Monday, January 07, 2008

Republican debate: If you tell a half-truth as if it is the full truth, then it can become an untruth

Hillary’s new theme is the contrast between talkers (Obama) and doers. This seems a little dangerous, since Bill Clinton was very much a talker and very much (ahem) a doer. Sometimes both at once, if I remember the Starr Report correctly.

Another day, another presidential debate (at least it was just one today), this time without Ron Paul, kept out by Fox. Missed the little guy. He and Dennis Kucinich, who was excluded from the ABC debate yesterday, should have held their own debate.

Romney explained that one of “the great lessons of Ronald Reagan” is that cutting taxes grows the economy.

Romney seriously got in Huckabee’s face, demanding to know if Arkansas’s taxes went up while he was governor. Huckabee dodged (rather ineptly) four times before admitting that they indeed went up, blaming a court order forcing the state to improve education. “You know, education is a good thing for kids,” he informed Romney. Also roads. “People want roads,” he informed Romney. Especially roads leading the hell out of Arkansas. Later, when Romney tried to question him again, the Huckster refused to talk to him any more, and looking rigidly straight ahead, said, “I believe I’ll let Chris [Wallace] be the moderator here.”

Romney finds it “kind of offensive” that D’s are attacking corporations which are creating jobs (in yesterday’s debate, he demanded of McCain, “Don’t turn the pharmaceutical companies into the big bad guys”).

Giuliani said that R’s are better than D’s at getting people out of poverty, and that they just need to tell poor people that, and to do so in as condescending a way as possible. For example, as mayor, “I would go into the neighborhoods where I was being castigated for work fair and I would say to them, ‘I’m doing workfare because I love you more. I care about you more.’” He says that the proof of his effectiveness in getting people out of poverty was that when he left office, a lot fewer people were receiving welfare. Quod erat demonstrandum.

McCain on Bin Laden: “I know how to get him, and I will get him.” Asked later to elaborate on how he’d “get him,” Mickey C said he’d do it by expanding intelligence capabilities and by making it the top priority. That’s so crazy it just might work!

Huckabee wants the border fence built “with American labor and American materials.”

Huckabee commits heresy: “Even Ronald Reagan can make mistakes” (on giving amnesty to illegal aliens).

There was a lot of talk about the relative merits of a senator or a governor becoming president, especially in foreign policy. Giuliani, who was neither, cited his experience in, oh, what was that event again? And that “a Saudi prince handed me a $10 million check and wanted me to use it as a criticism of American foreign policy, I handed that check back to him and told him what to do with it”. See? a born diplomat. Also, he threw Castro and Arafat out of the UN’s 50th anniversary celebration, so don’t say he has no foreign policy experience.

McCain said he never heard Romney criticizing Rumsfeld. That’s because I was a governor, replied Romney, adding that he thought there were intelligence failures in Iraq. For example, not realizing that Iraqis didn’t want to be invaded. “There were some who said there would be dancing in the streets when we came into Baghdad, and there was, but for a short period of time.” He added that “We were understaffed by a dramatic amount.” “Understaffed”? I believe the military have their own term, Mr. CEO. The Trader Joe’s I went to a couple of days ago, that was understaffed.

The Huck repeated that Guantanamo is “too darn good,” so he wants to shut it down, and it’s not because of what the world thinks, “I don’t care what the rest of the world thinks.”

The Huckster’s “vertical leadership” thing is really beginning to irritate me. “[P]eople are looking for a positive
president who leads not so much horizontally — left, right, liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican — but vertically, up, not down.” What? WHAT??

Huckabee on Romney’s attack ads: “if you tell a half-truth as if it is the full truth, then it can become an untruth.”

Ain’t it the, uh, truth.

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