Monthly Archives: November 2007

Republican CNN/YouTube Debate Roundup And Reaction

Well, that was a complete and total waste of about two hours of my life.

Tonight, the Republican candidates for President (not including Alan Keyes, who’s campaign has somehow gotten my email address and decided to bombard me with daily updates) gathered in Florida for their version of 2008’s latest fad……..a bunch of inane debate questions asked by people with webcams.

I’m sure that the professionals will have their own opinions of how things went but here’s my reaction, grouped by candidate, influenced by Cabernet Sauvignon, and in no particular order:

Mitt Romney: I’ll hand it to Romney, he certainly looks the part of President. And, for the most part, he seemed to come across as the kind of candidate that would do well in a national election. In the course of a two hour debate, however, we were treated to evidence of three times that Romney has changed his position on an issue of importance to conservative Republicans in the last three years. On abortion, he used to be pro-choice and now he claims to be pro-life…..he attributes this to a “mistake.” On immigration, his policy as Governor of Massachusetts accommodated illegal immigrants, and now he claims to be tough on illegal immigration. And, finally, back in 1994 he said that gay men and women should be permitted to serve in the Armed Forces and, tonight, even when confronted by a retired Brigadier General who happened to be gay, he parroted the same nonsense about gays in the military that we’ve heard from Republicans since 1993.

Rudy Giuliani: For a front-runner, Giuliani seemed surprisingly on the defensive. When Anderson Cooper confronted him with a question about the story that had broken late today about questionable charges by his security team when he was Mayor of New York, he dodged the question quite badly. He was put on the defensive early thanks to three questions in a row on immigration and New York City’s status as a “sanctuary city”; which led to an exchange between Giuliani and Romney about some allegation that Romney employed illegal immigrants…..or maybe that he hired someone who may have employed illegal immigrants. Whatever.

John McCain: McCain struck me tonight as a man who knows that his campaign is pretty much over but is staying in the race to make a point. On at least two points, he said things that struck me as right. On immigration, he refused to join in the immigrant bashing along with Giuliani, Romney, Tancredo, and Hunter and pretty much condemned them for it. Without coming out and saying it, McCain said something that no Republican ever will — there is simply no way that the 12 million people here illegally are going to be deported. That’s not what America is about.

The other issue where McCain took an admirable stand was waterboarding. In response to a direct question, Mitt Romney, refused to say that waterboarding was torture. McCain, who strikes me as the only man on the stage tonight who knows what real torture is, took him to task for it, and rightly so.

Mike Huckabee: I still don’t get what the big deal is about this guy. He isn’t saying anything different from anyone else, and his record in Arkansas makes it fairly clear that his not a fiscal conservative. He didn’t do anything tonight to change my mind.

Ron Paul: In all honesty, I’m pretty sure that tonight may be the night that Ron Paul pretty much guaranteed that whatever chance he had of winning the Republican nomination went out the window.

Let me count the ways.

In one of the few YouTube questions directed specifically to him, he seemed to confirm that he believes the nonsensical stories about some conspiracy, of whatever variety, to create a so-called North American Union. Then, in the second hour, he used a phrase in response to a question about foreign policy that I’m convinced will be used against him when he said that we have to take care of “America first.” It doesn’t take too much creative thought on the part of someone to draw a parallel to the last group of people who used that phrase — and they haven’t exactly been proven right by history. Beyond that, I’ve got to say that I don’t think that he did much better in this debate than he did in the MSNBC debate back in October. And this time, the audience seemed far less receptive.

After tonight, I can honestly say that I think that any chance that Ron Paul will be taken seriously by mainstream Republicans is pretty much gone.

Duncan Hunter: Other than advising one YouTube questioner about gun safety, I can honestly say there isn’t anything memorable about anything Congressman Hunter said.

Fred Thompson: Honestly, I forgot to include him in the original version of this post, and that’s probably a reflection of the impression he made on me. If nothing else, this debate just confirmed for me that he’s not the candidate that political junkies such as myself thought he would be back in May. He still doesn’t seem to be totally into the race, and I don’t think he’ll last past Super Tuesday.

Tom Tancredo: For the first half-hour of this debate Congressman Tancredo was in his glory. Three questions in a row, and arguably the fourth, dealt with pretty much the only issue he’s campaigned on —- immigration. Other than that, he didn’t make that much of an impact, although he did have the best line of the night when he said, in response to one YouTubers question about which candidates would promise to put a man on Mars by 2025 “We can’t afford some things, and going to Mars is one of them.”

Unfortunately, that’s pretty much what the night was reduced to is a bunch of one-liners. Then again, I’m not sure why we should have expected anything different.

Cross-posted at Below The Beltway

Further debate reaction from fellow contributer Kevin Boyd. Meanwhile, Brad Warbiany wonders why Ron Paul’s fund-raising success hasn’t impressed the traders at Intrade. Quite frankly, after tonight’s debate, I think I know why.

GOP You Tube Wrap-Up

Tonight, the Republicans had their YouTube debate. I recommend my co-blogger Jason’s live blog about it.

Basically, I think tonight ended some bids for the White House and it gave some dark horse candidates a boost.

Winners: (In order of best to worst)

Mike Huckabee:

He was outstanding in his delivery on all the questions. He has reduced the campaign down to one-liners and quips. Huckabee earned his spot on the ticket tonight, unfortunately. The only question is, which position.

John McCain:

He hit home runs on Iraq and torture. He also criticized Republicans for spending too much. He acted presidential.

Rudy Giuliani:

He did what he needed to do, which was not screwup. His YouTube video was the best of the night.

