January 30, 2008

The opening shot on CNN saw Ron Paul getting friendly with Mitt Romney and John McCain, who gave his principal ideological opponent a patronizing pat on the back.

Are Americans better off now than they were 8 years ago?

Mitt Romney says he’s not running on President Bush’s record. “Washington is broken.” Broken—by whom?

Mad John McCain rambles on and on—starting off by saying, “yes, we are better off”—and then going into a litany of our economic woes. Alzheimer’s up close and ugly.

Huckabee: Attacks Congress: let’s not blame the President. Housing is on everyone’s mind: people’s homes are worth less. The Huckster will do something about it. What, exactly, is that? “Serious leadership”—to do what? It’s not clear.

Ron Paul: No we aren’t better off. We’re victims of fiscal policy, monetary policy, and a foreign policy that is bankrupting America, and impoverishing us all. Paul delivers a comprehensive and clear explanation of why we’re in trouble, and how to get out. Home run—and a study in contrast, especially with the stumbling bumbling McCain.

In response to a question about his attacks on McCain as not a real conservative, Mitt Romney is beating up on McCain on global warming, and the endorsement by the New York Times.

McCain gets a really ugly look on his face and rears up, braying that his hometown newspapers are endorsing him, while the Boston Herald is not endorsing Romney. There is some truth in what he says—Romney is a moderate, what we used to call a Rockefeller Republican—but the look on Mad John’s face is just plain scary. This is the guy whose finger we want on the nuclear trigger? I think not.

The Huckster is asked about Rush Limbaugh’s remarks to the effect that his nomination would mean the destruction of the GOP. He’s personally appealing, and very direct: authenticity shows, and it’s very appealing—as are his California ads demanding the abolition of the IRS. He’s saying he wants in on the discussion about conservatism that was being monopolized by what was and is turning into the Romney-McCain sweepstakes. The interviewers—one of whom is from The Politico—are openly shaping the debate. The exclusion of Paul is embarrassing—for them.

How come every time I hear Romney’s voice he’s talking about fees and why he had to raise them? Not good.

And that woman from the LA Times? The Nurse Diesel of American politics.

All but Paul are babbling about”energy independence”—but what can this mean? One can easily see a progression of this idea that underscores the underlying absurdity of the original: after all, why not “food independence,” and “metallic independence”—and, ultimately, “intellectual independence” (hey, it even sounds good!). Only made-in-America medical inoovations ought to be allowed! Oil exists in certain areas of the world: we want to buy it, they want to sell it. What’s the problem?

Ron Paul was finally asked a question, he started to answer, and was rudely cut off by that aging CNN twink[Anderson Cooper]—who promised he’d get a chance to speak in “two minutes.” Yeah, like hell.

The Huckster wants a public works program to stimulate the economy. Romney says its a good idea but not practical. Ron Paul hits another home run—okay, the twink did keep his promise—by clearly stating that what we need is a freeing up of the economy and a foreign policy that doesn’t cost us trillions. “We’re going around the world blowing up bridges and our own bridges are falling down.” Go Ron go!

McCain taking his cues from the Huckster: we need to “punish some people on Wall Street” and bail out the subprime crowd. The hypocrite then turns to Ron Paul and says “The one place where I agree with Ron Paul is that we have to stop the spending.” Yeah, end the war, John—that’ll save us billions—your “hundred year” occupation of Iraq will cost us trillions.

Why didn’t you support tax cuts? McCain is defensive, and squirming. Romney jumps on him: McCain is visibly fuming.

We have to “grow” the military and shrink the domestic spending—that’s what Romney wants. A platform that has as much appeal as Mormonism outside of Utah.

The Huckster on immigration: we need a fence to keep out illegals. It’s not to be cruel. It’s because we don’t want people running when they see a police car. (“Don’t tase me, Bro!”). Romney taking after the “Z” visa arrangement, which was de facto amnesty for illegal immigrants, which is really an attack on McCain. Great little lecture, which garners applause. Score one for Mitt. This issue could sink McCain.

Now McCain is getting accused of downplaying the immigration issue, because he voted for and campaigned for the “Z”-visa proposal. Oh, it isn’t pretty! And yet it is beautiful.

Tamper-proof biometric documents? That’s McCain’s “solution” to the immigration question, which is suppose to assure us that he wants to “secure the borders.” Question: Will every American have to carry this “biometric” documents?

would you have appointed Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is the next dumb-ass question.

he Huckster pontificates on abortion, not very convincingly, after deftly evading the question.

