Friday, May 18, 2007

Another round on the debates

We watched the second round of Republican debates via the internet.

This round was quite a bit more interesting than the first. As some of the candidates mentioned, the format was much better, the questions more pointed and once the fur started flying, we found out alot about these guys.

I can't stand watching the frontrunners give nuance and rhetoric. It is all based on emotion, light on details and we know they won't follow through if they get into office.

I like what Howard Fineman points out about The Power of GOP 2nd-Tier Candidates
Let’s hear it for the “second-” and “third-”tier presidential candidates. We’ll have world enough and time this year and next to suffer through the purposefully vague rhetoric of front runners. But these are the moments (Thursday night’s MSNBC debate at the Ronald Reagan Library is one) for the single-minded, the passionate and the obscure. They can speak their piece and get attention. And this time they might even have the chance to influence the tone, if not the course, of the ’08 campaign.
But if you know, as I do, some of the other, putatively lesser, GOP contenders, you have be impressed with the depth of their political passion, their knowledge, and even their track records. They represent, in undiluted form, the vivid primary colors of the conservative movement—dressed in both its modern and throwback uniforms. They are the seeds in the bland bread of modern Republicanism. They are easy to write off, but should not be dismissed, for they represent the result of decades of grass-roots thinking and debate. By the sheer force of their ideas and personalities, expect them to set conservative benchmarks for the frontrunners to meet.

Consider Rep. Ron Paul, a Libertarian Republican from Texas who has opposed the Iraq War from the beginning because of his small-government, isolationist worldview. He is not a nut case but rather a doctor with a degree from Duke Medical School. And he’s steeped in a branch of conservative intellectual history that traces its modern lineage to the Founding Fathers.

And if you haven't noticed, Ron Paul is getting some serious attention this week after punching a huge hole in the party Pro-War Banner. Now most of the attention is negative, as you know making the media think can get messy. And conservative types are supposed to be big Hawks like Duncan Hunter or just smaller hawks that haven't really spread their wings yet.

But I say no publicity is bad publicity. Notice where Rep. Paul's debate rating was? A close second to Romney. Not down in the 1% with his fellow 2nd tier candidates. Perhaps what he is saying resonates with the voters. Of course one would have to watch the debate to get the real news, as the moderator and most media accounts are making it sound like Paul said we invited 9/11 or that we deserve it. I have watched it twice now and he clearly laid out his position. The moderator asked him if he was saying we invited the attack and Paul didn't back down, but he explained what he meant. It was not that we invited it, but our nation building and foreign involvement aren't making friends in the middle east. Glenn Beck called him an isolationist, but that too is misrepresenting what he said. Rep. Paul said we should trade, be friends and promote peace. But without sticking our nose where it isn't wanted.

But back to the whole point, I love what these early debates are doing. I don't care for most of the candidates, but even flip-flop Romney makes a great point when pressed about his conversion. I don't believe him, but how can I not like the point he raises about how racks and racks of embryos slated for experimentation and destruction being a product of Roe v. Wade.

So watch the debates, note how each guy has some bright points even if he may be approaching it from the wrong angle. These points may shape the future policies of whomever comes out on top.

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