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Monday, November 21. 2011
This was just as good, maybe even better, than the round table debate. The video is here. There's just something about the candidates sitting at a table that both lends itself to a more relaxed atmosphere, yet makes the whole event seem more 'businesslike', rather than sterile and 'debatelike'.
Like the last two debates, no bombs or barbs were hurled, and, much like the Cain-Gingrich confab, it was usually left to the participants to decide who answered what. More specifically, the moderator might ask the question of a specific candidate to get the ball rolling, then it was left to the group if anyone wanted to pipe up after that. It was cool, calm and collected.
There's a point to be made right from the start. This was a forum about morals and values, which actually is the definition of 'political party', in the sense that pragmatic and scientific issues such as defense spending, immigration and global warming have no business, whatsoever, being aligned with one political party or the other. The parties are supposed to be about moral issues like abortion and capital punishment; things that define a human being. How carbon dioxide reacts in the atmosphere is not something that defines a human being.
This does, however, work to our benefit, because there are many people out there who might identify with the Democrats on moral issues, but not buy into the AGW hoax and think we ought to drill, baby, drill in ANWR and immediately start building a hundred nuclear power plants. So they end up being Independents simply because they have nowhere else to turn. And Independents usually study the facts and know some history and, in theory, will be able to deduce that keeping a socialist in the White House for another four years is perhaps not the best of ideas.
So this debate was a little more important than how it might appear at first glance. This is the one that goes to the core.
What made it truly interesting was that they didn't differ on how they felt about the issues, just on how they'd solve the problem. The best example would be abortion. Newt suggested merely redefining the term 'person' as written in the 14th Amendment to specifically note that 'person' begins at conception. That immediately negates Roe vs. Wade and every state law passed since.
Paul, however, wanted to actually amend the Constitution with an entire amendment spelling it out, and others had their own ideas. But, again, none of them argued against the immorality of abortion-on-demand, just how to fight it.
This first clip holds a couple of gems, including the first big applause of the event. If you saw a headline recently referring to Newt telling the OWSers to "go get a job", this was that moment, and Cain is terrific in his response.
One place where CitizenLink.com, the host, really blew it was in telling the candidates to "dress like you were going to church." Bachmann and Santorum took them for their word, with Michele dressed in a simple brown dress and Rick in a casual sports jacket sans tie. The rest of the gang looked like they were ready to shoot a Gentleman's Quarterly ad. So that was a little unfair to Bachmann and Santorum and I imagine their managers had something to say about it to the good folk at CitizenLink afterward.
This next clip also has a couple of choice nuggets. First, this is perhaps the first time a candidate has directly asked the audience a question, and it displays the flip side of Mr. Big Picture and demonstrates how he's as focused on the small stuff as he is the grand. Note how the question refers to any specific instances they'd change if they were in the White House, and after Michele has a go, watch Gingrich zero in on one single asswipe judge.
My guess is, as soon as they saw the subject was 'family values', they didn't even bother watching it.
Anarchy reigns! Again, the disrespectful, unruly crowd failed to abide by the moderator's fervent plea. In this case, "If everyone could stay seated (gesturing to audience), we will take a five-minute break." And just watch how these scofflaws respond!
The Tea Party speaks. This is what I and my fellow Tea Partiers endlessly preached in the run-up to the 2010 election, and is even more true today.
No one will listen, though. The right-wing bloggers will continue to make it a Republican vs. Democrat issue, just like they did in 2010. The problem is, I could write another heartfelt screed on why they should step above this us-vs-them paradigm and force them to read it, but it isn't often you can change mindset with mere dissertation.
Finally, in a no-doubt vain effort to dispel the heinous rumor that Dr. Mercury is completely cruel and heartless, especially after the cruel, heartless way I went after Perry after he cruelly and heartlessly attacked Social Security (I figured we were all even at that point), we'll finish up this post on a sweet note.
Mitt, who wasn't there, just lost 13% of the Grandmother Vote.
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I'm not a person who wears his faith on his sleeve. Thus, I really wasn't comfortable with some of the questions and some of the answers. I did like the format though.
By the way, around here, Sunday go to Church clothes pretty much look exactly like the panel did - some in suits in ties, some relaxes, some plain jane. Looked pretty representative to me.
Bachmann made a point about churches to be able to talk about politics again. Churches are tax exempt because they cannot campaign - church/state thing. A nice big fat bullet point for the opposition.
Newt answered every question as though the questioner was an idiot - and then went on to make himself look like an idiot. For example he stated that today's America is an outgrowth of the anti-clerical French Revolution. That isn't true - it is the other way around. French Revolution started in 1789 and ended in 1800. The American Revolution began in 1776. Both revolutions were given birth in the Age of Enlightenment as espoused by Rousseau and de Montesquieu. Further, Thomas Jefferson, main author of the Declaration of Independence, was in Paris at the time and corresponded with the French National Constituent Assembly. Newt then went on to blame the French Revolution for all our problems by corrupting academia, media, culture. I mean, come on - that's just silly on the face of it never mind the details.
That's just a couple of examples - I thought the whole thing was just pandering to the Christian Right most of the answers being vapid reiterations of "correct thought police" Christian style.
Worthless except as cannon fodder for the Democrats and their whack-a-mole attack machine.
#1 Tom Francis on 2011-11-21 17:31
Actually, you're a bit late today, as you can see by the lack of comments. Your cynical outbursts are kind of the 'stamp of approval' we all wait for before delving into the issues. It's a show of respect for your age.
