Category Archives: live blogging

Aren’t You Glad To Be A Gamma?

I had a really interesting philosophical discussion with Brad Warbiany, our curator at The Liberty Papers, over a Facebook status I wrote. I had just re-listened to the CBS Radio Workshop rendition of Brave New World and had commented that it seemed like a far more livable situation than 1984.

Warbiany added that California, if Prop. 19 passes and allows the modern equivalent of soma to be freely ingested, the state really will look like Brave New World. With the state already self-organized into a caste system (Listen to someone from Northern California talk about Southern California or someone from Berkeley talk about Sacramento some time), abortion and every sort of contraceptive widely available and the domination of a vapid mass culture (seen at San Diego Comic Con or Wonder Con in San Francisco) taking precedence over civic involvement for Californians, the Golden State really resembles Huxley’s “negative utopia.”

Warbiany also handed me this great cartoon:
Orwell v. Huxley

On Twitter, alot of progressive and libertarian leaning activists tend to advocate alot for issues of freedom and emancipation in countries like Iran or China. In a way, situations in so obviously repressive countries like those are much easier for the activist. They fit into the Orwell dynamic and the villains and heroes are very clear. In his opposition to the death penalty, our own Stephen Littau does take on the American equivalent to state repression. Along with questionable foreign policy and drug policy, however, those are really the only avenues for passionate American political activism.

Beyond such clear issues of state force, however, one runs into a brick wall when faced with the mass culture, dullness and vapidity of consumer society. It seems that in this society, the majority of more normal people (myself and most people reading this strongly excepted) do not become Jeffersonians but instead “turn on, tune in and cop out,” as Gil Scott Heron once said. How does one become an activist in a society in which people freely subjugate, segregate and limit themselves?

I have a funny story that relates to this, that I didn’t even remember until I read what Brad said. While living in Alameda, California, I lost my phone. A teenage girl, around college age most likely, found it and called my mom, who e-mailed me about it. When I got the phone back, I was really grateful but had no money on hand. The only possession I had literally was a copy of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. I offered it to her.

She literally responded, “No thanks. I don’t read.”

I know. Alameda is not a low income area where reading should be rare, either. There are several bookstores in the area, along with hip restaurants, record stores and everything else you expect in cosmopolitan society. It even has an incredible vintage movie theatre that I rank as the best in Northern California, next to Oakland’s Grand Lake Theatre. This girl was obviously more involved in other factors of modern life, all of which I can safely assume are of less consequence intellectually than the work of Huxley.

It’s especially ironic given that there is a passage in Brave New World in which infants are given books while bombarded with screeching, loud noises, in order to dissuade them from being too intellectual when they reach adulthood. With video games, television, the internet and iPhones, that seems unnecessary as modern people have been incentivized out of intellectualism.

That girl did go to extra trouble to give me my phone back, with no advantage to her, however. That means she had a decency and sense of altruism that her lack of reading hadn’t impeded. Having grown up around the hyper-educated and being on that road myself, I can also attest that we’re not the nicest group of people. Perhaps then we really are on the road to progress.


A libertarian live-blog of the State of the Union address

United Liberty’s live-blog of the State of the Union address will begin around 8:30pm. President Barack Obama will begin his speech to the joint session of Congress around 9pm.  Liberty Papers contributors Jason Pye, Kevin Boyd and Stephen Gordon will be among the live bloggers for the event.  Trying to insert the embed code now.  Here goes…

Live Chat With Mayor Cheye Calvo Tonight @ 8 p.m. EST (5 p.m. PST) @ The Agitator

Check in this Thursday night at 8pm ET with your questions for Cheye Calvo, the Berwyn Heights, Maryland mayor who was subject to a violent, botched drug raid last year.

Calvo’s pushing legislation that would bring transparency to how Maryland’s police departments use their SWAT teams.

I’m hoping to be home in time to participate in this chat because I am very interested in what Mayor Calvo has to say. For those who are unfamiliar with the story, the mayor spoke at a Cato Policy Forum on September 12, 2008. The full 90 minute podcast can be downloaded here; the podcast below is a much shorter (just under 9 minutes) interview with the mayor following the Cato event.

Post Chat Report:
The chat with Mayor Calvo ended just a few minutes ago. The mayor stayed about a half hour over the scheduled chat to answer more questions from participants. I managed to have a couple of questions answered and the other questions which were asked were also very good. The chat was very informative and worthwhile. Readers who would like to read the full chat can click here.

The mayor answered questions about his ordeal with the SWAT team raiding his home as well as some legislation he is pushing in the State of Maryland. The proposed legislation would require all police departments with SWAT teams to provide monthly reports to the Attorney General, local officials and the general public. These reports would provide the number of raids, general locations, purpose, authorization, and results of raids. The overall goal is to provide additional oversight.

For more information about this legislation and how you can help, go to

Live Blogging the 2008 Libertarian Presidential Debate

7:06 p.m. Barr admires Ayn Rand.

7:10 p.m. Gravel describes the problems associated with the two party system, incorrectly calls the U.S. a democracy, slams big oil, and champions the Libertarian Party.

