Fredblogging

Byline: | Category: 2008 Presidential Election | Posted at: Wednesday, 28 November 2007

I find Fred Thompson the most interesting candidate in this race. And so this is going to focus on him during tonight’s debate.

Fred’s answer to the question, “What three agencies will you eliminate?” was lame. He had the right answer, but it was lame. What I mean by that is that we could eliminate most cabinets and departments and we would still have a deficit. Eliminate Education, Energy, and the IRS and you still spend too much. So instead of scoring cheap points attacking unpopular agencies, we have to reduce entitlements like Social Security and Medicare/caid. At least that’s what he should have said.

Fred’s 30-second spot was great. He attacked the right two people: Romney and Huckabee. Eliminate them and it’s him and Rudy one-on-one. He wins that fight. The best part was that Fred’s attack didn’t require him to say a word.

“What guns do you have?” Short of waxing in detail about your Barrett .50 cal, Fred’s answer was pretty good: “Yes I have guns at home, but I’m not going to tell you what they are or where I have them.”

“Do you believe every word in the Bible?” Rudy handled it well. Romney fumbled all over himself. At one point he looked up at the camera, and I could almost see the recognition in his eyes that he just remembered his talking point for that question. Huckabee, being a Baptist minister, was in the most dangerous position for this question, and he handled it very well. Using the “pluck out your eye” quote to demonstrate that some Biblical stories were obviously allegorical was a great way to show that he’s reasonable to those who otherwise might be concerned.

Ron Paul is a loon. For a long time I’ve said that instead it’s his supporters who are nuts, while to him, I’ve given the benefit of the doubt. No longer. He is a nut and that’s why he attracts them. Have you noticed that when he’s talking the other candidates look straight ahead? They won’t make eye contact with him just like I don’t make eye contact with the bums who come darting out into traffic at the ends of the interstate off-ramps in downtown Nashville. He’s crazy. Ron Paul should not be on the Republican stage. He shouldn’t be on the Democratic stage. He belongs on his own stage: a sideshow stage. Here’s my idea for a great debate that would actually bring high ratings: Have Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich debate each other and then, American Idol style, let America decide which one heads up the ticket and the other one runs as his veep in a third party.

The gays in the military question evoked some lame responses from both Hunter and Romney, but equally lame was CNN’s using BG Kerr in the audience to specially drive home that point. It’s like the network is on some kind of crusade instead of being objective . . . naah, that couldn’t be the case.

“What would you do about Social Security?” Fred just answered that question exacty the way he should have on the earlier question by saying that all these programs that we talk about cutting are a “thimbleful in the ocean compared to the entitlement tsunami that’s going to hit us.”

“Would you pledge to send an American to Mars by 2020?” Huckabee just got the laugh of the night by suggesting that he’d like to send Hillary now. Tancredo just got the small government fiscal conservative cheer of the night by saying that we were just up here talking about reducing spending and “this is why.” He added that “We can’t be all things to all people” and that we sending people to Mars is one of those things that we just can’t afford to do. Great answer.

“What does the Confederate flag represent?” I won’t win any kudos from my Tennessee friends by saying this, but Romney outshone Fred on this question. Big time. We don’t accept the flying of a swastika flag or the rising sun of Imperial Japan, so why do we continue to treat with kid gloves the flag of that other great evil that America defeated in war?

To Ron Paul: “Will you run as an independent?” Cooper let him off the hook by answering for him, “I’ll take that as a no.” Instead Paul’s answer was very Clintonian, “I have no intention of doing that.”

Well, that’s it. If I had to rate it at the end of Round 1*, and let me caveat that I got a late start, and I had to dart back and forth between two rooms–the one with the tv and the one with the computer–so I did miss a lot, I’d rate it this way:

Winners: Huckabee, McCain, Thompson, and Giuliani, in that order.

Losers: Romney, those other guys, and especially CNN.

What did you think?

*In any debate, the debate itself is actually the less important round. The important round is the second one: the post-debate spin.

Insty has a roundup of others who liveblogged.

UPDATE: Let the (much-deserved) CNN-is-in-Hillary’s-camp bashing begin. I knew that BG Kerr question, and the inordinate special emphasis given to it and the questioner smelled fishy. According to National Review it was a setup.

