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Republican Debate #1: Great Laughs, Little Else

I watched the Republican Debate last night and made lots of notes, and I'll be writing this weekend on my thoughts as to who the winners and losers are, but bottom line -- the American people have lost again if this is the best the Republicans can offer.

None of them looked presidential, and the ease with which several of the big names choked was nothing less than downright scary.

More on Saturday.


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Rating: 3.7/5 (3 votes cast)


Comments (18)

Or answered the questions without swallowing their tongues and looking like third graders giving their first book reports in the process. Good grief, you could hear the sphincters retracting every time a new question came up.

P. Bunyan:

Well Lee this is excellent news! Based on your post history here at Wizbang Blue and your comment hisory at Wizbang, you have a near 100% perfect record of seeing things totally ass backwards, so when you say:

"None of them looked presidential"

That means they all looked very, very presidential.

I didn't watch the debate but your glowing endorsement of the candidates in this post gives me such great hope.

BTW, isn't it interesting that the Republicans were willing to participate in a debate sponsored by a far, far leftist organization (MSNBC) while the Democrats ran in fear from a chance to participate in a debate sponsored by a right-leaning organizatin (FOX News)? I think that says alot about the quality of the character (or lack thereof) of the diferent factions.

MunDane:

Sure, ninety seconds is more than enought time to articulate positions on complex issues like war in Iraq, Iran building nuclear bombs, National Healthcare, taxes, and the most boneheaded questions of all "Whatdn't you like about America."

Dude, as if.

"I didn't watch the debate but your glowing endorsement of the candidates in this post gives me such great hope."

Not to worry, PB - I hear it's going to be re-run on the Cartoon channel.

It was a dismal showing. Even the conservative commenters here can't think of anything nice to say about it...

MunDane:

The internet questions were stupid, the stage was crowded, 90 second answers is only enough time for a a good one liner and there were a couple, but as for a debate, that was a ten person press conference.

Paul Hamilton:

"Put up your hand if you don't believe in evolution..."

And three of them actually DID!

You guys still can't say anything that indicates any strength in the Republican cadre of clowns? -- instead we just have more whining from the right about the length of time they were given? That's a poor excuse for the poor way in which the questions were answered.

Come on - somebody must have done SOMETHING remotely presidential in your eyes?

No?.... maybe not.

"Put up your hand if you don't believe in evolution..."

"And three of them actually DID!"

It was a great way to pose the question and not leave a way for the candidates squirm out of answering it. They had to either raise their hand or not - if they had been able to answer the question directly they would have just BS'ed their way through an answer without saying "yes" or "no".

Paul Hamilton:

Lee: I hate to see politics reduced to a game of "gotcha," and that's what that question was.

Furthermore, it's not something that has anything to do with the job of a president.

A really good question along that line would be, "How do you envision the role of your religion in your presidency if you are elected?" Yes, there's room to dance in that question, but if someone DOES dance, that might be more meaningful than a simple yes or no.

BTW, my ideal answer to that question would be, "I don't believe that there's a place for religion directly in the affairs of government, but I do believe that a person's faith can give him moral guidance in the decisions he makes as a public servant."

Heralder:

Actually, the evolution question, and the way it was presented was very manipulative. Then again, this was a liberal-run Republican debate.

As far as how apparently laughable it is to not believe in evolution, why would that be?

The completely random mixture of random chemicals, assembling themselves in to random patterns, that were then, at random, jolted into forming themselves into a a complex cohesive organism without any outside design is a little more laughable to me.

It's been best described as "A tornado whirling through a junk yard and accidentally assembling a fully functional 747."

For the record, I didn't watch the debate, so I'm limited to commenting on your comments.

groucho:

The 10 white stiffs on stage last night were runnung all right, running as fast as they could away from Bush and his legacy of failure. Will the Repub nominee really be the guy who does the best job channeling the dead demented actor they all worship?

"Lee: I hate to see politics reduced to a game of "gotcha," and that's what that question was."

"Furthermore, it's not something that has anything to do with the job of a president."

Oh I disagree, most definitely. This question opens the door to a host of other questions. We currently have a sitting President who thinks God speaks through him. I think finding out which of this batch of candidates don't believe in evolution is highly relevant in that context.

And it was manipulative, Heralder I agree. It made them answer the question either yes or no. Not to worry, however, Fox won't allow that in the next debate. In the interest of selling Americans on the GOP, Fox will give the candidates plenty of room to spin and lie and dodge the issue instead.

Heralder:

Lee,

Debates are not meant to be manipulative though. If you're going to ask yes or no questions it's not a debate, just send them all an email and post the responses. It's ridiculous, and it's a waste of time.

"Gentlemen, have you stopped beating your wives yet? Raise your hand if 'yes', don't for 'no'."

People realize a spin or a dodge when they see it, but what we essentially learned from the evolution question is a 50% chance that each candidate is physically capable of raising their hand.

Seeing how well the candidates responded when put on the spot is one of the hallmarks of a great Presidential debate. Emailed questions and answers produced the exact opposite -- a response probably written by a room full of campaign consultants who massaged the answer for an hour to two.... and then coached the candidate on when to blink and when to point with his hands for emphasis (see Romney's "evangelical" posture and performance as an example of that).

On the evolution question the candidates knew (or should have known) this question was coming -- it was listed on the politico.com website Wednesday.

"People realize a spin or a dodge when they see it, but what we essentially learned from the evolution question is a 50% chance that each candidate is physically capable of raising their hand."