7:11 p.m. Phillies says vote Libertarian. Describes himself as “the centrist libertarian.” Slams the Bush Administration.

7:14 p.m. Network Down. Sorry.

7:20 p.m. Jingozian’s philosophical hero is Ben Franklin

7:21 p.m. Mary Ruwart’s philosophical hero is also Ayn Rand.

7:23 p.m. Steve Kubby’s philosophical hero was Nolan.

7:25 p.m. Root’s is Yogi Berra

7:30 p.m. Phillies says we should bring the troops home.

7:31 p.m. Jingozian says war in Iraq will not end if Barack Obama is elected…vote Libertarian.

7:33 p.m. Root says war in Iraq was a mistake. He supported the war in the beginning but now says it was a mistake. All future wars must be authorized by congress.

7:35 p.m. Barr says that we should have a defensive military policy rather than offensive.
» Read more

GOP Debate Open Thread

There is another Republican debate tonight on Fox News (8pm EST). I’ve missed the last two or three, so I may sit down and live-blog this one.

The candidates that will be participating are: Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, John McCain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Tom Tancredo and Fred Thompson.

Winners – Giuliani, Romney, Huckabee and McCain
Giuliani, in my opinion, won the debate. He managed to hit Clinton pretty hard and he managed to voice his support for some issues that conservatives care about, such as school choice and private Social Security accounts. Romney is still managing to spin his position changes well and took his shots at Clinton as well. Huckabee is managing to hide his past record and getting along by being humorous. I’ll give the guy this, he is good at communicating a message, but that message belongs to someone else and is far different from the populist crap he espouses on talk shows and what his past record is…but the crowd responded to him. McCain had one of the best reactions from the audience this evening. He managed to stay on point and took some shots at Romney and Cinton.

Losers – Paul, Tancredo, Hunter and Thompson
I’m a Ron Paul supporter, but every time he speaks…I cringe. He manages to turn every question, not matter what subject into a rant about our foreign policy. I don’t disagree with him at all, but he is preaching to an audience that doesn’t want to hear him. Tancredo just isn’t clear. We know he is anti-immigration, but he has trouble communicating his opinion that or any other topic. Hunter needs to get out of the race. The guy is either intellectually dishonest or just doesn’t understand economics. Thompson is simply not the savior that conservatives wanted. The more they find out about him, the less they support him.

[7:56pm] Fox News is going through the pre-debate focus group, all of whom are saying that they want another Ronald Reagan.

[7:58pm] They just gave out the text voting information. I’m going to go ahead and declare Ron Paul the winner of that. It’s just a hunch I have.

[8:02pm] Brit Hume is getting it started along with Carl Cameron, Chris Wallace and Wendell Goler, as well as a welcome message from the Republican Party of Florida and Gov. Charlie Crist.

[8:04pm] The candidates are lined up like this: Tancredo, Paul, Huckabee, Giuliani, Romney, Thompson, McCain and Hunter.
» Read more

GOP Debate Liveblogging and Instant Commentary (6/5/2007)

Tonight, the Republican candidates, minus Fred Thompson, are debating in New Hampshire. Basically tonight, the fireworks will be between Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul over foreign policy and everybody vs McCain on immigration.

6:01 PM CDT: First hour, questions will be asked by reporters. No time limits, on honor system with questions limited to one minute. Then if it follows the Democratic debate format, it will be a QandA from the audience.

6:04 PM: Mike Huckabee, “I’m from Hope, Arkansas and all I ask is that you give us one more chance”.

6:05 PM: Mitt Romney asked if Iraq was a mistake. Said Saddam violated international law and weapons inspections. Said Iraq War was poorly conducted. Slams Harry Reid. Wants to stablize Iraq.

6:06 PM: Mitt Romney given another shot to answer the question. Romney won’t answer the question calling it a hypothetical, but we did the right thing.

6:06 PM: Rudy Giuliani ties Iraq to War on Terror. Attacks Democrats calling them in denial of terrorism. Says Iran is closer to nuclear weapons than thought.

6:07 PM: McCain asked if he read intelligence reports. Says sanctions were breaking down and Oil For Food was a joke. Right thing, but war was mismanaged.

6:08 PM: Sam Brownback, says something about reading intelligence reports. Wants a partition.

6:09 PM: Jim Gilmore says we must create stability.

6:10 PM: John McCain asked if General Petraeas (sp) reports surge is a failure. McCain will not withdraw under any circumstances.

6:12 PM: McCain, “there are no good options if the surge fails”.

6:13 PM: Tommy Thompson, eh who cares.

6:16 PM: Ron Paul says we went to war over UN resolutions.

6:17 PM: Tancredo wants more Iraqization.

6:17 PM: Brownback, talk with Iran but no diplomatic relations. Iran is a terrorist sponsor. He likes labor unions, if they’re in Iran. In America, unions can go to hell.

6:18 PM: Duncan Hunter can talk or bomb Iran, their choice. He’ll nuke ‘em also.

6:20 PM: Rudy Giuliani, all options on the table. Democrats stuck in 1990s. Well considering that Rudy is stuck in September 2001….

6:20 PM: Huckabee, Iran wants to dominate the Middle East.

