Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Live blogging the live bloggers - Republican debate redux

UPDATED: May 16, 2007
Isn't it too soon for another Republican debate? Isn't it the Democrats turn? Apparently not, as the declared Republican presidential candidates will go at it again tonight in South Carolina, this time moderated by Britt Hume on FoxNews. The important question is the one I asked for the last debate:
"There are plenty of bloggers covering the Republican debate live tonight, but is anyone covering the live bloggers? DWSUWF rushes in where other, more sensible bloggers, fear to tread. "
I think I can improve on my previous results (a very low bar to clear), so your fearless derivative blogger will once again attempt to monitor and report real-time on other bloggers covering the debate live. 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 between now and 6:00 PM PDT.

See you then... or not. Here we go ...
Pre-Debate Comments:
Wonkette: "Despite the tragic death of Jerry Falwell, the heartless GOP presidential candidates will still have their debate in South Carolina tonight."
Daily Kos: DevilsTower: "Look for more of that "liberal media bias" at work in tonight's debate, as Republican candidates are forced to field tough choices between whether they think mom, apple pie, and Jesus are merely great, or really, really super cool."
Heading Right: Edward - "Did Fred Already Win The Debate?... He has already come up with the best line of the day: “A mental institution, Michael … might be something you want to think about.” Unless it’s a big gaffe, I can’t imagine anything that could be said tonight that carries the same gravitas as Fred’s shot at Moore."
1st Question Iraq -
Daily Kos: Steven R- "Bringing in the Regan Beruit angle to speak reason to these Republican Patriothumpers is a great angle, maybe that'll wake 1 sleeping mind up..."
Heading Right: Edward - "McCain: Still an Idiot, Still Cocky -He just couldn’t pass up the “mishandling” comment. Still trying to play the “I’m not Bush so vote for me” card."
Wonkette: "McCain has history on his side, because he notes that the Viet Cong didn’t follow us home. Wait, what?"
Daily Kos: MissLaura- "MCCAIN: Good lord, how often is he going to tell that drunken sailor joke?"
Edwards Hair -
Heading Right: Rickm- "Fire up the lefty blogs, Huckebee just hit the “Breck Girl” right between the eyes."
Wonkette: "Huck got in a good (and obviously scripted) lines about handsome-boy John Edwards"
Daily Kos:Omen "...gee didn't see that John Edwards joke coming /snark"
Abortion -
Heading Right:macranger- "Giuliani DODGES: Interesting. And he gets called out on it. Nice. But “come together?” OH! And he flubs the abortion question again. “Reducing abortion” doesn’t count if you did it by handing out condoms a few grades earlier in school."
Wonkette: "Ha ha, that’s exactly what the Founding Fathers said about slavery: We abhor it, but you can do it. Okay, well most of them actually said: We actually own slaves."
Daily Kos: MissLaura- "GIULIANI: If he thinks he's going to get anywhere by talking about reducing abortion, his candidacy should be disqualified on account of he's delusional."
Ummm -
Heading Right:Edward- "Romney’s Gun Grade: F Assault weapon ban? When are people going to get the point of the Second Amendment? I am banging my head against the wall here."
