Republican Debate in New Hampshire

First a few comments about the debates itself. Wolf did an infinitely better job than Chris Matthews, but obviously the format was better as well. However, at times it seemed like less of a debate than a grilling of the candidates on the failure of the Bush administration (particularly in Iraq) and why the GOP is in such deep trouble. Several questions toward the beginning about the National Intelligence Estimate. Did anyone catch those questions in the Democratic debate, which was CHOCK full of almost nothing but Senators? Wolf started interrupting (thank., thank you…thank you Governor, thank you) almost before most of the candidates opened their mouths. This included interrupting Romney about 15 seconds in as he finished the first leg of a three-legged stool.

And again they were begged by the moderators to behave more like moderates like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Thankfully without him in the audience this time.

Now the candidates one-by-one (in–literally–random order):

Huckabee:
* Funny intro: Hope, Arkansas, give us one more chance.
* Taliban feels THEY won the cold war. We sadly underestimate our foes.
* Great answer on creationism. Enough to be repeated later in the commentary.
* Says GOP lost credibility.
* Great comments reaching pro-life principles above and beyond the abortion issue…and connecting it to terrorism, the anti-life stance.

Hunter:
* Would pardon Campion and Ramos before Libby.
* Talk to your enemies (Iran) but stopping nukes is the top priorities.
* Who’s gonna fill these jobs? American citizens lined up for jobs after sweeps
* Mandated fence by Duncan…it’s a bad bill. Says fence likely delayed to get this bill passed hunter sayss we should be able to buy health insurance across state lines.

Romney:
* Based on info, right decision bad planning, didn’t lose.
* People are testing the US…we have to move Islam…Romney reminds me of Ben Scroggs.
* Says enforce law from 1986.
* Spanish speaking version of his ads and on his website.
* Three legged stool: strong military, strong economy, strong family values.
* Massachussets solved health care private companies not government….
romney eway of the map oon selling stuff to china.

Rudy:

* Iraq not in a vacuum…have to be successful.
* Health insurance is employer and government dominated. pushing Bush’s talking points. Health insurance should operate like car and home insurance. when we make it free just wait and see how expensive it will come. Rudy says the obvious: market principles and good consumer decisions lower costs.
* Immigration bill is a typical Washington mess of compromises.
* Offense on terrorism, strong economy.
* Lightning strikes (disrupting the sound system) when he starts talking about Bishops.
* Freedom, great moral obligation is to share our freedom with our enemies (Middle East).
* Global Warming: need a Apollo mission type project.

McCain:
* Iraq surge strategy needs to get a chance to succeed. If we don’t succeed, they’ll follow us home.
* Poignant speech about Hispanic vets…but completely misses the point (dodges) on English as an official language
* Very pointedly and accurately connects spending with corruption. Corruption is made possible by pork-barrel spending.
* EVERYONE, (including me) raised their hands when McCain says “if anyone has a better idea” on immigration.
* Leave curriculum up to the school districts (re: Creation and Evolution)
* Did anyone catch this?: “We’re not into building fences.” Isn’t that passed law, now?

Brownback:
* Iran is a sponsor of terrorism. Great point in saying talking to them and actively negotiating with them are two different things.
* Need to work with labor union movement in Iran.
* Throws Clinton (CARTER!!) under the bus for being activist on policy while HW Bush has been more strictly active on humanitarian issues.
* Stands for whole-life, so invest the difference apparently is not the right philosophy. (sorry, insurance joke).
* Takes on cancer. Go get ‘em! There’s something we can all agree on.
* AGAIN, would you support a pro-life candidate (Rudy)? Yes (again), but this time adds that he doesn’t think the Republican party will nominate one.

Thompson:
* As usual has the most succinct and logical answer to the “what do we do now in Iraq” question.
* Secure our border.
* Healthcare: quite excited–90% of the costs occur after you become sick…wellness system vs. illness system.
* Tells it like it is on the Libby sentence. Clinton lost his law license. Libby got 30 months. {Clinton was President, though…noone is EVER going to give an acting President jail-time. I mean come on.}

Paul:
* Mistake to go=mistake to stay. Weapons weren’t there…more threatened now by staying.
* “Congress shall write no laws.” Strict constructionism.
* Makes another great point about individual vs group rights in response to the gays in the military issue. (as you’ll see later, this is COMPLETELY passed over by Wolf, who can’t stop talking about it.)
* Pressing moral issue: We now promote preemptive war, and have thus rejected Christian principles of just war.
* A great point about protecting oil interests being central to our foreign policy…a much better argument to decreasing dependence on oil than global warming.

