Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Semi-live blogging the live bloggers - Republican Debate Starring Fred Thompson

UPDATED: October 15, 2007
It has been a while since I last live blogged the live bloggers covering a presidential debate. I have some unique challenges for this one, but since I am in Michigan, and the debate is in Michigan, and this is Fred Thompson's debut, I have to make the effort. I'll introduce this with a question I have asked before:
"There are plenty of bloggers covering the debate live tonight, but is anyone covering the live bloggers? DWSUWF rushes in where other, more sensible bloggers, fear to tread. "
As before, we'll include Daily Kos, Heading Right, Wonkette, for a "left", "right" and "whatever" perspective and will add the Reason Hit and Run Blog for a libertarian point of view. I'll also add a moderate blog if I can find one blogging live.

The challenge is that I am on a fishing holiday in the backwoods of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and am "roughing it" with only basic cable from Charter Communications. This means we get 20 or so channels of infomercials, four channels of c-span, the broadcast networks, and that is about it. No CNBC so no live coverage. We do have broadband wireless internet, so should be able to get the live feed from MSNBC.

[TIME PASSES]

OK - after screwing around for 30 minutes trying to get the debate live on the MSNBC website, I remembered what the MS in MSNBC stands for - switched from Firefox to Explorer, and it works now, but I am 30 minutes late. Cracked a beer, and going with it anyway, this is going to be rough and slow - bear with me - I'll fix it as we go.

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Pre-Debate Comments:
Wonkette: "Supposedly this sixth GOP debate is an MSNBC/CNBC co-production starring “Mrs. Money Honey” and “Chris Matthews,” but the respective websites for those teevee channels have no mention of the debate. This is how ashamed they are, about everything. "
Daily Kos: "Republican debate today, 4 p.m. ET on CNBC. Apparently, it needed to be held before Grandpa Fred's bedtime."
Heading Right: "NBC, and even ABC’s The Blotter, is rehashing a ABC News story about Nixon referring to Thompson as “dumb”. The original story was reported by ABC on August 7th, 2007. Interestingly enough ABC quoted from a March 16th, 1973 tape that is believed to have been altered by DR. Stanley Kutler to protect John Dean. So the question is why is NBC and ABC reposting the story on the day of the debate. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm?
Reason - David Weigel: "The Republicans are debating economic policy at 4 p.m. ET on CNBC... and 9 p.m. ET on MSNBC. I don't know why they're filming so early, as my Thompson campaign sources assure me he already took his nap today, but it would be a lie to start "liveblogging" the rerun of this thing. So I'll be covering the first run here."

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Fred's First Question:
Wonkette: "Fred Thompson sees “no reason” why anyone would say we’re headed toward a recession. — Wait, he doesn’t know the word “recession.” He stumbled there and said “economic downturn” instead. Is that the new GOP codeword for “recession”?"
Daily Kos - Commenter Frank: "First question to Thompson. "Are we headed for a crisis?" A: Crisis, what crisis? People who don't have jobs and massive foreclosures are normal!"
Heading Right - Edward: "Fred’s First Answer A softball? Wow! He gets to review the Republican economic record AND trash the free spending ways of the last few years. That was a great way to start. If 2/3rds of the people think we’re in a recession, then they need a better education and a larger set of reading resources."
Reason - David Weigel: "Fred Thompson meets expectations, which, we'll remember, were incredibly low. Thompson makes a blatant grab for Larry Kudlow's approval, quoting his line (which no one else has really picked up) that our economic growth is "the greatest story never told."

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Ron Paul on Economics:
Wonkette: "RON PAUL JUST PWNED EVERYBODY HE IS THE MOTHERF*CKING WINNER. — God he’s whiny. — Yeah! Military Industrial Complex!"
Daily Kos - Commenter Plutonium Page: "Ron Paul RANT!! EXCESSIVE SPENDING BAD! "
Heading Right - RickM: "Military industrial complex? Why doesn’t someone call him out on that tired old canard. Christ! Even the Democrats don’t use that stupid fear mongering consipiracy nonsense anymore."
Reason - David Weigel: "Paul gives one of his best-ever debate answers, which makes sense since he's been training for a prime time (well, prime afternoon TV time) speech on the Fed and monetary policy since roughly 1960. It's... not quite true, but it's well put together and the audience, sort of surprised, applauds it."

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Taxes and Spending:
Wonkette: "Oh good they are having a pissing match over who cut taxes to this percentage or that percentage. Everybody is falling asleep. The Money Honey is trading stocks on her Blackberry. Everybody quit applauding. Ron Paul is counting his gold doubloons."
Daily Kos - MissLaura:" "Ok, recap thus far: The economy's going great! Only thing that would make it go better is to cut taxes! All of them! I'm the guy who'll do that!"
Heading Right - Edward: "The Third Rail - Fred gets an endorsement of sorts from Maria, saying that he’s the only one willing to discuss specifics. He mentions privatization, and indexing benefits to inflation rather than wages. It would be a “major step in the right direction”. No one else got asked this question — why?
Reason - David Weigel: "It's all over, already: Giuliani and Romney are going to win this debate. They're the only wonks on stage and the only guys who know what they want to do, specifically, with the budget. Romney and Rudy scrap over their economic records and I really don't know how Romney expects to win these fights. Rudy cut spending in New York but... he thinks the line item veto is unconstitutional? That's a dealbreaker."