6:21 PM: Romney wants to step back and look at the big picture. Wants to empower moderate Muslims…Mitt, they don’t exist.

6:23 PM: Tancredo on immigration: America won’t survive because those damn uppity Mexicans insist on keeping their culture.

6:25 PM: Rudy Giuliani, says immigration is too compromising.

6:26 PM: Romney asked about immigration flip-flopping: states his latest position.

6:27 PM: McCain slams Tancredo, “educates” Rudy, wants all Republicans to come around Dubya. Sorry, wrong audience Johnny.

6:29 PM: Rudy flip-flopping on immigration. Mentions September 11.

6:30 PM: Romney wants to enforce the immigration laws.

6:31 PM: Hunter asked about “doing the jobs Americans want do”. Says wrong premise. Administration slowed his fence bill with an amnesty.

6:33 PM: Brownback supports something. Probably needs to consult a pollster before he can say what.

6:34 PM: Tommy Thompson, eh who cares.

6:34 PM: Ron Paul no fence with Canada. Subsidizes illegal immigration with welfare programs.

6:36 PM: John McCain opposes English as an official language because of the native American reservations. They use their native languages.

6:37 PM: Jim Gilmore, he’s the real conservative. Not Rudy McRomneyson.

6:39 PM: Tommy Thompson…ZZZZzzzz…

6:40 PM: Rudy Giuliani asked about abortion, lightening causes technical causes. Still for it.

6:41 PM: Mitt Romney asked about abortion flip-flopping. Still flip-flopping.

6:43 PM: Huckabee asked about creationism, he’s insulted. Huckabee is the real Christian in this race, according to him at least.

6:45 PM: Brownback, another real Christian.

6:46 PM: McCain, let schools decide.

6:47 PM: Romney educates us about Mormonism.

6:48 PM: Paul supports local choice on religion.

6:49 PM: Giuliani believes in the global warming cult.

6:50 PM: Romney wants Big Oil to invest in R&D. What if they don’t Mitt?

6:52 PM: McCain likes nuclear power.

6:53 PM: Paul opposes subsidies. Takes his shot at the “Blood for Oil” line.

6:54 PM: Jim Gilmore opposes Kyoto.

6:55 PM: Paul supports “Don’t Ask for Tell”. Wants individuals to be treated the same regardless.

6:56 PM: Huckabee says its about behavior, not because they’re homos.

6:57 PM: Giuliani wants to rely on commanders. He wants nation building training.

6:58 PM: Romney ah missed what he said, though I’ll hear the opposite in a couple of weeks.

6:59 PM: McCain, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is working”.

7:00 PM: Tommy Thompson….wants Bush to lecture about honesty and integrity.

7:02 PM: Brownback….nothing of interest.

7:02 PM: Tom Tancredo “never darken the door of this builidng again”.

7:03 PM: Huckabee, Republicans didn’t do their job. Of course, he did though. Nevermind those tax increases he signed as governor.

7:04 PM: Hunter wants to pardon two corrupt Border Patrol agents named Campenos and Ramon.

7:05 PM: Giuliani wants to pardon Scooter Libby. Unfortunately, Mike Milken didn’t meet this new Rudy.

7:08 PM: The Dr. Phil segment break.

7:13 PM: Dr. Phil segment begins.

7:14 PM: Woman whose brother was killed asks what candidates would do to end war. Duncan Hunter says death was worth it. Wants to set up a free Iraq. Brownback wants to partition and run from Iraq. McCain opposes partition. Gives straight talk, war was mismanaged. Wants democracy for Iraq.

7:18 PM: Woman whose husband served in Iraq asks about how we’re going to help Iraqi government. Ron Paul wants to stop patrolling Iraqi streets. Opposes nation building. Giuliani says Iraq will make America safer if we succeed. We must nation build. Giuliani asks CNN if Petraeus gives good report, will it be reported?

7:22 PM: Attorney asks if conservation and conservatism can co-exist. Jim Gilmore says it can. Tancredo says the free market and conservation can work together.

7:25 PM: Guy asks about drug reimportation. Giuliani believes in free market principles (yeah right). Hunter opposes drug reimportation.

7:28 PM: Question about single-payer health care: Thompson opposes it. Romney supported it before he was against it.

7:32 PM: True Christian Huckabee asked about morality. He’s against abortion and doesn’t want old people abused and kids under bridges. Libertine Giuliani supports liberty (no he doesn’t). Ron Paul says we support preemptive war. That’s unChristian oppose nuclear war against Iran. Brownback is opposed to abortion also. Brownback will support the pro-abortion Giuliani though if he gets the nomination.

7:39 PM: Romney asked about his flip-flopping and more specifically why is he airing Spanish ads if he believes in English first. Because he loves immigrants, not just their votes.

7:41 PM: Tancredo won’t advertise in Spanish. That’s probably a good idea.

7:42 PM: McCain likes Hispanics, really.