Dan Riehl’s initial vote: Romney and Huckabee up, Rudy down. Paul still crazy.

MORE:

It wasn’t just the gay question that was a plant. Michelle Malkin has made all sorts of horticultural discoveries.

I’m not the biggest media bias basher out there by any stretch, but this is crystal clear evidence that CNN has hired the New Republic to do its fact checking. Do check out the link to see just how many of the questions were obvious and easily discovered plants.

Stephen Spruiell nails it: ” . . . the CNN-YouTube debate format tends to yield two types of questioners: plants and nuts”

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22 Responses to “Fredblogging”

  1. BobKrumm.com » In your guts you know he’s nuts Says:

    [...] own haphazard attempt at liveblogging Stephen Green: What a stupid [...]

  2. Sean Braisted Says:

    Ron Paul may ultimately be a loon, but he does bring up valid points. For instance, Republicans have been apt to say that the “terrorists” hate us for our freedom, but is there not a grain of truth in Ron Paul’s comments that they are attacking us because we are in their Land?

    The notion that they hate the bill of rights so much that they are coming halfway across the world to hurt is, is somewhat childish and illogical.

    That isn’t to say that I support his policies of “non-interventionism,” but at the same time, I think its reasonable to be honest about why the people in the Muslim world hate the American Government.

    Btw, perhaps you can answer this, how can we get rid of the Internal Revenue Service? Even if we have a drastically “simplified” tax code, wouldn’t we still need a department to collect and track those taxes?

  3. bob Says:

    Sean,
    To an extent you’re right about the first point. Yes they hate us because we’re there. But what’s the definition of “there”. To them it includes Israel, it includes having port privileges in the region (remember Yemen?), it means having American oil companies involved. Their there is different from my there and your there. To satisfy the terrorists we’d have to do what Paul wants–be isolationists–and also have no economic ties to the region. Not possible.

    On the second point you are entirely correct. Huckabee got the big applause line by saying he’d do away with the IRS, but that’s like arguing that too many people die in hospitals so lets get rid of them. No matter what tax system there is, we would still need a collection and enforcement agency.

  4. Sean Braisted Says:

    To satisfy the terrorists we’d have to do what Paul wants–be isolationists–and also have no economic ties to the region.

    Well, first off, I’m not sure that Ron Paul has called for eliminating economic ties with the Middle East. He is in favor of free trade, he just doesn’t like free trade agreements or international organizations, again, I don’t agree with him on this, but I see where he is coming from.

    Second, yeah, I’m sure there would still be some people who were pissed off over Israel or American oil companies, but the question is, would that hatred be palpable enough, or widespread enough, to constituent the necessity for a war on terror?

    Now, if by economic ties, you mean propping up dictatorial regimes that allow American oil companies free reign, similar to what we did with many Latin American countries in the past, than perhaps you are right. But if we were to allow, through somewhat democratic processes, the Middle Eastern people to do with their natural resources as they see fit (see: Mosaddeq) than I think the hatred towards America would be vastly reduced.

    I think the problems with Iran are directly related to blowback from our involvement in installing the Shah to power over the popular, though socialist, Mossaddeq. Just as the Vietnam war was a direct result of our helping to install Diem and obstructionism towards a reunification vote in the 50s.

    Maybe this is unpatriotic, but I look at most of the problems in the Middle East and see a direct connection to previous “well intentioned” efforts by our Government in the past. Of course, military disengagement in the region could ultimately have its own negative consequences in the future, but I firmly believe that American actions today could very well lead to negative consequences 10, 20, or 30 years down the road…which is basically Ron Paul’s argument.

  5. LeftWingCracker Says:

    Bob, I want to applaud you for this statement:

    “We don’t accept the flying of a swastika flag or the rising sun of Imperial Japan, so why do we continue to treat with kid gloves the flag of that other great evil that America defeated in war?”

    I agree wholeheartedly, it is a flag of treason and I don’t understand why we’re supposed to respect it. My grandfather’s great-uncle crawled through a latrine to escape Andersonville, so I’m not a fan of anything that flag stood for.

