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GOP debate - my impressions

The Republican Presidential debate was tonight in Columbia, S.C., at the Koger Center on the campus of the University of South Carolina.

UPDATED 2:00 a.m. to add: You can vote in our poll on who won the debate HERE.

Full disclosure: as regular readers here know, I am currently leaning towards, but not committed to, Rudy Giuliani.

First of all, it must be said that the Fox News team of Brit Hume, Chris Wallace, and Wendell Goller did a wonderful job. It's tough to handle a debate with so many participants. The temptation is there to just ask them all to answer the same question - like the laughable MSNBC-hosted debate from California two weeks ago. The Fox gang had interesting questions, tailored for each candidate, and asked challenging follow-ups. Only two stupid questions the whole night: the "diversity" one and the Confederate flag issue question (the matter has been settled by compromise YEARS ago). No wonder the Democrats are afraid to debate on Fox!

Unfortunately, the format did underscore the need for housekeeping. Too many undistinguished voices with ZERO chance of winning and roughly the same amount of support. Let's institute the rule now for both parties: if you can't beat the margin of error in at least one national poll released in the six weeks immediately preceding the debate, you're out. No lovely parting gifts, no consolation prizes, no home version of our game, and no carfare. Go home, you egotistical bums!

Tonight I wished I had been there with an old vaudeville-style stage hook. I would have yanked Ron Paul off as soon as he started that "we brought it on ourselves" nonsense. He's a disgrace to America. Who are these Republicans in Texas who won't challenge this moron in the primary? He has no loyalty to the party and is clearly not a conservative. Send him back to the LP loony bin where he belongs.

Of the major candidates, all performed fairly well, but each struggled at times under the tough questioning. Giuliani wins by a length, mostly on the basis of his strong rebuke of Paul. That's the Rudy we love: the guy who tore up the Saudi Prince's $10 million check when the royal began spouting about our foreign policy bringing on 9/11.

We need to get rid of the chaff and have real debates from now on, though. If Fred and/or Newt want to get in, five could be accommodated without too much difficulty. Ten is just ridiculous, especially when seven of them haven't a prayer. Not that the second-stringers are dummies - Gilmore, Hunter, Thompson, Huckabee, Tancredo, Brownback, and even Paul made some good points. Not enough to make their candidacies viable, of course.

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Comments (4)

The polls on radio, TV and ... (Below threshold)

The polls on radio, TV and on the websites are being used by seminar voters. To think Paul would ever get a nomination for the Prez is drug-related! This was a serious discussion of ideas, the Fox format was much better than the lefty MSNBC, with at least 4 serious people. I liked Rudy, Mitt, Duncan Hunter, did not like McCain(but he is still in the top tier) and I thought The Huck did himself some good. The rest should drop out and support the Party's nominee. Personally, I can see Hunter or Thompson(if he ever gets in, as a VP choice. I can see either Rudy or Mitt doing a good job. But, frankly, I think Rudy is the only guy who can WIN. I want to win and the rest of the people will not win a national-general election. That is just fact.

First, Ron Paul, despite mo... (Below threshold)
Adam Herman:

First, Ron Paul, despite most of us disagreeing with him on foreign policy, has been one of the few Republicans this side of Tom Coburn to actually fight for smaller government. We need people like him in Congress, minus the Robert Taft foreign policy views.

Second, some of those guys in the second tier are capable of building poll support. Bill Clinton was at 1% at this time in 1991.

Now we could still whittle down the field. Tancredo, Hunter and Paul are Representatives and fringe ones at that. But the ex-governors, historically, have usually been competitive, and also historically, don't start to build momentum until Iowa. So let's let Thompson, Gilmore, and Huckabee state their cases. All three are very qualified to be President, especially Thompson.

Adam ~ I certainly agree th... (Below threshold)

Adam ~ I certainly agree that Thompson, Gilmore, and Huckabee are qualified for the job, because of their successful management experience - certainly more than the legislator/candidates in either party, including McCain, Brownback, Hunter, Tancredo, Edwards, Obama, Hillary, and Dodd.

While Clinton was at 1% at this point in 1991, remember that campaign didn't begin as early as this one. Democratic heavyweights like Gore, Gephardt, and Cuomo hadn't taken their names out of the picture yet. At this time this year, the field is pretty well set, except for the dalliance with Fred Thompson and Gingrich by those who dislike all of the announced candidates. Tommy, Jim, and Mike just don't have any chance at all. They made no inroads after the first debate and will make none from this. How long do we allow them to hog debate time and distract from the real contenders?

Ron Paul misrepresents Taft's foreign policy. Taft was certainly not an "interventionist," but neither was he an "isolationist" in the Paul/Libertarian sense. This moron doesn't think we should even have bases outside our borders. Had Paul's foreign policy been in effect "for the last 50 years" (the period of the "interventionism" Paul blames for making people hate us), we would be living in Soviet America today.

These are not just stupid views, they are dangerous ones. While I am a "smaller government" guy myself, I am not willing to give a pass to an idiot just for his fiscal views. It would be like giving the car keys to a drunken teenager just because he's good at keeping the oil changed.

I was a little disturbed th... (Below threshold)
kimyl oh:

I was a little disturbed that there was a question, that was supposed to be serious, about an altogether fictional terrorist plot scenario. Avoiding the fact that most of these types of attacks are suicidal, and that it took us months to figure out what happened or who was behind 9/11, the idea that we will "catch" them fleeing from Florida and that they have one more trick up their sleeve, yada, yada, yada. It's a completely fictional idea, and one that belittles the seriousness of fighting a war on fundamentalist Jihadists.

And I was also disappointed to see that the only person on stage with foreign policy and war experience to speak of was the only who didn't call for torture, and yet he got no applause. We're looking for reasoned men to lead the country, not bloodthirsty vengeful mobsters, right?

Like Colbert said, let them each torture someone on stage to prove their tenacity!




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