7:43 PM: Candidates asked where they disagree with Bush. McCain, “Spending, spending, spending, and corrpution.”. Giuliani, “establish accountability and Republicans became Democrats”. Romney, something about a vision. Brownback, “spend on cancer”. Thompson, “Washington changed us.” Change health care, end war in Iraq. Tancredo, “Bush ran as a conservative and governed as a liberal”. Paul, “President ran on a policy of no nation building and changed his mind. Cut war spending and spend more at home.” Paul is obviously at the wrong debate. Gilmore, “I’m against Hillary”. Hunter, “party has to reunite with the American family”. Huckabee, “communicate better than Bush”.

7:49 PM: Candidates asked what it is to be American. Tancredo “cut ties with past country”. Tancredo wants to stop all immigration. Huckabee wants to admit immigrants like at a sports stadiums. Giuliani likes legal immigration and says being an American is how much you believe in freedom. If that’s the case, than Giuliani is definitely not an American. McCain, “America is still the land of opportunity”.

7:54 PM: Candidates asked about reaching out to moderates. Gilmore, anti-tax. Hunter thinks everyone else is a moderate. Rudy McRomney is influenced by Teddy Kennedy. Romney cites Reagan as a moderate. Wants to run on a three tier platform “strong military, strong economy, strong family” and optomism. Rudy, “want to accomplish what you want, nominate me”. Democrats are soft on defense. McCain says we are under threat.

7:59 PM: Debate is over….thank God.

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 IJ and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

GOP Debate Liveblogging and Instant Commentary (5/15/2007)

7:57 PM Central, the candidates have taken the stage. Carl Cameron of Fox News says that the candidates might be allowed to be take on each other directly. This debate maybe better than the last one.

8:01 PM: Debate is being simulcast on South Carolina GOP chairman is giving an introduction. Nobody cares.

8:02 PM: Candidates being introduced. The only candidate with weaker applause than the rest was John McCain from the audience.

8:04 PM: Rules being gone over.

8:05 PM: No Falwell mentions allowed.

8:05 PM: McCain asked why Americans should continue to support the failed Iraqi government. Says Al-Qaeda will do nasty things if we leave Iraq. Supports the current strategy. Says Iraqi victory is in national interest.

8:06 PM: Tommy Thompson asked how he’s going to force the “freely elected” Iraqi government to vote whether or not Americans will stay and/or a partition. He defends his Iraq plan, which is actually a good one.

8:08 PM: Mitt Romney won’t project failure in Iraq. Explains the Islamofascist threat. Still has no plan for Iraq.

8:09 PM: Sam Brownback asked is consensus the way to win in Iraq. He supports consensus here at home, by attacking Democrats. Pushes the Jimmy Carter/Bill Clinton political solution for Iraq.

8:11 PM: Rudy Giuliani complains about being misquoted about Iraq and the Republicans. Asked whether or not he supports an open ended commitment for Iraq, dodges the question by talking about Fort Dix.

8:12 PM: Tom Tancredo supports November withdrawal of combat troops. Wants Iraqis to take the lead in Iraq, says Bush has set the November benchmark.

8:13 PM: Ron Paul asked whether or not he’s in touch with Republican voters with his withdrawal stances. He retorts by pointing out opinion polls of all the American people. Wants a declared war. Makes first Reagan reference by pointing out his withdrawal from Lebanon.

8:15 PM: Duncan Hunter asked whether or not Iraqis will actually fight. He says they will. Fighting whom is the question.

8:16 PM: Mike Huckabee asked how much he would listen to his generals. Basically, he’ll take everyone’s advice. Question is, would he fire General McClellan?

8:17 PM: Jim Gilmore asked if he would bomb Iran if they were close to a nuke. He wants serious, tough, UN sanctions and a discussion about Iran’s nukes here at home.

8:18 PM: Romney asked about flip-flopping on the no new taxes pledge, touts that he didn’t raise taxes in Massachusetts, but he did raise fees. Dodges the question overall.

8:20 PM: McCain asked about tax increases, support tax cuts and reigning in spending. Spending was the reason why Republicans lost the election.

8:21 PM: Huckabee supports the FairTax. Makes John Edwards joke about him spending money at a beauty shop.

8:23 PM: Giuliani asked where is his fiscal conservative credentials. He touts a Club for Growth report.

8:24 PM: Brownback asked about gas prices. He likes the ethanol scam in Kansas and Iowa and drilling in Alaska. He likes conservation also.

8:25 PM: Tommy Thompson asked which three programs he would eliminate. Says HHS stockpile needs to be eliminated.

8:27 PM: Ron Paul does much better. Wants to eliminate Education, HHS, and Homeland Security departments. Calls FEMA inefficient. Attacks Iraq War, welfare state, and entitlements. Condemns borrowing. Spent $40 billion before 9/11 and it failed. Past system was inefficient.

8:29 PM: Gilmore asked about Social Security reform wants to talk about it. Gilmore says he is the conservative.

8:31 PM: Duncan Hunter wants to stop the Chinese from stealing American jobs. Eliminate taxes on manufacturers.

8:32 PM: Tom Tancredo says Republicans have no fiscal discipline. Outlines the crimes of the Republican party. He wants to follow the Constitution.

8:33 PM: Commercial Break.

8:37 PM: Gilmore slams Romney, Giuliani, McCain, Huckabee. Gilmore has come alive.