  6. bob Says:

    I understand people wanting to honor the heritage of ancestors who fought nobly. Or even of units that fought valiantly. My in-laws have an original picture of Forrest as he led his troopers out of Camp Donovan in a snowstorm. I think it’s a great painting of an important moment in history. But honoring the enemy’s flag? That’s honoring what they stood for. (Yes, I said “enemy”; that’s what they were.)

  7. Todd Says:

    I’ve got no dog in the Confederate Flag hunt, but calling it treason shows a lack of knowledge of the issues of state sovereignty, among others. The Confederacy had no desire to overthrow the Federal Government and control the entire country. They wanted to withdraw from the Constitutional compact and form their own separate government.

    I suggest you all read Lysander Spooner’s No Treason, written by an abolitionist who opposed Lincoln’s war.

  8. livermoron Says:

    A few points:
    The ‘Rising Sun” flag is not outlawed and is indeed the national flag of Japan. You may be thinking of the rising sun with rays, but that is not outlawed either…it is the maritime version of the Japanese flag.

    Sean states: “Second, yeah, I’m sure there would still be some people who were pissed off over Israel or American oil companies, but the question is, would that hatred be palpable enough, or widespread enough, to constituent the necessity for a war on terror?”
    Uh, Sean, we didn’t start it, they did. That is ipso facto prima facia evidence of their ‘palpable hatred’
    And your statement:”Of course, military disengagement in the region could ultimately have its own negative consequences in the future, but I firmly believe that American actions today could very well lead to negative consequences 10, 20, or 30 years down the road…which is basically Ron Paul’s argument.” Is true on its face, just as saying that the opposite could be true. That is at the root a very isolationist statement. Don’t walk out the door, as that could lead to negative consequences 10, 20, 30 years down the road.

  9. John S. Says:

    I don’t see why we’re so concerned about the Confederate flag. I live in Tennessee and I only ever see it on the bumpers of pickups driven by backwoods yahoos. Should we also outlaw those little stickers of Calvin peeing on the Chevy logo?

  10. Mike O Says:

    Unfortunately, that ‘enemy’ was us (not personally; my ancestors were in Utah and England at the time). It is a bit different than foreign flags.

    I don’t like the flag myself- especially since the ‘Stars and Bars’ is the BATTLE flag of armed rebellion against this country. I don’t think for a minute it should be part of ANY state’s flag.

    There are those who argue that- to them- it stands for state’s rights under the 10th amendment, not slavery. And the brillient and brave fight of ancestors who picked the wrong side. Anyone care to suggest all of America was on the right side in the Spanish-American war (though it worked out)?

    Yet, the winner always defines what the fight was over and there is no question that slavery was an abonimation well worth shedding blood over.

  11. Pantera Says:

    Yah, you aren’t going to win many friends among Southerners for comparing the Confederate flag to a Swastika. For one thing, it shows a huge ignorance in what the Confederacy was fighting for, a condition that is quite common among most people today. They weren’t fighting to kill all the blacks or to spite the North. They fought for the freedom to not have to obey the Feds on everything. They wan’t to settle some of these issues in their own manner, without interference from the North
    Given that the average Confederate didn’t own any slaves and was what people today would call “white trash”, I don’t see why on Earth they would fight to keep blacks in slavery or to be evil.

  12. JorgXMcKie Says:

    I’ll consider trying to suppress flying the Confederate flag just after we get done suppressing the flying of those Hamas, Fatah, and Palestinian flags.

    Otherwise, I’m with Sean and Ron Paul. We should bring everybody home, build a big wall around the country and a big dome over it and not let anyone in or out. That would fix every problem in the world.

  13. Tom Says:

    Sean Braisted said: “but is there not a grain of truth in Ron Paul’s comments that they are attacking us because we are in their Land?”

    This question shows a COMPLETE ignorance of history…

    Does that line of thinking apply to the embassy bombings? The Riyadh barracks bombings? To the USS Cole? To the FIRST World Trade Center attack? PanAm Flight 103? The Achille Lauro? To the Marine Barracks Bombings in Beirut? How far back shall we go? How about the Barbary Pirates? They, known for attacking American ships and enslaving those of the crew they did not kill, in the name of Allah of course, were they attacking us for “being in their land?”

    Or maybe it is because that’s what they do, and the sooner we recognize and deal with it, the better off we will be.

