure the border with a fence then secure the Social Security number system. He's asked how that's different than a national I.D. card & he says that we don't need a new system. So it's a pragmatic thing with him it seems - no need for a new I.D. card system when we just need to put a few touches on the one we have.

They ask McCain but since it's illegal for him to speak so close to an election I won't record his answer.

Dr. Paul: "I am absolutely opposed to a national I.D. card. This is a total contradiction of what a free society is all about. The purpose of government is to protect the secrecy & the privacy of all individuals, not the secrecy of government. We don't need a national I.D. card.”

"Mister" Tancredo: He agrees with Paul but wants a secure SS card which he says are two different things.

Question: Should "Scooter Libby be pardoned?"

Who the hell came up with these questions?

Mitt: He doesn't think a candidate should make a statement on that pre-election. He isn't crazy about Libby's treatment or the conduct of the prosecutor though. He goes on to say he does not like national I.D. cards for citizens - just for aliens.

The moderator asks Rudy if he wants it for citizens & Rudy back tracks, saying he meant only for foreigners. Well to his hoplophobic ass any gun owner would be a foreigner now wouldn’t they?

Tancredo would pardon Libby - right after he pardons the two border patrol agents who were prosecuted for shooting a drug smuggler from Mexico (the Wikipedia link gives little of the accused's side of the situation but I don't have time to find a better link)

Paul wouldn't pardon him.

Question: Schivo. Should congress have acted?

Mitt didn't want congress involved.

Brownback thinks congress should have.

McCain. Why haven't they arrested him yet for talking this close to an election?

Rudy: Congress shouldn't have been involved.

Question "Would it be good for America to have Clinton living in the White House?"

Interns. They had to get the questions from interns. Middle school level interns. Maybe a 6th grade group on a student tour?

The "How to win & would you employ Rove?" section

Hunter: Being moderate is a way to win but maybe not the best way. He talks about tough secure border plan.

Gilmore: He ducks the question of employing Rove & says there are more important things to discuss then tries to discuss them.

Tancredo: He wouldn't employ Rove.

Rudy: (Going back to an earlier question) he wants to define the GOP to fit "today". He says ran the most conservative government in the last 50 years in NYC. & I'm sure 125 degrees is a cool day in hell.

Thompson: Talking about his record & that it'll attract voters - start talking about principles & ideas.

Brownback: (Asked about GOP corruption) he says it's the overall system - not a party issue. But says it's a culture & society issue - need to rebuild the family structure.

Tancredo: They're failures of individuals, not party. He says a centrist is not necessary, points to Reagan. Principles, etc..

McCain. That he's still speaking is clearly a case of prosecutorial discretion gone too far. Really for someone who was all happy to restrict my speech this bastard seems to like running his jowls.

Huckabee: He’s asked to rate Bush's handling of the Iraq war. He says it's too early - wait to see how it turns out.

Mitt: He's asked what he meant by saying that being pro-life is more than just appointing strict constructionist judges & was it directed toward Rudy. He says it was directed at anyone who isn't pro-life & while the courts are important it's up to the legislature & governor as well. He does slip in a crack about McCain-Feingold. Like he should talk with his disregard for the 2nd amendment.

Rudy is asked about the abortion thing. He's personally pro-life but publicly pro-choice.

Thompson: He's asked if racism is still a problem & can a president do anything about it. He says a pres can do a lot about it. Be a uniter, etc...

Tancredo: He's asked who should be the nominee if not him. He says he thinks he's best qualified. Immigration is the big deal & no one else seems to be on his level on the issue.

McCain. Yap. Yap. Yap. In violation of his law no less. Does he know how close the primary is?

Hunter: He's asked if he watched Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth". He says no but global warming, etc... is a great chance to remove energy dependence on the middle east & explore alternative energy.

Congressman Paul” (it's "congressman" again now). He's asked to cite an example of when he had to make a decision in a crisis. "I wonder if he's referring to a political decision like running for office or something like that... I guess in medicine I made a lot of critical decisions...I mean you're called upon all the time to make critical life saving decisions but I can't think of any one particular event where I made a critical decision that effected a lot of other people but I think all the decisions we make in politics are critical. My major political decision which was a constitutional decision was to urge that this country not go to war in Iraq."

Gilmore: He’s asked what he'd do to deal with mothers behind bars (the implication that most are non-violent first time offenders) & their kids. He says insist upon obedience to the law. He was a prosecutor & dealt with it then. He says he was Gov of Va. during the September 11th attacks in response to Paul's question about decision making, but the clip ends there.

The "How would you be different than Bush" segment.

Tancredo: He respects Bush's character & passion & love for the country, etc...but he'll work to win the global war - with more troops & strengthen the economy & strengthen the family.

McCain. I'd repeat what he said but I'm not sure if the McCain-Feingold law would allow it.

Gilmore: It's about national security. Vigorous on the war on terror. Homeland security...he was cut off there

Huckabee: States should have more power. It's been a mistake of Bush. Honor the 10th amendment.

Hunter: Beef up the industrial base through trade laws

Brownback: A political as well as military solution to Iraq - a 3 state, 1 country type fix.

Tancredo: “No child left behind”, Medicare prescription drug bill - he disapproves of Bush's part in those. He was cut off right about there as he started to quote Franklin

Thompson: Transform the healthcare system, peaceful way to settle Iraq. Medical diplomacy for foreign relations

Rudy: Talks about September the 11th & Bush did right.

"Dr." Paul: "I certainly would continue on my earlier theme that foreign policy needs to be changed... uh...Mr. Republican Robert Taft, we have a statue of him in Washington, he advocated the same foreign policy that I advocate. I would work very hard to protect the privacy of American citizens, being very very cautious about warrantless searches & I would guarantee that I would never abuse Habeas Corpus.”

The "government performance, belief in evolution" segment.

Hunter: asked to name one thing it does well & one thing it does poorly. He says precision munitions on Zarqawi's house was thing .gov did well, & securing the borders was not done properly by .gov

McCain. I wonder if every word is a separate charge, or just every sentence?

Mitt: Says he'll have a new cabinet.

Rudy: Asked to explain the difference between a Sunni & a Shiite. He kinda botches it.

Gilmore: Asked why he supposedly claims he's the only real conservative in the race & what disqualifies the other candidates from claiming they're conservative. He says he never said he was the only real conservative, just a very consistent one.

Congressman Paul: They asked if he trusts the MSM. "Some of them - but I trust the internet a lot more." He's against internet regulation of the net.

Brownback: Personal beliefs influences everyone's decisions about everything.

Rudy: His biggest weakness - spouts on about optimism & his strengths outweigh his weakness. Mentions how "safe" he made NYC - friggin' hoplophobic laws that provided only the illusion of safety while denying the substance of it.

Brownback: Asked about Rudy's faults. Says there isn't one he sees. He must be blind.

Huckabee: A pres should make clear he won't tolerate jobs being shipped overseas while CEO's take bonuses to put Americans out of work. Should be criminal.

Tancredo: Asked (yes or no) if he'll work to protect women's right & reproductive choice. says yes to the former & no to the latter.

Thompson: Asked how many have been killed & injured in Iraq. He says over 3,000 & that we have to back the soldiers & try to protect them.

I'll sum up in another post - maybe on another day. I'm just too drained to give it a proper analysis. I'm somewhere between "I'm that tired" & "the debate was that bad". More later, developing. Or something.

Posted by Publicola at May 4, 2007 10:28 AM | TrackBack