Then the people you're referring to weren't paying attention, Heralder - because I think we learned who, on the subject of evolution at least, puts religion before science.

That's important to Christian conservative voters, isn't it? In fact, I'd say it's a pretty safe bet that conservative Christians already knew the answer to that question...

...and now the rest of us do as well. You may find that manipulative - I don't. Knowing which of the candidates is most likely to feel that God is speaking through them as they announce their intention to invade Muslim countries is good to know... really, good to know.

Heralder:

Overall a good rebuttal except for last part:

I don't. Knowing which of the candidates is most likely to feel that God is speaking through them as they announce their intention to invade Muslim countries is good to know... really, good to know.

Taking two things of different context and lumping them together in one sentence preety much amounts to lying, Lee.

You're trusting the Palestinians, but you won't trust the White House. Bad move.

On another note...this is a question that I hope is asked at the next Democratic debate:

"Senior House Republicans are complaining about Democrats' plans to divert "scarce" intelligence funds to study global warming." -- DO YOU THINK THIS IS A WISE MOVE? YES OR NO.

I would think it's important for voters of all stripes to know if the Democrats plan to let another 9/11 happen while they have the CIA looking at weather trends.

Article found here:

http://www.washtimes.com/national/20070503-041023-2858r.htm

"Taking two things of different context and lumping them together in one sentence preety much amounts to lying, Lee."

Sorry, Heralder, I forgot that you already admitted that you comment on comments, not on your own personal knowledge -- or I would have given you more background.

The reemergence of the controversy that President Bush allegedly told Palestinian leaders that God told him to invade Afghanistan and then Iraq is not the only time that his comments regarding God have sparked confusion.

In July 2004, he stopped to campaign with some Amish folks at Lapp Electric Service in Smoketown, Pa. Just as the meeting ended, Bush, according to Mennonite Weekly Review columnist Jack Brubaker, told the group: "I trust God speaks through me. Without that I couldn't do my job." This also produced White House denials that Bush used those words.

Do you have any reason not to trust Mennonite Weekly Review columnist Jack Brubaker?

And to save us both some time:

Brubaker, in a follow-up column, said he checked with his source, an Amish reporter, who rechecked with attendees and had gotten different wording from several of them. "But Bush has said similar things on other occasions," Brubaker noted, citing Bob Woodward's "Plan of Attack," where Bush says he's "surely not going to justify the war based on God . . . Nevertheless . . . I pray I be as good a messenger of his will as possible."

" 'Messenger of his will [or] God speaks through me,' " Brubaker wrote. "The difference seems rather fine."

Hmmm, "Messenger of His will" -- it's got a swell ring to it, and it'll fit on a bumper sticker!

Maybe the next debate should have that specific question - "How many of you here, by a show of hands, feel that one of the responsibilities of the President should include "being a good Messenger of God's will"? - but then Fox wouldn't want us to know the answer to that question - so it ain't gonna happen. Rupert will decide what the American Voter knows and doesn't know in the next round.

Heralder:

Lee,

I specifically mentioned that I was commenting on the comments about the debate, because I didn't see it...so not as much a cheap shot as a swing and a miss. However, in this particular case I will comment directly on what you quoted in the interest of my dwindling time, because it doesn't support what you're trying to say.

So let's look at the important parts you quoted:

"I trust God speaks through me. Without that I couldn't do my job."

WOW, I mean sheesh how clear could it have been that he's speaking about going to war when he doesn't even mention it?

Brubaker, in a follow-up column, said he checked with his source, an Amish reporter, who rechecked with attendees and had gotten different wording from several of them. "But Bush has said similar things on other occasions," Brubaker noted,

Uh oh, do I sense a fake but accurate moment coming on?

where Bush says he's "surely not going to justify the war based on God . . . Nevertheless . . . I pray I be as good a messenger of his will as possible."

The clearest part is in bold Lee. He said it right there, extremely clearly, yet, you and Brubaker prefer dance around it, and say he sort of said it if you look at it correctly (like with your eyes closed.)

Your proposed question is also flawed in the fact that you say "one of the responsibilities of the President"...where no one would contend it's a reponsibility, but a personal choice. Unless of course, you want to revoke freedom of religion in this country and say that everyone serving in the government must be an atheist.

But, the purpose was not to have an honest question, was it Lee, but a political bear trap?

Bear in mind that I'm agnostic, so have no vested interest in defending Christianity. And, if I didn't feel the need to constantly defend Bush from the more ridiculous claims, you'd find I have quite a few complaints about him.

Anyway, have a good weekend.

I don't set bear traps, way too messy - and who wants to deal with a trapped bear?

You have a nice weekend as well, thanks for stopping by.

Paul Hamilton:

Heralder: I didn't watch the debate either. I just saw that clip on a political website. As for evolution, it's not really like a tornado in a junkyard. You can create proto-life from chemical compounds and in fact it has been done in the laboratory. From that point, if a random change occurs which works, it will survive and reproduce more than other forms. Over millions of years and literally trillions of creatures, it just makes sense that lifeforms would become more and more specialized to fit their environments.

But just because I believe in evolution does NOT mean that I'm denying a divine hand in things. The fact that lifeforms are so adaptable and able to change to fit into their environments better indicates more "intelligent design" at a fundamental level than would lifeforms which were fixed forever in one form and doomed to extinction if their environment changed.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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