Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Republican Debate

I am somewhat ashamed to admit I actually watched the Republican debate. I had to force myself, thinking that if I wanted to blog about it I should watch it. I cannot say that I learned very much that I did not already know, but the opportunity to watch eight semi-lunatics at once was tempting. If I had not been told this event was being held in the Ronald Reagan Memorial Library (or whatever it is called) I might have thought it was taking place in Hogwash Hollow. I confess I found it difficult to follow and even more difficult to understand. I found it interesting to learn that each of the three Governors had the best employment records during their terms as Governors, or at least so they claimed. All eight did seem united on at least four points: (1)Everything is Obamas’ fault, (2) they all want Obama defeated, (3) they all want “Obamacare” repealed, and (4) they all want fewer taxes and smaller government, although on this latter point they did not actually dwell as much as usual and you had to mostly infer it from the various comments they made. I found the almost two hours more or less a random miss-mash of Republican ideas we already know about.

As far as their debating skills go they all seemed to me about equal. There was some doubt beforehand that Perry might not hold his own at debating but I think he did. Bachmann likewise, although she appeared to be more careful than she usually is. Everyone else did okay but did not have many opportunities to say much as there were so many of them and the focus was obviously on Romney and Perry. Santorum, Cain, Gingrich, and Huntsman, although when featured did pretty well, they might as well not have been there. Ron Paul was his usual nineteenth century crank who in some ways is probably right, as in wanting to end our empire and get out of Iraq and Afghanistan. It appears that the MSM have decided that Romney and Perry are where it’s at, and the others will no doubt begin to fade (unless one or more of them comes up with something really unusual and appealing).

What I thought was of the greatest interest was not what was said but what was not said. Romney, for example, when criticizing Perry on Social Security, defended the program, insisting that it had to be kept, but it was not mentioned that he is apparently in favor of privatizing it. Even more interesting was the lack of questions having to do with abortion, same-sex marriages, guns, religion, or other so-called social issues. Chris Matthews in the post-debate discussion began criticizing Santorum for not mentioning any of these issues, which I thought was unfair as Santorum pointed out none of those questions had been asked. There was of course no mention at all of Bush/Cheney, their contribution to the deficit or their war crimes. I also thought there was surprisingly little attention paid to jobs, given the importance of that issue at the moment, and what there was revolved around the same old tired Republican line about reducing taxes on corporations and the wealthy, doing away with regulations and letting the market economy make things right, exactly the same beliefs that got us into this terrible situation in the first place.

I think the one thing I learned to my horror was that Rick Perry actually seems to believe Social Security truly is a Ponzi scheme, and that global warming and evolution are still unsettled issues. I suppose you could argue it is to his credit that he stuck up for these ridiculous claims, but I believe that while these positions might help him with the Tea Party and the Republican nomination, they will never get him elected President. As far as I am concerned his defense of them tonight should have ended his candidacy. Of course neither he nor Romney mentioned Bernie Sander’s relatively simple solution to keep Social Security solvent for the next 75 years, while insisting it is either a Ponzi scheme or “in trouble,” nor did they mention the fact that Social Security has nothing whatsoever to do with the deficit. When it comes to Social Security, for Republicans, no lie is too egregious to be used against it.

The one thing that continues to be crystal clear is that the Republican Party and all of these candidates are completely devoid of any serious ideas about ending the recession, creating jobs, or doing anything for the betterment of the middle class and the poor. It is not even clear to me they have any real concern for anyone but themselves and their corporate masters. They will do nothing to help Obama even if it means reducing our nation to third-rate status, and our citizens to serfdom. Indeed, it would seem from their behavior, this is what they actually desire.

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