|God, Wolf Blitzer is annoying. Just thought I'd mention that...
The GOPers are in part two. The citizen question period starts with a very poignant question from a woman whose younger brother died in Iraq in December 2005, eight days before he was to return home.
Duncan Hunter and Sam Brownback answered pretty well, with Hunter getting in the fact that his son is serving. But John McCain owned the question, standing up while the others sat, and talking "straight talk" (ahem) about why we have to win in Iraq. Not that we can, John...
Ron Paul is taking the second question on Iraq. He says the biggest incentive for the Iraqis to do what they need to do is to leave and let them do it. Paul's answer on this so far has been the high point of the debate for me.
Oh God, now it's Rudy's turn. He's up and stalking the audience, and guess what? He's mentioned 9/11!!!!! Surprise, surprise. He is saying we need to properly "take on the role of nation building." I guess that answers whether he is a neocon. "We have to train our military" to do an "Iraq-stat" program (like his COPSTAT program in New York City) to determine whether schools are opening, factories are opening etc. Is this guy serious? That's NOT what the military is trained for. This guy is a Wilsonian Democrat from 1913! He should be writing for the New Republic, not running for president! Jeez...
Next question: Gilmore is saying conservatives should conserve ... the environment.
Tancredo says "ditto."
On healthcare: A town moderator told the story of a friend of his who discovered on vacation in Spain that his prescription drugs cost $600 less there. What do do?
Rudy Giuliani was first up, and may I say that it's really creepy when Giuliani gets up and walks toward the audience. He looks like an evil robot. He shouldn't do that anymore. His answer, by the way, was verbatim, the Bush "buy your own insurance through a tax credit" strategy. VERBATIM.
Now Tommy Thompson has bounced out of his chair to anwer a question about single payer healthcare. He's scaring me. His hair looks like it's going to get up and run away. And he's talking really loudly... Why is Tommy Thompson yelling at me...???
Most pressing issue facing America today (asked by a philosophy professor):
Gov. Huckabee -- "getting all the moral questions tonight better than getting the immoral questions..." -- understanding the sanctity of life...
Giuliani -- selling American freedoms to the Middle East (good God, this guy is a total neocon!)
Ron Paul is the town crier tonight. He sounds exasperated, saying the most pressing issue is the idea that we've now accepted the idea of preemptive war, rejecting the "just war" theory of Christianity. "Tonight we hear that we're not even willing to rule out a nuclear strike against a company that has done nothing to us directly and that is no threat to our national security" (Iran). "We have to come to our senses about this issue of war and preemption and go back to traditions and our Constitution and defend our liberties and defend our rights, but not to think we can change the world by force of arms and to start wars." Brilliant. In the background, you can hear cries of "Wolf! That's not right...!"
Brownback - the issue of life. That's why we can't nominate somebody who's not pro-life. Forget what I said in the first post. This guy's "I'm not a religous nut" disguise is starting to chip off. So if Rudy got the nomination, could you support him? "Um... " Brownback says he doesn't think we'll nominate someone who is pro-life. He's waffling. I'm taking that as a no.
Next question is for Romney from an airline agent. He says Romney has been accused of "flip flopping" on immigration, and that "just earlier tonight you said you're for the national language being english, so why are you airing ads in English, and providing a Spanish language version of your website?" Romney's answer: "well, I'm not anti-immigrant ... I'm pro borders ... I'm not for illegal immigrants staying ... oh God ... please zap me with your Mormonic laser in my magical undergarments and get me out of here ... I mean I'm Mitt Romney, and I approved this message..." Romney didn't answer the question. He's making a speech about making America great.
Tancredo: would you advertise in Spanish? In MIAMI???? No, says Tancredo. He's advocating the preservation of English as the glue that holds our country together. Can I say, Romney down 5 more points by week's end???
McCain: starts by saying "first of all, governor, muchos gracias!" Good one. McCain is saying that Hispanic immigrants are enriching the culture, especially in his state, where Spanish was spoken before English was. He says go look at the Vietnam War memorial, and you'll see the names of Spanish speakers and even green card holders. "So lets from time to time, remember that these are Gods children. They must come into the country legally, but they have enriched our nation like generations of immigrants before them." Elegant answer.
Next: Why did the GOP lose in 2006 and how to stop the bleeding in 2008?
McCain: spending, spending, spending, and the attendant corruption. He promises to veto all pork bills as president and "make the earmarkers famous." Good answer.
Giuliani: Democrats. This guy is bald and not in a good way. He gives me the creeps.
Interestingly, these guys are answering the question "what was Bush's biggest mistake" but none is answering it. They're all answering what Republicans did wrong.
Finally, someone answers! Tancredo, who is on fire tonight, says Bush's biggest problem is that he "ran as a conservative and governed as a liberal." He says that is the basis of his rightfully lost credibility.
Paul: Bush ran on a humble foreign policy and then changed his tune. He drained the treasury for his mad ambitions.
Gilmore: principles were violated, on immigration, on spending and earmarks, and taxes.
Hunter: the Republican Party has to become family friendly. Huh???
Huckabee: Americans want low taxes and no regulation and no illegal immigrants or lawsuits. Again, HUH???
These nimrods aren't answering the question and Wolf isn't making them. I give up.
Next question: re illegal immigration, what does it mean to be an American?
Tancredo: "cut ties with the past, especially politically, from the country you came from." Tancredo wants a time out. He wants to stop all legal immigration except for family members and refugees. We need assimilation! And English only! Tancredo just boarded the crazy wagon. And he was doing so well.
Show of hands: end legal immigration? No takers.
Last question: Should the GOP follow Arnold Schwarzenegger's example of working with Democrats to win back popularity?
Duncan Hunter got in a three way broadside against Rudy McRomney, saying Romney supported the Clinton assault weapons ban, as did Rudy, that Romney took a "major step toward socialism" with his Massachusetts healthcare plan, and that McCain is on the wrong side of immigration, adding that "I think the person who has the most influences with these guys is Ted Kennedy, and I think we need to move away from the Ted Kennedy wing of the Republican Party." Bang! Zoom!
Romney's answer was a rambling mess that had something to do with Reagan and optimism, Rudy tried a one liner, saying "the way to do it is to nominate me" ... then he went back into his terrorism spiel. UNITED AGAINST ISLAMIC TERROR!!! THEY'RE COMING TO GET YOU! ELECT ME OR DIE!!!! Ahem. McCain tried the soft sell, saying "protect our American family." Awwww.... and fight "this transcendent issue of our time: the battle and struggle against Islamic extremism..." now it's Baghdad John's turn to cite the supposed terror attack tries in the U.S. He ends with a flourish about his life, experience, background and heroes qualifying him to lead.
And that's the end. Thank God. My ears were beginning to bleed ...
Labels: 2008, 2008 election, debates, presidential candidates, Republicans