Wonkette: "Rudy McRomney? Jim Gilmore, are you as drunk as we are? Wait, you are Jim Gilmore, right? Wait wait, we think he’s going to reveal that there’s a candidate on this stage who has personally performed an abortion. While… raising taxes?"
Daily Kos: MissLaura- "HUCKABEE: At least Giuliani is honest about his position (slam at Romney?), but I'm better because "I value life" and that's "what separates us from the Islamic jihadist."
Immigration -
Heading Right:Edward- "McCain On Immigration - Tancredo still can’t keep his answers concise and clear. McCain has moved away from McCain-Kennedy and towards border security first, one of Tancredo’s “Road to Des Moines” conversions, but he made a better argument than Tancredo. He’s just better at handling this format."
Wonkette: "Tancredo: “McCain sponsored a bill a little while ago that would’ve given amnesty to everyone who is here, illegally.” WHAT DOES HE KNOW ABOUT MITT?"
Daily Kos: GreenSooner - "Tancredo: In a world of dog whistle racist politics, it's nice to see an old fashioned, xenophobic race baiter."
Beat up Ron Paul -
Heading Right:rickm- "Rudy’s moment: Rudy’s “I’m paying for this microphone, Mr. Breen…” moment. True emotion always comes across on TV.
Wonkette: "Ron Paul: AMERICA HAD IT COMING. 9/11 WAS OUR FAULT. He’s no Mike Gravel, this one. He did provide a brilliant opportunity for for Giuliani grandstanding, though — how much is Rudy paying him?"
Daily Kos: MissLaura- "GIULIANI: 9/11 gives me my moral authority and I will hammer that. Demands that Paul take back saying that US foreign policy had something to do with 9/11."
Reason:Comments - Terrorific -Giuliani's head almost blew off....I wish Ron Paul was wittier to put down that nonsense with flair, but I liked his reply / Anastatia - yeah, but ron paul just imploded. he's not going to live this one down.
DWSUWF - glad to see someone at Reason turned on the TV
Terrorist Attack! Torture! Jack Bauer!-
Heading Right:Edward- "Torture Question - Interesting hypothetical … McCain says that he says that torture is bad, but that he’d do it anyway if he had conclusive knowledge about the nature of their knowledge. Rudy has a better answer — “no torture, but everything short of it”. Romney has a good answer, too, about focusing on prevention. Also, he supports Gitmo and wants it “doubled”.
Wonkette: "10:21 This is seriously everyone’s time to shine right now. Would Brownback go to the UN? NO, HE WOULD NOT, YOU STUPID HOMO.
10:17 The audience just applauded waterboarding."
Daily Kos: MissLaura- "GIULIANI: 9/11 gives me my moral authority and I will hammer that. Demands that Paul take back saying that US foreign policy had something to do with 9/11."
Reason:Comments - B -Sweet Jesus on a pogo stick...McCain's the only one with his head on straight about torture. I, for one, welcome our new Democrat overlords.
DWSUWF: I am seriously depressed right now.
How about the debate itself -
Heading Right:macranger- "Chris Wallace useless question of the night Pulled the “Race Card”, no “minorities on stage” We had Michael Steel, but the left blackfaced him and well, …..
Wonkette: "Oh, god, Brit Hume just said there’d be “many more debate.” WHAT DID WE DO TO DESERVE THIS."
Daily Kos: Steven R- "Fox News Debate: Mock Terra
Question 1: How would you Torture
Question 2: HOw much shady evidence/innuendo do you need to Bomb"
Reason:Comments - Jozef -"Here we go... Next debates may have a reduced field because "second tier" candidates "slowed the debate down". Can't wait for more Jack Bauer quotes."