8:38 PM: Giuliani attacks Hillary and calls her a socialist. Well, duh; but that wasn’t the question. The question is, are you a conservative? Chris Wallace gives him another try to answer the question. Giuliani gives the Eric Dondero response, “somebody said I’m conservative therefore I’m conservative”.

8:40 PM: McCain asked about his liberalism. Defends McCain-Feingold as bi-partisanship and working for the common good.

8:42 PM: Huckabee was attacking for raising taxes. Jokes about not being part of Rudy McRomney. Huckabee points out that gasoline tax was supported by 80% of Arkansas residents. Claims he was forced to raise education spending.

8:43 PM: Romney asked about his flip-flops. Still supports an assualt weapons ban. Likes the gays but opposes gay marriage. Claims he stood up for life, marriage, death penalty, abstinence education, and other conservative values. He’s still a flip-flopper.

8:44 PM: Brownback asked about amnesty and Iraq and Reagan. Says Reagan was a great compromiser.

8:46 PM: Tommy Thompson supports embryonic stem cell research.

8:47 PM: Rudy Giuliani asked about abortion, he says he wants to reduce abortion.

8:49 PM: Huckabee not liking Giuliani’s position, but he respects it because he’s honest. (Dig at Romney and Gilmore).

8:50 PM: Brownback asked about opposition to abortion even as a result of rape. One of the best answers to this difficult question I’ve heard.

8:51 PM: Romney asked about people who die during back alley abortions. Romney looked at the issue “long and hard”. Cloning pushed him toward the pro-life stance. I think it was probably polling, not cloning.

8:53 PM: Tancredo asked about immigration. He says McCain is soft on immigration. Slams candidates for “conversions” on the issues on the road to Des Moines.

8:54 PM: McCain opposes amnesty. Points out his bill is supported by President Bush. Says expired visas are bigger problem than border jumpers. He’s right. Chris Wallace asks McCain about the perception of him running away from his own bill. McCain says this is not the case.

8:56 PM: Romney asked about immigration flip-flops. Opposes amnesty, but also supports amnesty as well. Draws applause after attack on McCain-Feingold.

8:58 PM: McCain attacks Romney as a flip-flopper. Draws applause.

8:58 PM: Giuliani tries attempt at humor by thanking Tancredo for calling him soft. Asked about his flip-flopping on immigration. Dodges the question by saying he’s now tough on immigration.

9:00 PM: Hunter asked about how immigrants will be stopped from getting social services. He built San Diego fence. Attacks Bush on immigration. Border is biggest security threat. Dodges the question. Draws applause.

9:01 PM: Paul takes another question about being out of step with the party on Iraq. Points out Republican’s traditional isolationism. Republicans ended Korean War and Vietnam War. Republicans have been traditionally non-interventionist. Asked if non-intervention ended on 9/11. Paul says 9/11 was caused by interventionism. Paul says we should listen to Al-Qaeda.

9:04 PM: Giuliani was personally offended. Attacks Paul on 9/11 response. Draws loud applause. Asks Paul to withdraw his comment.

9:05 PM: Paul talks about blowback. Points out Iran example (a bad example).

9:05 PM: Wendell Goler asks McCain about Confederate flag. McCain says he was wrong in 2000 when he said flag should stay on state capital. He supports current agreement where it flies at a Confederate monument. Wants to move on. Very loud applause.

9:07 PM: Huckabee asked about controversial parole of a rapist. Huckabee denied him clemency.

9:08 PM: Tancredo asked about global warming. Doesn’t believe in man made global warming. Wants to reduce petroleum dependence for national security reasons. Muslims cause terrorism.

9:10 PM: Commercial break.

9:14 PM: McCain asked about interrogation at Gitmo. McCain opposes torture in all circumstances. Hurts us more than them. Tortured lies to stop torture. Best anti-torture response I’ve heard.

9:16 PM: Giuliani asked about waterboarding. Giuliani would allow torture, but he won’t call it torture. Loud applause.

9:17 PM: Romney wants to prevent terrorist attack. Romney wants Gitmo detainees at Gitmo, draws loud applause. Romney supports torture in all but name.

9:18 PM: Thompson would verify if fictional anti-American country is supporting terrorist attacks against America, then he would attack them.

9:19 PM: Brownback asked about going to UN. Would put American lives over UN opinion.

9:20 PM: Hunter would torture then bomb the country.

9:21 PM: McCain gives another good opposition to torture. Says Americans will be tortured if captured. Draws applause.

9:22 PM: Gilmore says we need share information.

9:23 PM: Huckabee wants to go after terrorists, calling them murderers. He wants Americans to sacrifice. About damn time a leader called on Americans to sacrifice.

9:24 PM: Paul asked about economic policies post attack. He wants to cut spending. Paul calls Enhanced Interrogation what it is, torture. Rambling about Pakistan, Osama, giving money…spouting the talking points.

9:26 PM: Tancredo says waterboarding is not a bad thing after a nuclear attacks, makes a reference to Jack Bauer. All rules out of the window in the fight for Western Civilization. Wants to terrorize the terrorists.

9:27 PM: Gilmore asked about no minority or women Republican candidates. Says how he’s not a racist and he’s built the tent. Wallace wants him to answer the question about minority candidates in the Republican party. Gilmore says they’re coming. Gilmore says we need to look at records.