I wouldn’t have appointed a Sandra Day O’Connor, says Ron Paul, declaring that he’d prefer someone with a stricter interpretaion of the Constitution. Then he is cut off by the twink.

Peggy Noonan is cited by the twink on how Bush “destroyed the Republican party”—doesn’t blame Bush. Hails Bush, the war, and engenders the most sustained burst of applause. Getting out is more important than “winning” to the Democrats. Yeah, Mitt, the country isn’t buying it. Let’s all the pro-war conservatives get together on this.

Mitt is asked if McCain’s “charge” that he supports a “timetable” for withdrawal from Iraq. Who me? He throws up his hands: it’s a lie! A heinous lie! I will not pull our troops out in Iraq—no safe havens for Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, “or anyone else.” Now he’s whining that the whole thing is a “dirty trick.” Lusty applause for that pathetic wimp.

McCain is snarling. He repeats the “lie,” while characterizing himself as “out there on the front lines with my friends,” and claims authorship of the “surge.” Now they’re spluttering at each other. A lot of macho posturing. McCain has used the word “I” dozens of times in the past few minutes.

McCain has said that he envisions a US occupation of Iraq that lasts “one hundred years.” No one mentions this.

The twink is allied with McCain, and is now grilling Romney why he didn’t speak out in favor of the “surge” while he was a governor. Screw you, twink. That ‘s what he ought to say, but he’s dancing to the party line. The whole display is a disgusting warmongering competition that will kill the GOP at the polls in November—hopefully.

Someone is asking Ron Paul the “hundred year” question I anticipated. Ron is hitting another home run. We can’t afford an empire—we’re in bankruptcy. It’s a sustained peroration against the idea of imperialism, which nevertheless manages to stay rooted in the specifics of the case—the lies that led us into the quagmire—and gets a big round of applause.

Only casualties matter: we can be in there 100 years, he mentions Korea: he attacks Rumsfeld, hails Petraeus, “come home with honor”—we’re “the world’s superpower and we hae to be a lot of places.”  Tepid applause.

Huckabee is asked about Bush’s famous comment that he looked into Putin’s eyes and saw a kindred soul: Huckster evades the question, and segues clumsily into a speech about how we need to have “enough troop strength.”

Romney is asked the same question: Russia is headed down the road to authoritarianism, launches into wild accusations—“unexplained murders”—Wow! Russia is using oil to “take over the world.” China is “communism and a wild capitalism”—and they are also trying to take over the world. Then there’s Al Qaeda. And then there’s us, the good guys. So we need to subdue them all—he’s trying to out McCain McCain.

What is this “radical Islamic extremism”? Is there such a thing as moderate Islamic extremism? Get off of it, guys. God, McCain is such a rancorous blaggart: “unshakeable,” “patriot,”—an ego as big as the solar system.

Now Romney is defending the idea of being a businessman, against McCain’s attack on him as someone who was motivated by “profit” rather than “duty.” He’s hitting McCain pretty hard, defending the Republican small business base against McCain super-militaristic concept of the ideal human being.

The twink is taking McCain’s side, again, asking Romney why he’s more qualified than

Paul is giving them a lecture about why the President is not a dictator, and the commander is chief is not the commander in chief of the economy. A basic lesson in basic libertarian principles—and he’s bringing in foreign policy, as always! He always brings it back to essentials, tying in the Fedeal Reserve’s inflationary policies and the way inflationary monetary policy finances wars that we shouldn’t be fighting.

I love the look on the faces of Romney and especially McCain. Another home run for Ron.

The Huckster rambles about nothing—a governor can do anything, even lead the free world. He’s babbling on about “the people at the bottom.” The Huey Long of the GOP.

A question asked of all: why would Ronald Reagan endorse you?

Romney is trying to convince us that he’s the “independent conservative” and “outsider” who will come to Washington and effect a revolution, just like Reagan. Not very convincing.

McCain goes negative, attacking Romney albeit not by name, as a flip-flopper.

Ron Paul:  I supported Reagan in 1976 , one of four congressmen to do so: he reminds the audience that Reagan campaigned for him a few years later. He then relates a very effective anecdote about Reagan, recalling that Reagan once told him that he agreed with Paul’s views on the gold standard. “No great nation that goes off the gold standard stays great,” Reagan told him. Paul then goes into a clear, concise and very effective riff on how the decline of the value of the dollar punishes us all, and must e stopped.

Paul clearly won this debate—and while operationg at the distinct disadvantaged of being systematically ignored. This will win him votes, notice, and yet more contributions, as the Huckster runs out of steam and Romney stumbles.

Postscript: Here’s a transcript of the proceedings, so you can check my spin against what really happened.


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