  14. Sean Braisted Says:

    I’m not arguing that at all Jorg, I just think that Ron Paul has a point when he says our best intentions have gotten us into trouble.

    They fought for the freedom to not have to obey the Feds on everything.

    Really, because it seemed that the Southern states started leaving the union before Abe Lincoln even took office. The fact is, they got hoodwinked by yellow journalists into believe Lincoln was going to destroy their way of life, when he had no intentions to do so…then they launched an attack against a US Military instillation, and thus started the Civil War.

  15. Todd Says:

    The question of treason is distinct from that of slavery; and is the same that it would have been, if free States, instead of slave States, had seceded.

    On the part of the North, the war was carried on, not to liberate slaves, but by a government that had always perverted and violated the Constitution, to keep the slaves in bondage; and was still willing to do so, if the slaveholders could be thereby induced to stay in the Union.

    The principle, on which the war was waged by the North, was simply this: That men may rightfully be compelled to submit to, and support, a government that they do not want; and that resistance, on their part, makes them traitors and criminals.

    No principle, that is possible to be named, can be more self-evidently false than this; or more self-evidently fatal to all political freedom. Yet it triumphed in the field, and is now assumed to be established. If it really be established, the number of slaves, instead of having been diminished by the war, has been greatly increased; for a man, thus subjected to a government that he does not want, is a slave. And there is no difference, in principle — but only in degree — between political and chattel slavery. The former, no less than the latter, denies a man’s ownership of himself and the products of his labor; and [*iv] asserts that other men may own him, and dispose of him and his property, for their uses, and at their pleasure.

    Previous to the war, there were some grounds for saying that — in theory, at least, if not in practice — our government was a free one; that it rested on consent. But nothing of that kind can be said now, if the principle on which the war was carried on by the North, is irrevocably established.

    If that principle be not the principle of the Constitution, the fact should be known. If it be the principle of the Constitution, the Constitution itself should be at once overthrown.

    - Introduction to No Treason, written in 1867 by an abolitionist who believed slavery to be unconstitutional.

  16. Mwalimu Daudi Says:

    I put the Confederate flag debate in the same category as the “Condom Wars” that erupt periodically in the public school systems. Both are started by politicians, journalists and bureaucrats wanting to divert attention from failed “affirmative action” policies and lousy public schools while gaining media sympathy for being “persecuted” by the “radical right”. It’s an old shtick, but works too often to abandon.

  17. Michael Zak Says:

    All Confederates were Democrats. Even today, Republicans would benefit tremendosuly from appreciating the TRUE heritage of the Grand Old Party. For more information, see http://www.republicanbasicscom and read “Back to Basics for the Republican Party” and the Grand Old Partisan blog — http://grandoldpartisan.typepad.com

  18. livermoron Says:

    It is spin to maintain that the Southern states were fighting for State’s Rights. They did indeed give lip service to the State’s Rights principle in the abstract, but pointed to the right to keep their ‘peculiar institution’ in the specific.
    The quote from the author of “No Teason’ is intellectually vapid and dishonest… equating the need to submit yourself to the rules of the ‘government’ as being tantamount to the practice of slavery. It is impossible to have a ‘government’ if the individual will not subject himself to its rule. Otherwise it would be a ‘suggestament’. Or, more accurately, anarchy.
    Thanks for posting it as it saved me the time of finding the book at the library.

  19. Sean Braisted Says:

    Does that line of thinking apply to the embassy bombings? The Riyadh barracks bombings? To the USS Cole? To the FIRST World Trade Center attack? PanAm Flight 103? The Achille Lauro? To the Marine Barracks Bombings in Beirut?

    As for the attacks instituted by Al Qaeda that you listed, according to Bin Laden, the reason he launched his little war against America, his former ally, is because of our continued presence in Muslim lands, most notably Saudi Arabia…and so yes, those are somewhat related to our Military presences in the Middle East.

    Beirut was an attack against a military target in the Lebanon. Pan Am was an attack by a foreign government (the only one listed), and was taken care of via civil penalties.