9:28 PM: Romney asked if he’s grown against the party grassroots. Romney likes the Department of Education. Calls education the civil rights issue.

9:30 PM: Duncan Hunter plays the China threat card again.

9:31 PM: Debate ends

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 IJ and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

GOP Debate Liveblogging

The first Republican party debate of the 2008 is set to begin in about 15 minutes. Right now on MSNBC, which the debate will be shown on, the most vicious partisan hack on television, Keith Olbermann, is doing a pre-debate show.

Quickly, all the candidates have a to do list for tonight. The differences in their list are based on their position in the national and early state polls and how well known they are nationally. Rudy Guiliani, John McCain, and Mitt Romney need to show that they actually have principles that actually don’t change with the latest poll and/or election. Sam Brownback needs to show that he has more issues than banning gay marriage and abortion. Mike Huckabee needs to demonstrate that he is actually a fiscal conservative. Duncan Hunter needs to actually connect with Republican voters. Tom Tancredo needs to show that he has more issues than stopping illegal immigration. Ron Paul needs to increase his profile with actual Republican voters and actually address issues the Republican base cares about. Tommy Thompson and Jim Gilmore both desperately need a Mike Gravel moment.

Tonight will also be a factor as to whether or not men like Fred Thompson, Newt Gingrich, and Chuck Hagel will get into the presidential race.

6:58 PM (all times in Central): Expect no major fireworks tonight. Everyone’s going to be on their best behavior, according to one of the MSNBC hacks, because Nancy Reagan is in the audience.

7:00 PM: Let the games begin.

7:02 PM: Ron Paul will accomplish part of he needs to do tonight, just by where he’s placed; between John McCain and Rudy Guiliani.

7:03 PM: Candidates not allowed to bring in notes; this will be interesting.

7:03 PM: Guiliani is citing his record in New York, comparing himself to Reagan by claiming he turned New York City around. He’s making an appeal to strength.

7:04 PM: McCain on Iraq; basically he’s saying he needs to show success in Iraq and continuing to fight. He’s attacking Harry Reid and he’s giving the worst case scenario. He says Bush is doing a heck of a job.

7:06 PM: Tommy Thompson is calling for al-Malaki’s Iraqi government to decide whether or not they want us there, calling for federalism, and sharing of the oil among the Iraqi people, national government, and state government. Not a bad plan.

7:07 PM: Duncan Hunter wants to build up the Iraqi Army.

7:08 PM: Mitt Romney doesn’t listen to the polls. Yeah right.

7:09 PM: Sam Brownback wants to stand up for our values and work with those who are with us in the War on Terror. We have the Jimmy Carter/Bill Clinton candidate in this race.

7:11 PM: Sam Brownback wants to engage the “moderate Muslim” states.

7:11 PM: Mike Huckabee would have fired Donald Rumsfeld before the 2006 election. He’s accusing Bush of not listening to the generals. I’m guessing he doesn’t read polls either.

7:12 PM: Jim Gilmore is dodging a question about whether or not a shakeup in the Bush cabinet would be a good thing. He’s giving a stump speech about the Middle East.

7:13 PM: Ron Paul is talking about a non-interventionist foreign policy. He’s discussing how Republicans have traditionally run on it. Although I wouldn’t have cited Nixon as an example. He’s bashing the UN. He knows his audience.

7:15 PM: John McCain, “Iran is a bad country, but I’m not sure what I would do about it”. Will bomb Iran on behalf of Israel though if they get a nuke.

7:17 PM: Tom Tancredo addressing something other than immigration. Will aid Israel if Iran threatens them.

7:20 PM: Mitt Romney will move heaven and earth after all to get Bin Laden. He’s actually describing the real enemy, Islamofascism in general.

7:18 PM: Rudy Guiliani citing Ronald Reagan again. Saying Iranians must see Ronald Reagan.

7:19 PM: Jim Gilmore babbling about how we need to catch Bin Laden.

7:21 PM: John McCain asked whether or not Tom Tancredo should be head of ICE. McCain says no. Now making a speech about he’ll capture Bin Laden.

7:22 PM: This stupid question from Chris Matthews about changing the constitution to allow foreigners to run for president. Comment of note: Ron Paul tries to be funny but fails with a joke about original intent.

7:24 PM: Rudy Guiliani in response to a question about his record concerning African-Americans in New York City touts his record….again.

7:24 PM: Mitt Romney asked what he hates about America. Turns it into what he likes about the American people and cites Reagan. Not bad.

7:25 PM: Mike Huckabee got a question about global warming. He dodges it with a speech about how we need to leave the planet in better shape than we got it.

7:26 PM: Tom Tancredo says government should not be involved in organ donation supply. He makes a speech against cloning.

7:27 PM: Duncan Hunter calls himself a compassionate conservative. Calls for war against Iran. Scratch another one off the list.

7:28 PM: Ron Paul will end the IRS and he’s calling for smaller government….a dramatically smaller government.

7:29 PM: Guiliani tries to take both sides of Roe vs Wade. Every other Republican is against it.