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Iran & War & Nukes & Congress & The Constitution:
Wonkette: "The extra-lame part is how utterly fake Mitt is, even when trying to pretend to be all “I’ll blow up Iran.” Smiling and preening through your “nuke Iran” threats is just fucking pathetic. — Duncan Hunter, on the other hand, is very grim when threatening Iran."
Daily Kos - FeelingBlue: Do you believe Congress has to authorize?
Hunter: Depends on one thing, doesn't think the pres. needs authorization if the enemy is fleeting, but should "if he has time." WTF??
Paul: Absolutely! Bashes the talking to attorneys thing. The thought that Iran could pose an imminent threat is ridiculous! [and there is applause}
whoever is next (a lot of these guys look the same to me!) - pres should do what ever he needs to do. Once again, if you have the time and luxury of going to congress, fine.
McCain - if immediate action, don't bother. IF long series of build up, go to congress/get approval. Depends on scenario. At minimum, would consult with the leaders at congress.
Thompson - John has it right but under war powers act there is always a conflict. Don't dimish the powers of the office, but if a close call, go to congress whether necessary or not (??)

Heading Right - Edward: "Fred Scores On The Congress Question “You need the American people on your side for a protracted conflict,” and therefore a President should consult Congress. Rudy wins again on the imminent circumstances debate by smacking Paul around for saying we’ve never been attacked like that. Rudy mentions 9/11, and Paul says it wasn’t a country, but what about Pearl Harbor?"
Reason - David Weigel: "It's a commercial break and here's the problem: I'm in an office currently being organized for a large event, and I can neither hear nor sit close to the TV. So I'll have to liveblog it from 9:41 on tonight."
DWSUWF - Dave! There are people out here relying on you for content! Ok, fine. One more section then I'm wrapping this for the night.

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Overall Impressions:
Wonkette: "Huckabee is protesting the format of the lightning round instead of answering. Fail... Rudy knows that most of the foreign debt is owed to him, and his law firm. He will sell more of America to the foreigners....Brownback doesn’t have any idea about economics, and doesn’t know Alan Greenspan’s name. FAIL.... McCain is deaf. He can’t answer anything about whether the very dramatic rate cut that totally turned around the entire stock market plunge of the summer was the right cut. He wishes interest rates were “zero.” He doesn’t know the markets have completely recovered from the summer credit-crunch mini-crash, and actually are higher today. He doesn’t follow U.S. economic news? He’s a buffoon... Ron Paul will give gold to the poor! ...Ha ha, Thompson knows the last name of the Canadian prime minister! He is ready for this job!...Mitt’s full of shit but “optimism” does have a huge impact on markets, if not the underlying economy."
Daily Kos - Ellicat, MetalCelt:Greatest long-term threat to the economy?
Romney: sense of optimism. we have to recognize that what we have as Americans is the envy of the world. we need to have leadership that will tell us the truth...and to lead.
Tancredo: the breakdown of the family. the best place is between a mom and a dad. this is a tough issue, but long-term, this is the greatest problem.
Thanks to all who kept this up - I feel unbelievably confident that the Dem will thrash these guys. Even HRC.
Heading Right - RickM: "Interminable…but instructive - Too long. Knock off the losers next time, make it McCain, Rudy, Mitt, and Fred and reduce it to about an hour. I think Rudy actually edged out Fred the last half hour but Thompson finished a close second. Romney third and McCain 4th. Just how it is in the polls…
Reason - David Weigel: - MIA

DWSUWF - Enough for now. I can't work without copying David's content. As is my new tradition, I'll take a day or two to digest, update this post with a summary judgment on the debate, and revise the Stack Ranking (see left sidebar).

UPDATE: October 15, 2007
First, Weigel finished up his live-blog by watching the re-run on MSNBC, and concluded with this: "The debate is over, and the MSNBC pundits are in agreement. Romney blundered by saying he'd "consult lawyers" if he was going to bomb Iran. Not because he wasn't going to ask Congress, but because, as Howard Fineman says, "voters want to hear something from the gut." America's doomed."

That out of the way, I'm back from my Michigan fishing trip, so it is time for a belated wrap up of the Michigan Republican debate:
Ron Paul got the most applause and was the most coherent - so what else is new? Giuliani is still laughing at Paul's replies, to his detriment. Huckabee went after the couch potato vote. Brownback adopted the Biden plan on Iraq, which is positive since he is more likely to be nominated than Biden. Tancredo is still a flake. Duncan Hunter? Was he there? McCain and Romney took off the gloves. On the no-brainer query "should the president consult congress on war" Romney got the answer wrong, while Paul and Thompson got it right. Ultimately, it was Fred's show. Yes, expectations were low, but he delivered some good lines, he didn't hurt himself, and he provided more substantial replies than the Republican Anti-Pauls. Game on.

2 comments:

qofd said...

You know, I can really get into the "whatever" viewpoint. It involves less thought, less anger, and less stress all the way around.

Plus, I bet I could do "whatever" and experiment with narcotics at the same time and nobody would notice.

mw said...

Yeah... with Hagel out, "whatever" is now my party of choice.