Sunday, January 06, 2008

Republican debate: Not subject to a bunker mentality

First of three presidential debates this weekend. Kill me. Transcript.

In the foreign policy segment, the candidates all praised George Bush and his glorious little war, and ganged up on Ron Paul for failing to understand America’s true role in the world: innocent victim.

Giuliani: the Islamic threat has “nothing to do with our foreign policy,” but comes from their “perverted thinking.” Later, looking for examples of terrorism against non-Americans, he cited as an act of Islamic terrorism the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Romney: “The president is not arrogant. The president is not subject to a bunker mentality.” Huckabee, who asked if Romney had actually read all of his article before attacking it (Romney said he had, knowing no one would believe he read it any more than they believe Huckabee wrote it), took the opportunity to backtrack, saying that what he meant by “arrogant” was Rumsfeld’s insistence that Iraq could be occupied with a small military force.

Romney said the US and its allies (the US still has allies?) should “move the world of Islam to modernity and moderation”. This is a guy who spent two years unsuccessfully trying to convert the French to Mormonism.

(They’ve all been reading up on radical Islam. Romney, who told Paul he didn’t understand what radical jihad is, talked about someone named Sayyid Cuetip. Huckabee, of all people, did a better job of pronouncing Sayyid Qutb’s admittedly challenging name.)

Fred Thompson propounded this exciting concept about when the US should involve itself in the affairs of others nations: “We should only go in where we should and where we’re able to.”

At which point Jeri Thompson sighed.

McCain: “I didn’t say we needed a secret plan for withdrawal [from Iraq].” Secret plan? Who has a secret plan? I think he’s remembering Nixon’s secret plan for getting out of Vietnam.

I still don’t know what Huckabee means by “vertical leadership.”

Romney got increasingly testy at the jibes against him, as when McCain called him the candidate of change. Romney is quite thin-skinned.

In the segment on immigration, which as always mostly involved a learned lexicological discussion of the meaning of the word amnesty, McCain went out of his way to invoke the sacred name of Joe Lieberman, who says that anyone who says McCain supports amnesty is a liar.

Thompson, asked about oil company profits, says he “takes note” when they profit, and he takes note when they lose money. When has an oil company ever lost money? Well, an oil company not run by George W. Bush, obviously. Thompson says high oil prices are from supply and demand, and China going all over the world making deals with dictators. Thank God we only get our oil from democracies.

What’s up with that weird thing with Giuliani’s eyes?

Eisenhower started the program to put a man on the moon? Whatever, Rudy.

Huckabee wants a $1 billion prize for the first person who comes up with a car that can get 100 miles per gallon. Oh Huck, you’ll have to do a lot better than that: Exxon-Mobil’s bounty is $10 billion for the head – just the head – of the first person who comes up with a car that can get 100 miles per gallon.

The Huck says dictators in the Middle East and Venezuela are “enslaving” the American people.

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