7:30 PM: Jim Gilmore is a pro-lifer, except in the first trimester.

7:30 PM: Tommy Thompson wants abortion decided by states.

7:31 PM: Mitt Romney asked about his flip-flopping on abortion. He studied it at great length…trust him.

7:32 PM: Sam Brownback will support pro-choice court nominees. He likes a big tent.

7:33 PM: Rudy Guiliani flip-flops (again) on taxpayer funding on abortion. He’s against it tonight.

7:34 PM: John McCain is using his experience as an asset. Vote for him, he’s a career politician.

7:35 PM: Duncan Hunter is now touting his membership on House Armed Services Committee. Playing the China card.

7:35 PM: Mike Huckabee says America is a great nation because the people are great, not the government. Unfortunately is record says the opposite. The most important issue is life.

7:36 PM: Ron Paul says the freedom message unifies all conservatives. Says we’re too concerned about nations with no army, no navy, or air force after we stand up to the Soviets.

7:38 PM: Mitt Romney doesn’t care who Catholics give communion to.

7:38 PM: Tommy Thompson says companies should make their own decisions on hiring and firing of gays. Imagine that.

7:39 PM: Mike Huckabee says his faith impacts his decision making process. Dodges the question about him attacking Romney on that issue.

7:40 PM: If Mitt Romney had core principles, I could like him. He turned Huckabee’s attack into a positive thing.

7:41 PM: Sam Brownback says faith is important to this country.

7:42 PM: Duncan Hunter says the key to winning is building a wall on the Mexican border. Yep, that worked last year.

7:43 PM: Jim Gilmore dodges question about Karl Rove. It was a stupid question and he’s turning against Chris Matthews and getting out his stump speech.

7:44 PM: Tom Tancredo will fire Karl Rove. They hate each other. He’s playing the outsider.

7:44 PM: Rudy Guiliani says Christian conservatives are nice, but we need to reach out. He’s a conservative, trust him.

7:45 PM: Tommy Thompson “I’m really a conservative”. My response, Medicare Part D.

7:46 PM: Sam Brownback “Democrats are corrupt too”. We need more morals and to rebuild the family to prevent government corruption. He will lead by example…a bold new idea for a government official.

7:47 PM: Tom Tancredo “a conservative can be elected president”. He calls Guiliani an opportunist.

7:48 PM: John McCain is ranting about the “special interests”. Republicans spent too much.

7:49 PM: John McCain wants a line-item veto. He wants to stop the pork in defense acquisitions. Sites the DDX program. Programs must justify their existence. My pick if he didn’t support McCain-Feingold.

7:51 PM: Mike Huckabee won’t grade Bush on Iraq.

7:51 PM: Mitt Romney says he’s the real pro-lifer. Attacks McCain-Feingold.

7:52 PM: Rudy Guiliani is “personally pro-life”.

7:53 PM: Tommy Thompson wants to unite the country to end racism.

7:53 PM: Tom Tancredo clears it up, he is the single issue anti-immigrant candidate in this race.

7:55 PM: John McCain is working on an immigration bill. Bush likes his bill.

7:55 PM: Duncan Hunter did not watch Al Gore’s movie, but he wants to solve global warming and be energy independent.

7:56 PM: Ron Paul when asked about when he made a critical decision in a crisis, says nothing. He attacks the Iraq War, again. He’s coming off as too angry.

7:57 PM: Jim Gilmore does his best with a stupid question about unwed mothers in jail. Reminds everyone that he was governor during 9/11.

7:58 PM: Mitt Romney is doing very well tonight. He’s making stem cell research seem interesting.

7:59 PM: Sam Brownback is against embryonic stem cell research.

7:59 PM: All candidates except Tommy Thompson, John McCain, and Rudy Guiliani are against embryonic stem cell research. Tom Tancredo and Ron Paul make federalist arguments against it.

8:01 PM: Mitt Romney likes RomneyCare. Touts it as a free market program, the facts say otherwise.

8:03 PM: John McCain called on his flip-flopping on the Bush tax cuts. He says he opposed it because there were no spending cuts.

8:03 PM: Mitt Romney thinks middle-income Americans should have 0% taxes on capital gains.

8:04 PM: Sam Brownback likes an optional flat tax.

8:04 PM: Jim Gilmore wants to kill the AMT.

8:04 PM: Mike Huckabee supports the FairTax. Still don’t trust him.

8:05 PM: Duncan Hunter wants to keep jobs in America. It’s the damn foreigners. He likes Kerry’s plan to stop outsourcing.

8:05 PM: Tommy Thompson wants to kill AMT and a flat tax.

8:06 PM: John McCain, no AMT and a $3,000 tax credit for health insurance. A flatter, fairer tax.

8:06 PM: Ron Paul, get rid of income tax. Get rid of inflation tax. No one knows what he’s talking about.

8:07 PM: Rudy Guiliani, keep Bush tax cuts with minor cuts.

8:08 PM: Tom Tancredo, FairTax plus killing the 16th Amendment. Wants spending reforms. If he wasn’t the single issue candidate, I would like him.

8:08 PM: John McCain, I like Democrats but I can’t name any.

8:09 PM: Duncan Hunter, government kills very well; but can’t secure the border.