Tancredo:
* Franklin’s quote…we gave you a Republic if you can keep it.
* Immigration: loud applause for Tancredo
* Says Bush probably wouldn’t be welcome at the White House, just as Rove told him.
* Conservationist principles through conservative principles. Cites Teddy Roosevelt.

Gilmore:
* Unfortunately stood out even less on this one than he did on the last one.
* His first comment made a lot of sense, and then he made sense and then rambled on during the audience Q&A.
* Most memorable was the Rudy McRomney comment.

AFTERMATH: I should have turned off the TV after the debate, but being a glutton for punishment I continued to tune in to the likes of Paul Begala (AAARGGHH!!) and Huffington, etc.

So here’s a little Play by Play with my commentary thrown in randomly and without annotation:

McCain interview: bringing families together. battle and struggle on Islamic extremism: good and evil. McCain still thinks things are in the bill that aren’t. “Heavy penalty” eight to 13 year process to citizenship “behind” legal entrants, meanwhile they get to work here AHEAD of legal entrants.

Blitzer: completely misstates the position of all the candidates on gays in the military. “Opposite” of openly gays is not “don’t ask don’t tell” which everyone on the stage supports. The “opposite” would be asking, telling, and kicking out. That was a trap laid out pure and simple to paint the entire stage out to be homophobes. Completely shameless and stupid.

Rudy Interview: When has a military been required a timetable to win? Great question. Precedence is a relevant question there.

Huffington: Says McCain is the winner. Can’t imagine. He’s the most liberal candidate on the stage.

Jeffrey Toobin: compliments Huckabee; Romney incomprehensible. So I agree with him for a whopping 6.8 seconds. After this Toobin goes way off the deep end for the rest of the evening.

Replayed Huckabee’s answer to Creationism. Part of it…didn’t play the most relevant part which answered the actual question Wolf asked.

Romney Interview: quoted Oh Brother Where Art Thou, “Come on in the water’s fine,” when asked about Fred Thompson’s entering the race. Larry asks about Attorney General. Mitt says no wrongdoing has been proven. Larry asks the classic stupid President Question: Isn’t it wrong to say “I’m the best person?” Romney says he can’t do it alone, so he’s pull together the best team. Are you getting tired of the Mormon question? Yes, Larry, so thanks for asking again.

Anderson cites negative poll about Bush administration and SOME Democratic members of Congress. Neglects to mention that the poll was regarding the Democrat Congress as a whole, not a select few who have cash in their freezer.

Mike Murphy says McCain always does what he thinks he’s right.

Huffington: Brownback had “Biden solution” Again kissing McCain’s ass on his poignant Hispanic speech.

Jeffrey Toobin: BULLS*** comment on endorsing policy of President Bush, missing the simple fact that almost everyone on the stage continuously threw him under the bus on management of the war in Iraq.

Mike Murphy points out the obvious that polls and foreign policy don’t always mix.

AARP Commercial: vote for the candidate that has answers. AARP. Socialized medicine?

This is definitely a McCain-friendly debate…Until it gets to “The gut reaction,” real-time metering, where McCain goes WAY into the negative as he tries to defend this immigration bill. The analyst there of course misses the point of course on “trashing Republicans” getting biggest positive responses on the real-time metering. Every time a Republican was trashed it was from the right.

Panel: Begala? Democrats win the election. What a tool.
Never caught this girl’s name? McCain is a God among men.
Wolf talks about Democrats. Gays and Lesbians. McCain the lone champion of letting English not be an official language. A difference between Republicans and Democrats? No. Begala waxes eloquent about consolidation of power in Homeland Security. A new tension in the Republican?

Begala: only 43% know that Rudy’s prochoice. WHAT? Rudy as a third party candidate? Chick (WHAT THE HELL IS HER NAME, IT MUST HAVE SHOWN IT) calls that what it is…wishful thinking. Begala is accusing a PARTY of flip-flopping if they nominate a pro-life candidate. “Well they need to write an apology to all the Democrats they’ve called baby-killers over the years.” How does this guy even make it on television? Thompson would be a more unequivocal conservative.

