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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Watching the Republicans

posted by on June 5 at 16:05 PM

The debate’s on, with the introductions just finished at New Hampshire’s St. Anselm’s College.

4:02 p.m. Giuliani had a rather amazing self-introduction: “I’m Rudy Giuliani, and I agree with the motto of your state, ‘Live free or die,’ and I think it would be a pretty good motto for our times.” (For an interesting Rolling Stone look at Giuliani’s love of hitting the fear button, click here.)

4:05 p.m. Mitt Romney dodges the question of whether invading Iraq was a mistake knowing what we know now. Giuliani says it was absolutely the right decision, because you can’t separate Iraq from the “War on Terror.” McCain doesn’t get the same question; instead he gets asked what we should do if the “surge” doesn’t work. He doesn’t have a clear answer. Instead he attacks Hillary Clinton for saying the Iraq war is Bush’s war.

4:20 p.m. Debating the new immigration bill… Every Republican candidate dislikes it, except McCain, who backed the bill in the Senate: “If someone else has a better idea, I’d like to have them give it to us.” Just about everyone on stage raises his hand to signal he has a better idea. McCain quickly adds: “That will get enough support…”

4:27 p.m. McCain is the only one on stage who doesn’t think English should be the official language of the United States.

4:30 p.m. God mad at the Republicans? The audio keeps being interrupted by loud buzzes. Wolf Blitzer has told the audience that these buzzes are due to a lightning storm outside.

4:32 p.m. Giuliani is trying to explain his view on abortion. The lightning cuts off his audio briefly. Giuliani points to the heavens as a joke. (Hey, that’s my joke! See 4:30 p.m.) The candidates on either side of him, Romney and McCain, back away slowly. Everyone laughs. Rudy says he’s scared, apparently of God’s wrath, but continues his abortion answer, which gets interrupted a couple more times by lightning/the wrath of God.

4:40 p.m. No one will dis creationism, Romney isn’t ashamed of his Mormonism, etc.

4:45 p.m. Ron Paul says, in almost as many words, that the Iraq war is about oil. Lightning doesn’t strike.

4:49 p.m. Giuliani, Romney, and McCain all think “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is just fine, and shouldn’t be tinkered with, especially in the middle of a war. “It is working, my friends,” McCain says. “The policy is working.”

4:52 p.m. Wolf Blitzer, who asked the Democrats on Sunday how they would use former-president Bill Clinton if elected, asks the Republicans how they would use future-former-president George W. Bush. Tommy Thompson says he’d send him out to lecture the country on “honesty and integrity.” Tom Tancredo says he’d tell President Bush to get lost—and gets applause from the audience, many of them likely Republican voters.

4:59 p.m. Would any of them pardon Lewis Libby? McCain doesn’t answer, Giuliani suggests it’s likely he would (and uses the opportunity to filibuster about his experience as a prosecutor), and Romney suggests it’s likely he would, too.

5:09 p.m. We’re in the audience Q&A session now, and McCain gets up out of his chair to try to explain to a woman why the loss of her brother’s life in Iraq was worth it. “This is long, and hard, and tough, and I believe we will succeed,” he says.

5:12 p.m. Ron Paul: “You can’t enforce our goodness, like the neocons preach, with armed force… It doesn’t work and we have to admit it.”

5:19 p.m. As Wonkette notes, a blond woman asking a question says that Iraq used to be run by a “terrorist leader.”

Good work, Cheney!

5:24 p.m. An audience member who is a philosophy teacher asks: What is the most pressing moral issue facing the country today? Huckabee: Abortion. Giuliani: Having the “moral strength” to tell the rest of the world about the goodness of our ideals. Paul: The acceptance of preemptive war. “I do not believe that’s part of the American tradition… We have rejected the ‘just war’ theory of Christianity.” Brownback: Abortion, and adds a not-so-subtle dig at Giuliani: “That’s why I don’t think we can nominate someone who’s not pro-life in our party,” he says. Blitzer asks: Could he support Giuliani? “I don’t think we’re going to nominate someone who’s not pro-life.”

5:34 p.m. The candidates fight over whether it’s right to run a campaign ad in the dreaded Spanish.

5:44 p.m. Tancerdo goes on a nativist rant that ends in him decrying having to “Press one for English, and press two for all other languages.” Giuliani does a good job of slapping him down by quoting Lincoln. McCain describes what Tancredo said as “Beyond my realm of thinking.”

That’s all, folks.

RSS icon Comments


Good motto, Rudy. Why don't you go first.

Posted by monkey | June 5, 2007 4:12 PM

That's cool, so now we just kill all the prisoners in the country? Does that count Guantanamo?

Posted by Levislade | June 5, 2007 4:19 PM

It doesn't seem that long ago when Hillary and McCain were all buddy buddy. When neither of them is president in 2009 they'll probably go back to being friends. It's damn near the same thing as feuds in professional wrestling.

Posted by elswinger | June 5, 2007 4:28 PM

That McCain, what a maverick!

Posted by Levislade | June 5, 2007 4:39 PM

Wouldn't it be funny if lighting struck and killed all the candidates, except for Ron Paul?