    Ultimately, yes, you can find ties to US actions that preceded the terrorist strikes you listed. Does that excuse them? Certainly not, but there are reasons behind them other than one day a group of people woke up, found out that the United States has certain freedoms and said, “Damn, I hate freedom, wanna kill some Americans today?”

    The only attack you listed that happened on American soil was the World Trade Center bombing, and indeed, many of those people used the CIA training given to the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan to aide them in their attack. Sheik Abdel Rahman, the person who instigated it, had spent the prior years traveling the world (including America) recruiting fighters for the American backed operation in Afghanistan. Blowback.

  20. narciso Says:

    Ron Paul, argues, on occasion that it was our
    basing of troops on Saudi soil, along with our
    defense of Israel; that explains 9/11. He may
    be more right on the second point, but not in
    the way that one commonly understands.

    Well you see there’s a problem because there has been American air force personnel in Saudi
    Arabia since the Dhahran agreement allowed them
    there. I know Bin laden’s argument is with the
    troops who arrived there in 1990; in no small measure due to the expanded basing rights that Richard Clarke negotiated after Saddam wanted to ‘repo’ his creditors as he did with Kuwait. Maybe a little payback for what the Ilkwan did in 1803-1805 in Najaf and Karbala, or their subsequent raids in the late 20s. Bin Laden wanted to take his rag tag band of warriors and
    wage guerilla war on the Baathist forces, in retrospect we should have let him; we would have been rid of most of his Wahhabi Ilkwan compatriots. Interesting the fatwa that permitted the US deployment was by the eminent
    member of the Ulema; Sheik Bin Baz,and he never
    retracted it: so much for religious authority.
    The other supposed rationale was corruption of
    the Sauds; cry me a river, why don’t you. The
    Bin Ladens as well as the Al Amoudis, the Olayans (the original owners of the bloc of Citibank stock)all profited from the rich vein
    of ‘crushed dinosaur’, that nature willed them.
    If Ibn Saud’s granting of the ARAMCO concession is a mistake, then that renders all social arrangement in the KSA moot. And if the Saud line which intermarried with the WAhhabi clan
    for three centuries can be corrupted; than no one is immune. An insight that hasn’t permeated
    the likes of the multitudes of Ghamdi,Quahtani, Uteibi and Mutairi who have become shaheeds in the Dar al Harb (House of WAr)theatres of Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iraq, et al. This is distressing because their ultimate goal is to bring down the Western way of life, to render
    their temptation moot.OPEC the ironic product of the export of the Texas Railway Commission to Venezuela and points east under Yamani made the securing of their wealth possible.

    At least since the 1940s, the KSA has been at the forefront of the war against Israel. They
    didn’t directly intervene in the ’48 war, but
    they led the run on the pound during Suez, and they were the chief provisioner of the PLO for
    at least the 1st generation, Later Hamas, and
    the PIJ. It’s not about the ‘occupied territories’ however, unless that include Haifa
    and Tel Aviv. Unless you consider Yathrib anf Khaybar to have been ‘occupied as well. They were the villages which became Medina and surrounding areas; that were ethnically cleansed
    around 610 because they were Jewish settlements.

  21. Donna Locke Says:

    The U.S. Civil War began over one set of injustices but ended with a whole new set of injustices perpetrated on the South. A war was fought here, innocent people were kidnapped and burned out, intellectual and sentimental treasures were lost in Alexandria-style destruction, and military rule was instituted by takeover. Please review Reconstruction. Something lies unresolved in the Southern psyche, and the attachment to the Confederate flags reflects this lack of resolution.

  22. William Says:

    What Sherman did to the south is not even a pin prick compared to the bloodletting and destruction Bush let lose on Iraq when his incompetent strategy lost control of the country.

    BTW I like the Weekly Standard’s review of the debate:

    “My cheers went to a listless Fred Thompson who easily qualified himself to be president in my book by looking all night like he would cheerfully trade his left arm for an early exit off the stage to a waiting Scotch and good Cuban cigar. The media will probably award a win to Mike Huckabee, the easy listening music candidate at home in any crowd, fluent in simpleton speak and the one man on the stage tonight who led the audience to roaring cheers by boasting that he had a special qualification to be president that none of the second-raters on the stage could match: A degree in Bible Studies from Ouachita Baptist University of Arkadelphia, Arkansas.”