Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Las Vegas Republican Debate

Yes, I am covering this Republican Presidential debate in (more or less) REAL TIME, just as I did the Labor Day Tea Party debate in Columbia. And let me tell you, nothing much has changed, except the ritzy venue, featuring fashionable Anderson Cooper. For some unfathomable reason, they've tossed in hyper-conservative, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (currently polling at 1%), for good measure. Probably because of his media-popularity with the Religious Right.

I got a late start, first tuning into CNN during anti-immigration fireworks between Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Governor Rick Perry, who accuse each other of being soft on illegals. Perry says Romney hired undocumented workers in his own home--Romney becomes furious and says that isn't true. Perry loudly and self-righteously announces Romney's statement is "the heighth of arrogance"--which makes me wince. Please, no more Texas governors who mangle the language.

Michele Bachmann talks to "the moms" in the viewership, which startled me. This marks the first time I ever heard a presidential candidate appeal to moms, as a mom. I am not sure what I think of that; none of the male candidates addressed other fathers "as a dad"--but then again, I seem to remember that candidate Barack Obama did. Bachmann tells us the economic collapse greatly threatens mom's "nests" and their babies, and she uniquely understands the fears of moms; hold on, she adds dramatically, help is on the way!

Nests? Sounds like crackpot Christian-counseling lingo, doesn't it?

A Republican in the audience licks his lips in greed and demands to know whether Yucca Mountain (in Nevada) can be "opened up". He means for dumping nuclear waste, but you can tell several of the candidates don't have a clue what this question refers to. Newt Gingrich, eager to show off his superior knowledge, says this would be okay after "tests"--to determine if the location is environmentally sound, and "everything so far says that it is." (Of course, he completely ignores the Western Shoshone and their unique issues in regards to Yucca Mountain.) And then, BOOM, Ron Paul suddenly jumps on it with both feet as a states' rights issue. Why should the other 49 states dump their garbage on Nevada? Why is the government cleaning up what private industry has done? This is for the nuclear power plants themselves to clean up, so why aren't they? Another blistering diatribe from the good doctor, the only candidate who seems to know how to think for himself and actually answer questions. The rest of the candidates gape in amazement, still wondering where/what Yucca Mountain IS... Newt looks sheepish and ridiculous, having just had his clock cleaned by Ron Paul, when as we know, Newt fancies himself a big intellectual policy wonk and college lecturer.

That was fun.

At this point Governor Perry starts babbling oddly about the Tenth Amendment. As you may know, this is also a favorite talking point of our Governor, Nikki Haley, and he seems to be making a rather naked grab for her endorsement. [Local aside: Perry's wife Anita recently visited local Baptist stronghold, North Greenville University and tearfully yowled that "other candidates" have "brutalized" Perry for his faith, which is a real hoot, and ... incidentally, seems to have no basis in reality.] Perry really sounded mediocre, and meandered all over the conservative lot. I am hereby rescinding my prediction (that he will win the SC primary) unless he gets himself ready for prime time, as he clearly is not yet.

Herman Cain, Businessman-candidate and GOP rock star of the moment, gives a decidedly lackluster performance this time around. I didn't hear any references to his much-ballyhooed "999" tax plan. (He may have mentioned it in the first 20 minutes, but I am grateful I missed it, in any event.)

During this debate, I learned Nevada has the highest rate of home-foreclosures of any state. Rick Santorum says the Wall Street bail-out is to blame, which was supported by Rick Perry and Herman Cain. (audience noise: OOOOooooOOOOOhhhhhhHHHHooo)

In answers to questions about Romney's Mormonism, Newt Gingrich goes on an offensive rant about faith. In doing so, he insults all the atheists and agnostics in America, saying you can't trust anyone who doesn't pray, that such a person has no judgment. This from a man who is now on his third wife.

The heighth of arrogance.

Asked about the military, Ron Paul used that forbidden word, Empire. The USA owns more weapons than every other country put together, he said; we have military presences in 150 countries. "Where does it stop? We're broke now!" Every empire has fallen before us, and if we don't stop engaging in Empire, we will fall also. "We are doing it to ourselves," he said, more than once. There was applause, but also slack-jawed amazement on the faces of Romney and Perry, those ideological lightweights.

When asked about Israel specifically, Ron Paul didn't budge, and enlarged upon his ideas: Israel has been damaged by being propped up (financially and militarily) by the USA. In reply, Santorum melodramatically pronounces that our military budget should NOT be cut ONE SINGLE DIME. Perry adds that we should defund the United Nations, that old Bircher line. Later, Romney jumps him for having once worked for Al Gore. Direct hit!

And the rest of the debate was pretty much like this.


Progressive Unity said...

I had to comment on this one.

I loved the question that perry started answering, stuttered, and he knew he was done...I mean stick a fork in him DONE.

Yes they did talk about cain's 999 deal (do you think he stole that from the 555 deal dominos had?). But anyway, they abused him as a group for a few minutes, and left him wondering what the hell just happened. (How low do you have to go to be "schooled" by M. Bachmann???

catsynth said...

I'm afraid I missed this one - even a debate in the Western US starts early for west coast viewers. But it sounds like I didn't miss much.

politico links said...

Perry vs Romney, now its personal

Rick Perry revives by rattling Mitt Romney in Las Vegas debate

totsymae said...

Well, you summed that up well. Enjoyed reading the wrap-up. It was something to see, that debate and a quite sad to see that these guys, with one exception, are fighting to be the next American bully-in-charge. Love America but where it's going, nobody knows.

jaridit misr said...

Important topic already

fakr gidid said...

thank you

white rabbit said...

I'd never heard of the Sanatorium person - or whatever he's called.

Paul at least has the virtue of disassociating himself from the standard American 'let's all kiss Israel's ass' drivel that is puked up particularly, but not exclusively, at election times.

white rabbit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave Dubya said...

I managed to tune in just long enough for some comedy between Willard and the Newt. After being slammed by Newt for the individual mandate in "Romneycare" Willard told Newt, "We have you to thank for the individual mandate." Newt squirmed like a salamander caught by a trout. Newt then tried to blame the Heritage Foundation.

Good job. Ya gotta love Republicans getting caught red-handed with coming up with the most disliked aspect of corporate healthcare wealthfare.

Anonymous said...

one nit to pick: heighth, believe it or not, is a real word. i think it first appeared in milton. obviously only an jackass would use it in a debate, but it's not a mangling, per se.

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sheila said...

I really do like Ron Paul, his thinking on the wars and presence in other countries is dead on. Such a waste of money. Do they even want us there anymore? Maybe if they do, they should pay to keep us there.