Posted by elswinger | June 5, 2007 4:46 PM

That would make for the best-ever beginning to an episode of Six Feet Under.

Posted by Levislade | June 5, 2007 4:52 PM

At least McCain isn't pandering to the "I hate brown people" crowd. I'm fucking sick of the English as official language bullshit. When the Continental Congress was deciding on a language of government, German lost by one vote. A bright eyed idealist floated the idea that we really were the New Jerusalem and proposed Hebrew as the language of government.

And then we fucking invaded a bunch of other countries, stole their land, and gave them citizenship. That citizenship wasn't contingent on their learning English, and for a few hundred years, there were fewer English speakers in the Southwest than Spanish speakers.

Yes, English is the common and unifying language of the US, as an accident of fucking history, and not because of the superiority of the language or the people who grow up speaking it. Fucking forget about it already, and go out and shake the hand of someone who's bilingual in English and something else, cause when it comes to Americans, the thing I'm most ashamed of isn't that not everybody speaks English, but that almost everybody who grows up speaking it never learns to speak anything else.

Posted by Gitai | June 5, 2007 4:57 PM

Yes, fucking English is fucking great, but as fucking long as fucking people learn how to toss "fuck" and its derivatives in sentences as many fucking times as fucking possible, we'll all be fucking okay.

I think you might have other things to be most ashamed of, Gital.

Posted by boomer in NYC | June 5, 2007 5:13 PM

That's all I need, Bush lecturing me on honesty and integrity.

Sheesh. Thomson's got manure for his brains.

Posted by Matthew | June 5, 2007 5:21 PM

Why do these Reds hate our American values of Truth, Justice, and not living in Fear so much?

And why do they persist in the delusion that they even have a chance, when 2/3rds of America wants out of Iraq YESTERDAY?

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 5, 2007 5:31 PM

I dig the Guardian's blog on this, part political snark, part sports analogies:,,2096379,00.html

Posted by wf | June 5, 2007 5:36 PM

“This is long, and hard, and tough, and I believe we will succeed."

Can I get a "that's what she said"?

Posted by Levislade | June 5, 2007 5:44 PM

i thought thompson was making a joke, no?

and as far as english, i think it is good for a nation to have a national language for practical reasons. english would seem to make the most sense. but i would only proceed under two conditions:

1. that it was phased in over years (like 20 or so); and
2. that americans were required to speak two languages fluently (and i don't mean two years of high school spanish "fluent").

i think this is both fair, practical, and beneficial to americans. and that it would never be implemented in such a manner.

Posted by infrequent | June 5, 2007 5:55 PM

both fair, practical and beneficial? maybe i should learn to write a language fluently!

Posted by infrequent | June 5, 2007 5:59 PM

When will the old, white men of this country just buckle down and be honest?

"Hi, I am a white old rich man. I want this country back to how it was! I want white rich men to be the only people who can own land and vote. I want to be able to beat/kill any woman or minority that pisses me off. I want to be able to sleep with whores and/or children all I want with no consequence. Yes, I like how the founders had this country!"

Seriously. Thats what they want, and they use all this "values and virtues" and/or "what the 'framers' wanted..." which is BS.

I realize I am preaching to the choir, but where is Proud Gay Republican on this????

Posted by Monique | June 5, 2007 6:36 PM

@8 I used to swear in moderation, but then I got jobs where I had to deal with the public and watch my mouth. Now, whenever I'm around people I can swear around, I do so constantly.

Posted by Gitai | June 5, 2007 8:40 PM

Eli's post notes that "Giuliani, Romney, and McCain all think “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is just fine" but neglects the rest of the story--every single candidate on stage, even the new darling maverick Ron Paul, supported keeping DADT when asked one of Blitzer's infantile "raise your hand" questions about it.

Posted by Andy Niable | June 6, 2007 1:09 AM

@8 Fuck you

Posted by fuck you you fucking fuck | June 6, 2007 11:28 AM

Monique @ 15 - Word. That's what I keep telling people; a lot of this reactionary bullshit by the powers-that-be is just wanting things back the way it used to be, when money stayed in the hands of those whose families had always had it, when uppity women, brown folks, and the working class knew their goddam place, and privileged men could abuse and mistreat others with impunity.

'tain't just white males, though - it's upper-class white males. They mistreated poor white men as much as they did women or brown folks.

Am I the only one who finds it somewhat ironic that the most nativist candidate is only like third-generation American, with a strongly "ethnic" name and grandparents who still speak the mother tongue? I'll bet you anything he celebrates Columbus Day, too - but heaven forfend a Mexican-American celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

Why is it okay for some of us to be fairly recent immigrants with non-English speaking grandparents (my own grandparents emigrated from Galway) with our own celebrations and ethnic "heritage," but it's some sort of betrayal for Mexican-Americans to do the same? Why doesn't Tancredo just come right out and admit that he thinks European immigrants - even the ones who don't speak English - are just peachy, but we don't want no more damn brownfolks!

Posted by Geni | June 6, 2007 3:08 PM

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