There are some like Senator Marco (Sort-of-a-son-of-refugees) Rubio who say that this debate season has not been a good idea for the Republican nomination and maybe the party as a whole. What about the idea that the Republicans have not been good for debates? I mean, good grief!
Wolf Blitzer, take it away!
Oh, this is from Constitution Hall of the Daughters of the American Revolution just across 18th Street from Main Interior. (Two blocks from the White House). Dramatic CNN footage of war and peace (mostly war). CNN introduces the candidates as they walk out one by one with pulsating, reality TV music.
Santorum - National Security is the one Constitutional purpose of the government. Ron Paul - all anti-war. Perry - introduces his wife. Mitt- (his real name, Wolf) Obama scary! Cain - our national security has been downgraded. The newt - national survival is the issue. Bachmann - on the Intelligence Committee and shout out to the troops. Huntsman - greatest nation, great wife, great kids (including two in the Navy).
Ed Meese question - 42 Terrorist Attacks, go Patriot Act! The newt wants to strengthen it. Scared of nukes. Wants many tools (no one expects . . .) Paul says Patriot Act is unpatriotic and references Tim McVeigh (Yay! Paul!) Don't sacrifice Bill of Rights. The newt says McVeigh succeeded so we need to stop them first. Paul says that would be a police state. Bachmann is all commander-in-chief invoking new evils of terrorism and new technology. No Miranda for terrorists. Huntsman - we have to protect our liberties - our values - they are known overseas. We have to balance.
TSA pat-downs. Mitt says we have to do better. He's with the newt against Paul. Crime and war are different laws. War is when you attack the U.S. Perry on criminalizing TSA - privatize and get rid of unions. Need to collect intelligence. Santorum is for profiling. Invokes Lincoln for running over civil rights because of attacks in the US. Profile the Muslims. Paul says that is digging a hole - "What if they look like Timothy McVeigh?" (Yay, Paul! Why is he crazy on everything else?) Cain wants "targeted identification" (profiling?) Kill them first before they kill us. [He just called him, "Blitz." "Sorry, Blitz, I mean Wolf."]
Drones. Huntsman says we have a President that can't lead and we need Congressional term limits. Aid for Pakistan? Bachmann just called Pakistan a "nation that lies." But Obama policy is wrong. Perry can't trust Pakistan - "not one penny!" in aid. Bachmann says Pakistan nukes will show up in New York City. (calls Perry "highly naive.") Romney says we can't just say goodbye to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Huntsman disagrees with Romney and wants us out of Afghanistan - nation build here. Romney and Hunstman go at it. Huntsman holds his own on Mitt. Romney goes back to "commanders on the ground." (What a neo-con tool!) Huntsman goes on the "commanders on the ground" with reference to 1967. (eew. That's on Mitt's dad's "brain-washing.") The newt is a little confused but is all for killing bin Laden, and more. Santorum agrees with Ron Paul that we are not fighting a war on terrorism, we are fighting radical Islam (I don't think that's what Ron Paul says).
If Israel attacks Iran? Cain - ["Blitz" has to explain it to him] wants to check Israel's plan for clarity of success because Iran has a lot of mountains [oh, yeah. Like Israel's gonna let Cain in on this.] Paul will not help Israel and says it's still a debate in Israel - he doesn't think it will happen. Israel can take care of themselves. Cain - if the mission and plan are clear but there's this mountain thing. Iran is moving into Afghanistan. What sanctions would stop Iran? Perry says go after the central bank. Wants to bring Syria into the mix. The newt wants massive energy development here and cut off Iranian gasoline. Bachmann agrees with all of that and that the President is for unilateral disarmament. (hunh?) She's all for Israel and all against "Obaaahmah."
Santorum on AIDS in Africa - he was for stabilizing so the radical Islamists didn't take over. Spend money on our friends. Cain says it depends on priorities - has it been successful? Would like to see the results (he has no idea and is blathering.) Paul is against all aid (and I was starting to like this guy.) Romney tries to school Paul on Obamacare. Paul says they're not cutting anything on the military - it's just not increasing as fast. Romney all scared about Defense cuts and trips on "Ahmadinejad" (told you he was a neo-con). The newt suggests opening all our oil and collapse the world oil market. He would bomb Iran only as a last resort and if it gets rid of the regime. Huntsman on defense cuts. GDP and debt is a national security problem - we have a trust deficit. No sacred cows. And a shout-out to Prof. Wolfowitz (yikes!)
Super Committee fail. Perry- super committee was a super failure because our president is not a leader. The President is putting young men and women's lives at risk (military cuts) . Would you compromise on taxes? He had to work with Dems. He wants to flat tax us. Wolf quotes Reagan on compromising. Santorum says it all depends. Don't increase taxes. He hearkens back to welfare reform.
Question on entitlement reform. The newt wants large scale change. He wants social security like Chile [did he steal that from Cain?] Bachmann says draw the line in the sand. (She's back on the debt limit.) And balance the budget. Our money is being used to grow China's military.
Immigration question - drug crimes national interest threat? Perry - wants a new Monroe Doctrine. Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran are working in Mexico. Iran has the biggest embassy in Venezuela. Paul wants to end the drug war. Let sick people have marijuana. Handle it like alcohol. Cain says terrorists are coming in through Mexico. 40% of Mexicans believe it's a failed state. More deaths in Mexico than Iran and Afghanistan. Secure the border, clear pathway to citizenship, empower the states. Santorum is actually talking "trickle down." [Where are the 99% when you need 'em.] The newt on Reagan amnesty - wants visas for math, science, etc. Reagan was misled. Wants a WWII style review board to check on status. [Is that like the internment camps?] Bachmann against amnesty and Dream Act. The newt defends the Dream Act at least for military volunteers. Romney on splitting up families says amnesty is a magnet [so much for the Utah Compact.] He's also against Dream Act concepts. We love legal immigration. He's anti-amnesty. The newt defends amnesty for those here a long time. [yay, newt on Utah Compact themes!] He'll take the heat for being humane (sort of). Perry is onto Mitt's magnets. It's all about "securin' that border." He's sorta with the newt. Romney's squirming a little. He's trying to power our industries with legal people.
Syria question. Cain on no-fly-zone - he would not. He would work with allies in the nation to stop buying oil from Syria. Perry wants a no-fly-zone over Syria. Huntsman on Arab Spring. "History will tell." Sanctions aren't going to work because of the Chinese and Russians. We shouldn't jump in too soon. Our interest in the region is Israel.
Question to Paul on Somalia and Al Queda. Paul says don't meddle in the region - that's what provokes Al Queda. Paul's all about good will. Don't do anything to any other country we wouldn't want them to do to us. (hmm.) Let's mind our own business. Mitt's on to his phony apology crap and neo-con delusions of ruling the world.
Santorum on the South American communist threat. Romney too. Cain's worried about cyber-attacks. The newt's three great threats, nuclear, electro-magnetic pulse, and cyber attacks. Bachmann we won Iraq and now Obama is giving it away. Huntsmann on economic themes and trust deficit is our big risk.
Paul is an Isolationist-Libertarian.
Romney is a Neo-con.
Cain is clueless.
Gingrich made a little sense tonight, especially on immigration. (that's troubling).
Bachmann is all about Israel.
Perry didn't slip up. (And he's for Israel).
Santorum is still on the crusades against Islam and the red (socialist) threat.
Huntsman is against everything Romney is for.
It's way to easy to goad Romney into a testy fight as Huntsman did tonight and Mitt slips himself into a condescending tone all too often. As the right and others claim the President is some kind of cerebral, aloof, elitist, that could be an interesting dynamic in the general election campaign.