Would it be okay with you if I made an amalgamation of some of your more cutting, defeatist comments and posted it in the comments right after I made future posts? That would sure save some time on both our parts, and I'd carefully edit it to show you in your finest light.
By your side all the way*,
*to the funny farm
At least Tom's was a comment. And a fairy reserved one as well, considering the field he was remarking upon.
I'll tell ya, I'd vote for damn near anyone against the present occupant. Including Joe the Plumber. Having said that, if this group were running against themselves, and I had to pick one, I'd say screw it, can we have a new group. Or, I wouldn't vote at all. Go to hell if any of them are going to have my name behind them. But then, they will have my name behind them, as I can't abide another four years of this jug eared messiah.
Just know that it won't be a pleasurable vote, a vote of confidence and well wishes. It will be a vote, as so many of mine have seemed over the years, of desperation, with no hope at all that anything significant will change. A vote of passive defense versus a vote of aggressive attack.
#3 XRay on 2011-11-21 21:34
They are all good and decent people. I did not know about Santorum’s youngest daughter. It makes Dan Savage and the Progs that repeat his joke even more depsicable.
I am reminded of a favorite quote (to which I lost the source): “It’s not the sinners the world’s afraid of. It’s the saints.”
Mr. Big Picture’s delivery has officially crossed into annoying, where he joins Bachmann. Every answer need not involve exposition. To me, he is proving his merit as a cabinet member, not as the top of the ticket. He should be on the Sunday shows lecturing other wonks, not trying to motivate Joe Sixpack.
I wish Bachmann would get another look from the masses.
Perry’s admission that organic chem was over his head, and most if his speeches here, seems to confirm that he’s a bumpkin with charisma. It’s disappointing.
Paul correctly identified his central fault. His delivery isn’t annoying, it is pitiful.
Two confabs in a row now where Cain didn’t say 9-9-9. And his life-changing moment makes the accusers look repugnant. Too bad nobody watches these things.
I would love the see Cain confront Barry in a debate: “Mr. President, under your healthcare bill I would be dead right now. My wife of 43 years would be a widow. My grandchildren would not have the chance to play with their Granddad. Tell us, sir, how that qualifies as compassion.” A hint of the waterworks at the proper moment and everyone would vote for him on his life story alone.
Nobody will like that Cain didn’t sign on as a front-line advocate against abortion. But he would make marriage a Presidential priority. I think he has those backward. Life first.
It would have been great to see the Mormons show they have character, too. Their absence reinforces the feeling that they’re “not like us”.
You have a generous definition of "independents". I call them the "squishies in the middle". For the most part, the ones I know are ill-informed, and vote for the candidate that catches them with a well-timed phrase when they're in a receptive mood. Either that or the candidate their friend recommends the evening before the election. They want to be wooed, dammit!
In addition, I live in a closed primary state. If you aren't registered with a party, you don't get to vote in the primary (if you're so inclined), making the "independents" in this state particularly stupid and/or apathetic.
#5 Pam on 2011-11-21 22:30
To everyone up above:
In other words, the Republicans are going to try to win this election despite people like you.
#18.104.22.168 Tom Francis on 2011-11-22 06:29
All may not yet be lost, Doc. The Wall Street Journal had a most interesting article written by Phil Gramm on the "sequester clause" in the Gramm-Rudman act, which I had not heretofore been aware of. It points the way to a possible solution to this train-wreck. Apparently, the sequester thing automatically kicks in 20 days after failure of the committee to reach agreement. As you well know, I'm only semi-literate on computing, but I know the article was published in the last few days. And I know you can find it if you want to. I'd love to hear your reaction, and Bird Dog's and Bruce's. The first part is up to us, the voters. But then we may yet make a semi-spectacular 'save'.
I'd love to know what the rest of you brilliant folks think of this.
#7 Marianne Matthews on 2011-11-22 12:30
And here ye go. I forwarded it to Bird Dog and he'll send it on to Bruce. What I know about economics wouldn't fill a thimble so I'll pass.
MY POV is as follows:
Gramm says the current mess will "Hellenize" the budget process.
Glad to see someone gets it.
In simple terms, the sequester is an across the board cut in spending that can be modified or delayed, but requires some specific arguments supporting a reason to do so. It also has a very short window (roughly 10 hours of debate) for voting.
He's right that it's a lousy tool. But as he points out, while it's imprecise, at least it's something. To be honest, it's preferable to whatever the SuperCommittee comes up with, because whatever they come up with will be politically motivated and most likely have taxes attached (since Democrats will only vote for stuff with additional taxes).
Once it's implemented a few times, it should prod these lamebrains into action, though it should prod them now. I doubt it.
It's clear that 2 areas (Medicaid/Medicare) have driven the deficit and debt over the years. Simpson/Bowles basically says this. So cutting entitlements is where the bulk percentage of cuts should come. This won't do that. But it will be 'fair' in the most honest sense of the word, because it will be automatic.
It will also be unconstitutional (from my POV) because it lacks accountability. Who voted for the cuts? Who is responsible? In the end, it comes down to finger pointing.
What's really intriguing about it is these are real cuts that have to happen. Not the fake "we cut $200 billion in future spending or proposed spending" that we frequently see. In other words, politicians love to cut spending that hasn't happened yet, is only proposed and doesn't cut into what is being spent now. The sequester does something else altogether, because it actually cuts spending.
Of course, there's still a window for monkeying around...so we'll see what they do.
#7.2 Bulldog on 2011-11-22 13:53
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