On Fred Thompson: Mike Murphy points out another obvious: One, it’s too early. Two, Thompson is high in the polls because he’s famous and we keep talking about him. {By the way, Reagan was in politics WHILE he was an actor, just like Fred. And movie acting as a profession in the 60’s was a little different than being a TV actor in the 2000s.}

Gays in the military again. Republicans are all homophobes. Absolute best answer was from Ron Paul, but noone points out that little escape to logic-land.

Huffington: sums it up…things will definitely be worse the closer we get to the election. Can’t believe we’re talking about God…when Democrats talk about God it’s about helping and loving people. By extension, Republicans (except for McCain obviously) just don’t care about helping people.

I just can’t watch anymore. I’ll probably have more to say after you guys comment.

One major point. NONE of the second-tier candidates were interviewed on CNN. Wonder why?

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3 Responses to “Republican Debate in New Hampshire”

  1. Cajun Tiger Says:

    Thanks for the recap. And guess where Fred Thompson was during the debate…being interviewed on Hannity and Colmes which means he probably had more viewers and airtime than all the others on CNN combined.

  2. JohnnyB Says:

    I’ll chip in here.

    Caught a brief, loaded question on global warming (something like, “Every scientist agrees that the world is heating up, the world is going to end, and it’s humanity’s fault. Do agree with these scientific facts?) handled well by Guiliani, even better by Romney, who turned it around into a national security question. Ron Paul squeezed in a mention of Mossadegh. I can’t wait for Ron to suggest that everyone read “www.logipundit.com” to find out more about American foreign policy.

    Then I caught the last half hour. I hate town hall forums. Town hall is simply a format by which reporters screen out all questions except liberal and/or divisive questions.

    Four questions in a row on health care. Guiliani and Romney answered these well. Duncan Hunter also provided a strong defense of pharmaceutical companies. 80% of new drugs are made in America. This helps out everyone in the world. Profits in the American market subsidize lower prices of drugs around the world. Socialized medicine allows countries to negotiate prices down, but those socialized countries (such as Spain) can’t produce life-extending drugs that we can. Because they have the apparatus to make cheap generics, they bully Big Pharma into providing cheaper medicine. Succinctly, Hunter made the same argument rather well.

    Gilmore botched most of his answers.

    Tancredo- Angry single issue guy, who seems to come from the John Birch wing of the party. I missed his early answers, but his statements about not encouraging bilingualism and totally restricting all immigration seemed to fit the cranky white male stereotype of the GOP. Much to the detriment of the party. Should drop out and endorse Hunter, who is far more knowledgeable and sensible.

    Brownback- Angry pro-lifer, no charisma. Should support Huckabee and drop out.

    Tommy Thompson has no business being here.

    McCain looked old and tired. I watched Romney attack a question on energy policy with twenty different ideas, whereas McCain sounded tired and weary, and at a loss for words. It’s sad but time has passed for this man. He is totally right about limiting spending.

    The Townhall question about Romney speaking Spanish was a total ankle-biting cheap shot, and Romney handled it beautifully. Would love to see a snarky question to Hillary about selling weapons to China for campaign contributions, but since Wolf Blitzer, and not JohnnyB, is moderator, this will not happen.

    Duncan Hunter made a nice distinction between himself and the big three.

    Ron Paul is not just a crank like the media make him out to be. Did he receive any questions on anything besides the war?

    I liked Huckabee and I think
    Romney, McCain, Guiliani, Huckabee, Hunter, and Paul are the only guys that have any business being there.

    Probably the GOP is keeping around TThompson and Gilmore to dilute Paul’s time.

    I don’t watch what liberal activists have to say about the GOP primary. Did Rush Limbaugh and Ken Mehlman provide commentary after the democrats debate?

  3. Fried Green Onions Says:

    I pray the GOP will not let candidates be trapped into blind canyon debates in the future. Don’t let the liberal progessive media make fools of you. They are evil and smart and agenda driven. Please do mot be to eager to appear on their rigged interviews!
    Please!


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