8:10 PM: John McCain believes in evolution. Another irrelevant question.

8:10 PM: Mitt Romney wants an entirely new team. Very good answer.

8:12 PM: Rudy Guiliani knows the difference between Sunnis and Shias.

8:12 PM: Mike Huckabee is the consistent conservative, except for flip-flopping on taxes and immigration.

8:13 PM: Ron Paul likes the Internet. Turns a stupid question about the lamestream media into a good argument about freedom.

8:13 PM: Sam Brownback says faith is an influence on his foreign policy views. He likes a compassionate foreign policy. Again, Jimmy Carter likes him.

8:14 PM: Rudy Guiliani won’t admit any weaknesses, very smart.

8:15 PM: Sam Brownback is being the nice guy, very smart.

8:15 PM: Jim Gilmore wants to fight outsourcing. So far, we have Hunter, Paul, Gilmore, and Tancredo fighting to be the heir to Buchanan.

8:16 PM: Tom Tancredo likes women, but he’s against abortion.

8:17 PM: Tommy Thompson doesn’t know how many have died or been wounded in Iraq. Another stupid question.

8:17 PM: Rudy Guiliani supports national IDs. If I’m understanding him correctly, it’s only for immigrants.

8:18 PM: Mitt Romney touts Salt Lake City Olympics as his security experience. Supports ID for immigrants.

8:19 PM: Sam Brownback let it slip, Social Security numbers are a National ID.

8:19 PM: John McCain is against hiring illegal aliens.

8:19 PM: Ron Paul is passionately against a national ID.

8:20 PM: Tom Tancredo is also against a National ID, cites Dr. Paul in his reasons.

8:20 PM: Mitt Romney is against the prosecution of Scooter Libby.

8:21 PM: Sam Brownback dodges the question. But feels Libby was railroaded.

8:21 PM: Jim Gilmore also dodges the question.

8:22 PM: Tom Tancredo wants to pardon Scooter Libby after the two Border Patrol agents are pardoned.

8:23 PM: Ron Paul supports jailing Libby, it appears based on his role in the Iraq War leadup.

8:23 PM: Mitt Romney, all sides were right, except for Congress, on Terry Schiavo.

8:24 PM: Sam Brownback supports Congressional action on Terry Schiavo.

8:24 PM: John McCain, Congress should have taken more time.

8:24 PM: Rudy Guiliani, courts should have settled the issue.

8:25 PM: The Republicans are against Bill Clinton’s third term and Hillary too.

8:26 PM: Duncan Hunter says Congress did the right thing on Terry Schiavo.

8:26 PM: Tommy Thompson says no National ID, Congress wrong on Schiavo, and Clinton and all Democrats suck.

8:28 PM: Mitt Romney is his own man, respects Bush’s character, and agrees with the War on Terror.

8:29 PM: John McCain would not have mismanaged the war, vetoed a spending bill.

8:29 PM: Jim Gilmore talks about Homeland Security, not sure what’s he’s saying.

8:29 PM: Mike Huckabee supports federalism.

8:30 PM: Duncan Hunter wants to protect industrial jobs from the evil Chinese.

8:30 PM: Sam Brownback wants to create a Swiss-style federation in Iraq.

8:30 PM: Tom Tancredo is slamming Bush on spending, overreach, and was saying something on Iraq.

8:31 PM: Tommy Thompson is repudiating BushCare, touts his Iraq plan, and wants more Fulbright scholarships.

8:32 PM: Rudy Guiliani wants to change nothing.

8:32 PM: Ron Paul attacks Bush on foreign policy and civil liberties.

Debate is over.

Debate Wrap-up:

Overall, not as bad as I thought it would be. They did jab at each other and candidates did go off the script.

As for who did well, I believe several candidates did well. Mitt Romney had a great night and he did very well. John McCain was more like his candidacy in 2000 as the maverick. Tom Tancredo, despite his best efforts, showed he was more than just a single issue candidate. Mike Huckabee is not only answering criticisms about his fiscal record in Arkansas, but is outlining some bold fiscally-conservative positions.

As for everyone else:

Sam Brownback failed to gain traction on anything other than abortion; except for his rhetoric about a political solution on Iraq. Funny thing is, he doesn’t give what his political solution is.

Ron Paul came off as too angry, but once you got past that, you tell he has very reasoned arguments for his positions. He also needs to start discussing issues other than the Iraq War or he’ll fall into the single issue trap that Sam Brownback, Tom Tancredo, and now Duncan Hunter are falling into.

Jim Gilmore came off as an empty suit with no issue ideas or serious accomplishments. He talked more about Virginia’s car tax than the Federal tax system. He’ll be out by Iowa.

Tommy Thompson has many great ideas, but he needs to work on his technique as Brad points out in the comments

Rudy Guiliani under performed and came off as too much of an authoritarian. I think after tonight we can drop the “Rudy is a libertarian leaner” meme.

Finally, Duncan Hunter was too much of a protectionist and a big government conservative. He just guaranteed that he won’t receive the Club For Growth endorsement.

The next debate and probable live blog will be May 15 when the Republicans debate again.

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 IJ and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.