Friday, May 04, 2007

The GOP debate - for what it was worth

Having just seen a streamed version of last night's Republican debate, here are a few thumbnail impressions....on which I'll expand later.

First off, something very few people have commented on..I find it amazing that the Republicans would allow MSNBC to have Chris Matthews, someone who absolutely loathes conservatives and Republicans moderate a GOP debate! It was rather like having Ann Coulter oversee a debate among Democrats. Among the other questions this blowdried blowhard cherry-picked for the candidates were gems like: `What do you hate most about America?' `Do you think Bill Clinton should be back in the White House?' and `Have you seen Al Gore's movie?'

*Gag.* With someone like Matthews picking the questions and running the show, and ten people onstage, the odds on anything meaningful happening were pretty slim.

Out of the lesser known candidates, I was pleased to see that Congressman Duncan Hunter came across as well as he did, and probably raised his profile considerably as a result. He is one of the handful of candidates from either party who seems to understand that we're in a global war and that we had better get serious about winning it.

John McCain reminded me of nothing so much as the descriptive phrase `grown old in the service of his country'. Some idiot on the radio made a comment about `the weird thing with McCain's arms' who obviously didn't know or care that McCain was tortured by having his arms wrenched out of their sockets in a bamboo tiger cage in Vietnam while defending his country.

I liked his comment about following Osama bin-Laden to the gates of hell. But the reality is that Senator McCain is simply past the time when he would make an effective president.

Many conservatives are trumpeting Mitt Romney, mostly as the `anti-Giuliani' and he got off some good if obviously well-rehearsed lines. The fact remains that he is essentially an ex-governor who was able to accomplish virtually nothing of significance during his time in office, and seems to change his positions with a disturbing regularity.

Romney would be unlikely to even carry his own home state. In short, he's unelectable in my opinion.

Rudy Giuliani had a mixed performance, and I'd give him a B- overall, although he handled questions on national security quite well and emphasized his accomplishments as mayor of New York, which were considerable. He's being pilloried by conservatives for his reply on an abortion question.

When the candidates in turn were asked by Matthews `Would the day Roe V. Wade is overturned by a good day for America?' Giuliani replied: “It would be O.K....

“O.K. to repeal?” asked Matthews.

“It would be O.K. to repeal,” Giuliani said. “It would be also if a strict constructionist judge viewed it as precedent and I think a judge has to make that decision.”

“Would it be O.K. if they didn’t repeal it?” Matthews pressed.

“I think the court has to make that decision and then the country can deal with it. We’re a federalist system of government and states can make their own decisions.”

What Giuliani is saying, in effect is that at the present time, Roe V Wade is the law of the land, that its repeal is a matter the the Supreme Court will ultimately decide and that if it is repealed, the individual states will decide how they wish to deal with the question. As far as I'm concerned, that's the most common sense answer, but Mayor Giuliani is going to have to come up with a more forceful way of presenting it and one that he's more comfortable with - hence, the B- grade overall.

Very little of this, of course, has much to do with the challenges we face as a nation or is even all that relevant in terms of the coming election. In light of this I'll be putting something on the site shortly that may lead to a little clarity.

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