Losers: (In order of worst to best)

Mitt Romney:

Constantly flip-flopped on everything from immigration to religion to gays. His campaign is pretty much over.

Ron Paul:

Came off as a raving lunatic when talking about well…everything. Except, his response to the last question, which was excellent and the response of agencies to eliminate, except when he went on a tangent about Iraq and set up a home run opportunity for McCain. The criticism of the Iraq War sounded like a “Blame America first” response. Also, Ron Paul missed numerous opportunities to make a cause for the free market and fiscal responsibility and ceded that ground to McCain and others. Paul made no impact with Republican voters tonight but he’ll stay in the top tier because he kept his supporters fired up. Also, the Ronulans that were there drowned out McCain when he responded to Paul and that will not go well with Republican voters.

Fred Thompson:

He didn’t stand out overall, but when he did, it was because he was too mean. His YouTube video was the worst of the night. Fred Thompson needed a good performance and he didn’t deliver. His campaign is over as he’ll now fall off the top tier.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at The Hayride.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

Why Is Ron Paul Slipping On Intrade?

I’ve long been a fan of Intrade, as I’ve pointed out here, here, and here. I’ve noted that Ron Paul, for quite some time, has been trading higher on Intrade than he’s been polling.

But something recently changed, and rather inexplicably. When the Ron Paul advocates raised $4.2M in one day, I expected to see a big bump in his share price on Intrade. But it didn’t happen. Instead, from his peak of about a 9 share on that day, he’s now slipped to roughly 5.5. Why?

Looking at the top candidates, I see that Giuliani has increased share at the expense of Romney, and McCain has held roughly constant. The only explanation that I can see is a surge by Huckabee. Huckabee has become the media darling as a dark horse candidate, and it seems the evangelicals are backing him pretty forcefully. Since they’re both dark horse candidates, I could see traders making a move towards Huckabee rather than Paul. The only other explanation I can see is that perhaps traders were expecting Paul’s money position to lead to poll results, which doesn’t seem to have materialized.

But perhaps I’m missing something. I know there are a lot of people who read this blog that are passionate about Ron Paul. Feel free to offer your own analysis in the comments, because I’m somewhat baffled.

John Edwards Doesn’t Trust The FDA

He won’t tell you this, though. In fact, he wants you to believe he’s here to help you, as part of the “other” America. But in fact, when he fights against advertising for drugs that have passed FDA certification on “safety” grounds, he’s implicitly telling you that he doesn’t believe the FDA is certifying drug safety:

Can we give John Edwards a taste of his own medicine?

One of the nostrums the Edwards presidential campaign proposes is a two-year ban on advertising for prescription drugs. Even if a drug makes it through the FDA’s hurdles, Edwards wants to prohibit the drug company from telling you about it for two more years.

Why this assault on First Amendment rights? Edwards says it’s to “prevent television ads from driving consumers to drugs that haven’t been proven safe.”

I’m sure my fellow libertarian bloggers will attack Edwards as being an opponent of freedom of speech, and generally willing to substitute his own opinion for ours. In fact, I assume that if the healthcare plan Kevin posted about were to get passed, Edwards would personally determine what drugs you need to take and then hire federal marshals to forcibly administer them. But that’s just the kind-hearted sort of guy he is.

What I’d rather focus on is his implicit acknowledgment of a fact that we are all painfully aware: the FDA is not exactly a foolproof gateway certifying drug safety. Of course, expecting them to be foolproof is something only a fool would do. Prescription drugs are all unsafe to various degrees. But the FDA assumes that the power to determine exactly what level of danger is acceptable resides within their walls.

John Edwards is suggesting that drugs should be available to patients before they’re proven safe, and those patients should be the guinea pigs of testing before the manufacturers are allowed to advertise the drugs. If that’s the case, what use is the FDA? If John Edwards believes the FDA doesn’t do an adequate job of certifying drug safety, why don’t we allow individuals to choose what level of danger they find personally acceptable?

If taking away our freedom through the FDA isn’t actually keeping us safe, Edwards would never give us the freedom to determine for ourselves what is safe. After all, he thinks we’re simply sheep, being “driven” to pharmaceuticals because we saw them on TV. You really want to know what Edwards thinks of you?

I love the ads,” a sarcastic Edwards told voters at a town hall meeting at Rundlett Middle School in Concord. “Buy their medicine, take it and the next day you and your spouse will be skipping through the fields.”

The message is: “you’re too dumb to think for yourself, so let me do it for you”. It’s a sad day when the candidate who actually has principles and ideas languishes in the polls, while the charlatans like Edwards who unabashedly pander to the lowest common denominator are polling at 23% in Iowa.

John Edwards Demands You Have Healthcare

Trial lawyer and Democratic Presidential candidate John Edwards revealed how he will force all Americans to enroll in Edwardscare:

“I’m mandating healthcare for every man woman and child in America and that’s the only way to have real universal healthcare.”

“Evertime you go into contact with the helathcare system or the govenment you will be signed up.”

During a press avail following the event Edwards reiterated his mandate:

“Basically every time they come into contact with either the healthcare system or the government, whether it’s payment of taxes, school, going to the library, whatever it is they will be signed up.”

When asked by a reporter if an individual decided they didn’t want healthcare Edwards quickly responded, “You don’t get that choice.”

Of course the solution to avoid Edwardscare is don’t pay taxes, keep the kids out of government schools, and stay out of government libraries. If you want to go farther to avoid Edwardscare, use gold and silver as currency, become as self-sufficient as possible, and keep enough firepower on hand to defend yourself against all enemies.

Edwards, if elected, may find that he’s unleashed a hornets nest with his little healthcare mandate.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at The Hayride.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.
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