Wednesday, September 5, 2007

"Problems like this" and other thoughts on tonight's GOP debate -- Round 2

You're looking live at the University of New Hampshire in Durham where the Republican candidates for president are competing in the first official debate of the Republican campaign. That's right, all of the other debates were just the preseason.

Part 1 is over, now we're back from the commercial...
  • McCain, why won't Giuliani be a good president? Michelle suggests that McCain looks dead. He didn't answer the question, by the way.

  • Rudy Giuliani just said that he hopes to visit Iraq by the end of the year without a crush of publicity. What, does he want to go over there on a vacation? He can't really think we're so stupid to think that he doesn't want publicity if he visits Iraq. There is no ohter reason for a presidential candidate to go.

  • Romney, why is Hillary Clinton tougher on Iraq than you are? Well, the surge is working, we're really patriotic, and someday we need to move the troops to a support role. Have I avoided the question well enough, Wendell?

  • McCain picked up on it too. Chastizes Romney for hedging by saying the surge is "apparently working." I don't agree with McCain, but at least he believes in something. He sounds much more certain about his position than Romney does.

  • Ron Paul is just as certain about his position that we shouldn't be there at all. Chris Wallace tries to suggest that Paul is taking his marching orders (about withdrawing fron the region) from al Qaeda. Paul strongly and forcefully defends his position.

  • And an actual debate has broken out. For the first time two candidates (in this case Huckabee and Paul) are actually conversing about an issue in a back and forth, not just spewing soundbites. Huckabee wants to stay so we can fix what we broke, Paul wants us to get out because we shouldn't compoud our mistakes by being afraid to admit them. It's about time we had a discussion, instead of a recitation of answers and talking points.

  • Is there any way to take the starch out of a good debate than to turn the floor over to Duncan Hunter? Talk about a let down. Maybe he could build a fence around Iraq.

  • Here's the thing about our "success" in Anbar province, and the "success" of the surge: Extra troops concentrated in an area will be successful in tamping down violence just because they are there. But once they leave to go to another area, the violence re-erupts. The only way a "surge" could work is with so many troops that we controlled the entire country. We don't have that many soldiers.

  • Mitt is getting hammered again, this time by a father of a soldier in Iraq, about Romney's suggestion that his sons' "service" in his campaign was as important as that of the soldiers in Iraq. He avoids the answer. He again hedges on whether or not the surge is a success, and Brit Hume calls him on it. He's starting to talk fast. He's getting hammered and not responding well.

  • And now they ask Mitt if he'd wiretap mosques without a warrant. A no win question. If he says yes, he's trampling on liberties (which won't play well in N.H.). If he says no, he appears soft on terror to the base. He says no, and is talking very fast. He says he would wiretap a church if he had to, and that the most important civil liberty is to stay alive (Patrick Henry is rolling over in his grave). Romney is absolutely immolating.

  • Torture? Tancredo, yes. McCain, no.

  • RUDY GIULIANI SUGGESTS THAT GUANTANAMO INMATES BE RELEASED IN BOSTON....Oh, was that a hypotheical, he didn't really suggest that? OK. Never mind.

  • Duncan Hunter suggests that no Democrat can say that the prison in his or her district is as safe as Guantanamo. I say that no Republican lawmaker can say the prison in which he or she is incarcerated is as safe as Guantanamo.

  • Sam Brownback thinks he and his vice president should have "complementarity." That's either a $10 word or a Bush-ism.

  • I'm getting bored. Can we get back to Paul and Huckabee debating an issue?

  • McCain, why do refuse to take the "no new tax" pledge? Because I don't need to take a crazy pledge for you to believe me. Good answer.

  • I wonder how the Red Sox did? They were down 3-2 in the fifth last I checked. I'm planning on watching the rest of the game on tape once this thing ends. I couldn't care less about which of these guys has cut the most taxes.

  • Romney getting hammered on raising fees on the blind! The AP says his nickname was FeeFee. Never heard that before, but that's fantastic. Sounds a little bit French. He's still talking really fast.

  • Tancredo is laughing again, at the idea that Ron Paul wants to cut just about everything.

  • This goofball asking about Giuliani shouldn't beat around the bush. If you want to know why he has been married more than once and why he's bunked with gay friends between marriages, just ask. Don't stammer some crap about family values.
That's it. They're going to come back with some hypothetical question pulled from the new season of "24" or something. I have no interest in hypotheticals.

Winners and losers to come.

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