By Peter Bauer
Last week, the Republicans squared off in yet another round of televised debates. Hosted by CNN and Youtube, it was operated in a format very similar to the last CNN sponsored Democratic Debate.
After watching both parties, it seems there are two types
of candidates: Those tired of the status quo, and those who
will be monetarily compelled to continue it. Aside from outsider
candidates Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, it would be interesting to
put candidates into brackets and have them battle all the way to an
ultimate face-off, much like a school wide arm wrestling tournament or
the movie “Over the Top.”
In addition to their debate portion of the broadcast, candidates could
showcase a talent, and a winner could be selected at the audience’s discretion via text message.
Anyhow, the debate progressed as follows.
The first seven minutes of the debate allowed “front runners” Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney to square off against each other in a battle of wits over immigration. Nearly seven minutes into the debate Fred Thompson, the Republican’s John Edwards, got a chance to respond to an immigration question. Unlike Edwards, who was stationed at the end of the stage in the last debate, Thompson was front and center, to the right of Giuliani. This kept the big three Media Stars at the center of attention.
Ten minutes into the debate, a fourth candidate got a chance to speak. John McCain was brought into the debate, also answering a question about immigration. This seems to be the Republican’s version of health care- an issue that the voting base cares about, and one that will likely sway undecided votes.
In keeping with the spirit of the Democratic debates, the phrase
“your times has expired” meant nothing to the candidates. Responses
went on until all talking points were covered, rendering Anderson
Cooper, the “moderator,” useless. McCain just kept talking and talking
until he had finished.
In a similar fashion that Libertarian Democratic Candidate Dennis
Kucinich was the last person to join the Democratic debate, the
internet sensation Ron Paul didn’t get a chance to speak until over
twenty minutes into the broadcast. He took his air time to bring up
the issue of Globalism vs. National Sovereignty when responding to
questions about whether or not he believed in all that “crazy stuff”
like a North America Unit or a NAFTA Superhighway .
Paul dismissed his positions as crazy, quickly pointing out that the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations
do in fact exist, despite the fact that they are not largely covered in
the Mainstream Media. Paul expressed concern that World Trade
Organization is trying to seize control of the drug and nutrition
“It’s not a sinister conspiracy,” Paul said. “It’s just, knowledge
is out there. If you look for it, you’ll realize that our national
sovereignty is under serious threat.”
Predictably, Paul’s comments resulted in no further dialog, as
Cooper quickly moved the candidates on to the topic of government
A soft spoken McCain, tail between his legs, admitted “We let
spending lurch completely out of control.” He promised to use his Veto
Pen to block the passage of any bill will “pork” in it if he were
Giuliani argued that America needed to cut funding to civilian to
institutions, and that retired workers should not be hired back so that
the dollar could be strengthened. Instead, Giuliani argued that
America should use technology to the consolidate jobs done by humans,
stating “Every business has done it, the government needs to do it.”
When a question of foreign policy was raised, Paul argued that the
US could have a stronger national defense by changing their foreign
policy. “Our foreign policy is costing a trillion dollars and we could
spend that by bringing our troops home.”
This comment drew a mix of cheers and jeers from the crowd.
McCain then suggested that Paul’s foreign policy was like the policy
that let Hitler come to power. He declared, “I just finished having
Thanksgiving with the troops and the message they want you to know is
“Let us WIN! Let us win! Let us win.”
A fired up Paul rebutted, “I don’t want to send our troops over seas
using force to tell them how to live. We would object to it here, and
they are going object to us over there!”
After this tense moment, Cooper turned to the first of the Youtube “Campaign Style” videos. Leading off was Congressman Tom Tancredo.
“He took on Geraldo!” the narrator bellowed, as footage of two
adults shouting at each other rolled. “Now he’s ready to take on
The Congressman beamed with pride at his creation, a pride shared
with first time toilet users and science fair trophy winners. Earlier
in the broadcast, Tancredo had thanked the person in the video for
asking the questions. Apparently, he thought it was a live feed.
Fred Thompson’s campaign style video took a different approach.
Instead of personal “Hi, I'm Fred Thompson and this is why you should
vote for me ” clip, the entire 30 second spot was of Huckabee and
After the video ended, Cooper decide to not go to commercial break
as originally intended, to laughter from the audience. In his best Carson Daly impersonation, Cooper asked, “Senator Thompson, what’s up with that?”
Like an aged guest at a Holiday meal, Thompson yucked: "Just wanted
to give my buddies here a little extra air time. What do you man
What’s-Up-With-That? Those are their words.”
When asked “How do you repair the image of America in the Muslim world?” the candidates responded in a variety of ways.
To cheers, Giuliani declared “We must remain on offense against Islamic Terrorists,” quickly bringing up September 11th.
McCain’s response was to continue the Surge. He growled that “A date for withdrawl is a date for surrender.” He then repeated his Thanksgiving message from the troops.
How would Congressman Duncan Hunter repair America’s image in the Muslim world? Simple: “I will never apologize for America.”
In response to the same question, Ron Paul argued that “The best
commitment we can make to the Iraqi people is to give them their
country back…It’s time for us to take care of America first.”
This drew fire from McCain who charged “We never lost the battle in
Viet-Naaam! It was American public opinion that forced us to lose that
This drew a reaction from the crowd, which allowed Paul to
elaborate. He said “We have to realize why they want to come here.
One of the main reasons was because of our military base in Saudi
Arabia. They come here because we are occupying their country, just as
we would object if they occupied our country.”
Predictably, Paul’s campaign style video was the last to air of the
evening. In it Paul said, “We were not meant to be an empire. We were
meant to be a republic protecting liberty here at home. There is
something going on in this country, and it is big.”
Paul may be right, but the Presidential Race has become just another
thing to watch on TV. There don’t appear to be any real winners, as
most of the candidates on both sides seem to be playing politics as
usual. After the January Primary’s, we’ll be left with even fewer
“options” to chose from. It will be interesting to see if Ron Paul or
Dennis Kucinich are able to continue to make waves after they have been
eliminated, or if they will quietly fade away.
Stay tuned for future debate coverage.