Allright. I'm done. I'll update with additional thoughts tomorrow

One thought keeps going through my head -

Update: May 16, 2006 - A vicious bummer...
Watching alpha dog Rudy Giuliani snap at Ron Paul, followed by the rest of the Republican presidential wolf-pack tearing his carcass to shreds was bad enough. But then came the "Jack Bauer 24" hypothetical questions carefully scripted to elicit support for torture. With the notable exception of Ron Paul and John McCain, the wolf-pack ripped into the chunk of raw meat tossed on the stage by Britt Hume with nauseating relish. I am dating myself here, but watching that spectacle was what the late, great gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson used to call a "vicious bummer." Forget the candidates, they don't actually believe what they are saying. Who were the people in the audience? The strongest reaction of the night was huge applause for supporting "waterboarding" and torture. They cheered for the expansion of off-shore prisons to hold people on suspicion without trial or protection of the law. This actually happened. I was stunned. Who are these people? Do they call themselves Americans? Do they have the slightest concept of what this country is about?

Other reactions of note:

Andrew Sullivan reviews the "Palmetto Punditry" at The Daily Dish:
"For me, the moral question of torture in many ways settles this race. Just hearing Brit Hume curl his lips around the phrase "enhanced interrogation techniques" was a brief moment of insight. I was glad that McCain called these hideous methods by their proper name, and that Paul described Hume's weasel words as "newspeak." I was surprised to see Romney so aggressively embrace torture and Gitmo."
Joe Gandelman on John McCain at the Moderate Voice:
"His stance on torture, including torture renamed so it isn’t called torture but is still torture, was strong: “There’s more to war than the battlefield,” he noted and noted that most politicians and officials who have military background agree with his position. That may not matter to primary voters, who may feel McCain is too wobbly in a terrorism-filled era."
David Weigel wonders about the Republican field at Reason's Hit & Run:
"Basically, it was a question about how the candidates would behave if they were president in an episode of 24. Tom Tancredo cleared that up with his answer: "I'd be looking for Jack Bauer at that time." Please note that this was perceived in and outside of the debate hall as an awesome answer... Guys, I hate to be the one to break this to you, but Jack Bauer is a fictional character. He's played by Keifer Sutherland, star of such classics as The Lost Boys, Young Guns, and Brotherhood of Justice. He can't save us and neither - again, I'm sorry - can Green Lantern. Michael Brendan Dougherty tried to get at the GOP's Bauer obsession in a recent, brilliant American Conservative cover story, but here's the short version: too many conservatives fantasize about the war on terror in lieu of studying the actual war on terror and making morally uncomfortable decisions about whether we can "win it." What's it say about the GOP field that they're more comfortable answering hypothetical questions about a terrorist plot on a TV show than answering questions about the Iraq War - which, you know, actually exists? Nothing good."
Mike Boyer at the Foreign Policy Passport blog looks at "Romney on Torture":
"One has to wonder whether Romney understands the fundamental nature of the war the United States is fighting. It is a war of ideas. You don't win that kind of war by sinking to the terrorists' level, or by forfeiting the principles that separate enlightened, modern society from the dark, desperate world of radical Islamists. I also worry that Romney's remarks are further evidence of how profoudly lost the Republican party is today. On the stage last night was a leading candidate for the party's nomination, droning on endlessly about his deep and profound "respect for life" —and advocating torture in the same breath. The only thing more disappointing was the room full of party faithful who seemed to miss the irony."
Tom Watson sums it up with "I'm I'm the King of Torture (No I'm the King of Torture)":
"Mitt Romney: Close Gitmo?! Hell, I'll double Gitmo! Rudy Giuliani: "Every method" that can possibly be construed as not being the T-word. The Other Guys Nobody Knows: "I as President will authorize extreme measures." [Roughly paraphrased]. With two notable exceptions, they all did the manly-man dance of faux toughness. Tom Tancredo, the immigrant-bashing fencing contractor, actually said he was "looking for a Jak Bauer." The exceptions to the torture bandwagon were the actual torture victim and the actual conservative."
Bill Bradley at PajamaMedia has a more comprehensive and dispassionate coverage of "South Carolina GOP Debate":
"McCain said he would take responsibility for aggressive interrogation if he knew the information was available. But he said that torture does not gain more than what we lose. It’s not about the terrorists but about us. What kind of country we are. The more pain that is inflicted, the more they tell us what we want to know. If we agree to torture, we do ourselves great harm in world... John McCain returned to the question of torture. Are enhanced techniques torture? Yes. He noted a sharp division in the debate between those who have served in the military and those who haven’t. If we do it, what happens to our people when they are captured? Veterans, he said, from top generals on down, support my position and I’m glad of it."
I'll wait for the next debate, but McCain is moving back up the stack rank. I'm going with an all veteran top three on the GOP side - Hagel, Paul, McCain.

Divided and Balanced.™ Now that is fair.

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