Saturday, January 7, 2012

GOP Debate Comments

The Free Will Wife and I are watching the live stream of the GOP debate, and I wanted to quickly comment on the incredibly lame line of questioning, directed mostly at Mitt Romney, about whether a state could ban contraception. Give me a break! The Supreme Court's Griswald decision (which was the first application of the new found "right to privacy" to a state's efforts to legislate morality) came back in 1965! Not surprisingly, Mitt was flummoxed at first for two reasons:

1. he didn't remember the Griswald decision

2. it was an absurd question because there are no states in the year 2012 that are considering a ban on contraceptives.

The fact is this was a question intended to make Republicans look like grim-visaged Cotton Mathers, and nothing more. The focus on contraception (?!) at this late date is just ridiculous. Mitt handled this about as well as you could expect, saying first that he preferred to defer to "our constitutionalist" before finally saying "I think things are working just fine" to appreciative laughter from the crowd (which vigorously booed Stephenopolous's continued harping on the condom question).

Ron Paul, by the way, turned the "right to privacy" question into a 4th Amendment diatribe about the Patriot Act. If all you have is a hammer...


Rick Santorum is standing in the middle dais next to the front runner. What a difference a week makes. He sounds great, too. Maybe not presidential, but he is absolutely ready for his close-up.

John Huntsman sounds a lot like Mitt Romney. He also got a lot of applause when he basically made the Obama argument in favor of pulling troops out of Afghanistan by 2013. National security hawks who have been b*tching about Pentagon cuts do not have the sort of automatic support from Republicans that they used to have.

Huntsman also said that he worked in the "most complex" embassy in the world (meaning China's). What's complex about it? Are there secret tunnels? Hidden passageways? A guest house?

In defending himself from the "racist newsletter" question, Ron Paul mentioned his efforts to end the war on drugs and the war of terror, which he claimed have disproportionately fallen on minorities. That is pure left-wing cant.

Still give the guy his due: he's out there, at age 80+ kicking a** and putting his ideas out as vigorously as a 20-year old.

Rick Perry is doing great, even though he's stuck off on the edge of the stage where they used to put Michele Bachmann. But, am I imagining things, or did he just say he wanted to re-invade Iraq?

You can probably get pretty drunk playing the Newt Gingrich drinking game. That's where you take a drink every time he begins a response by saying "we need to fundamentally re-think how we (implement this or that policy)."

Gingrich and Huntsman are really taking it to Romney. Gingrich is using the "too timid" argument, while Huntsman is contrasting his stewardship of Utah against Romney's in Massachusetts.

It's 7:30 PST, and Rick Santorum just gave a rousing 60-second statement on the economy and the opportunity society.

Romney and Huntsman really got into a fight over China policy. Huntsman got the best of it, making the free trade argument against Romney's trade-war mongering. But, Romney "won" with his harsh (in a nice way) reminder that Huntsman just spent 2 years implementing Obama Administration policy in Beijing.

For the "personal moment" phase of the questioning, the query was what would you be doing tonight if you weren't running for president? 

Perry said he would be at a shooting range. 

Newt said he would be watching the "college basketball championship," 

Santorum and Romney said they would be watching the college football championship

Ron Paul said be would be spending time with his family, but if they went to sleep, he would read an economics textbook.

Huntsman said he would be on the phone with his sons in the Navy, who give him faith in the coming generation (cue grateful applause). 

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