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Tilting at Windmills

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November 28, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

GOP DEBATE WRAPUP....I got nuthin'. What do I know about which Republican pandered best to the Republican base?

But here's my offhand reaction: Giuliani did pretty well. His attack on Romney in the first few minutes was over the top, but aside from immigration his answers were crisp and he didn't make any big mistakes. Thompson rambled. McCain was pretty good, though his answers could have been sharper. Romney was even more weaselly than usual. Huckabee was very good — though he benefited from not being much of a punching bag. Except for the Thompson attack ad, none of the other candidates really took any shots at him.

Kevin Drum 10:12 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (41)

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The Politico (November 28, 2007)
Giuliani Billed Obscure Agencies for Trips -- "As New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan in the Hamptons, according to previously undisclosed government records."

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii, & currently in Chicago on November 28, 2007 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

His attack on Romney in the first few minutes was over the top...

But not unexpected; see Giuliani's email sent out prior to the debate here.

Posted by: has407 on November 28, 2007 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

I'll bet the illegal immigration issue is a big hit with Native Americans.

Posted by: gen custer on November 28, 2007 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

I smell toast.

Oh, wait. It isn't toast, it's the Giuliani campaign.

Posted by: Stranger on November 28, 2007 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

At this point in time, does anyone still take Kevin Drum seriously? First, RonPaul has actually written about the "NAFTASuperhighway":

house.gov/paul/tst/tst2006/tst103006.htm

And, in fact, there's a House resolution against it:

thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.CON.RES.40:

And, Ruuuddy's law firm is involved in what appears to be the precursor, the Texas leg of the project:

youtube.com/watch?v=ElAvo8EM4uk

And, there's this interesting and related government org:

spp.gov

And, there's all the articles here, including information obtained from the last group under FOIA:

worldnetdaily.com/news/archives.asp?AUTHOR_ID=223

But, the reader should just ignore all that. Listen to Kevin Drum, because he knows what he's talking about.

Posted by: The annoying LonewackoDotCom on November 28, 2007 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

Did anyone pick up on the most offensive answer of the evening? In response to the question by the retired general about gays in the military. Duncan Hunter said that gays should not be allowed because most people in the military are conservative and therefore do not approve of the homosexual lifestyle.

And everyone just went on as if nothing had been said. Anderson Cooper was a slug and the audience behaved as though none of them had a clue.

Posted by: Stuart Shiffman on November 28, 2007 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

At this point in time, does anyone still take Kevin Drum seriously?

Has anyone ever taken you seriously?

Carry on - you're good for a laugh now and then.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 28, 2007 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

Aren't all members of the military Republican? Isn't that why they allowed overseas Florida-based members of the armed forces to mail in their absentee ballots even after election day in 2000?

Posted by: anonymous on November 28, 2007 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK
Did anyone pick up on the most offensive answer of the evening? In response to the question by the retired general about gays in the military. Duncan Hunter said that gays should not be allowed because most people in the military are conservative and therefore do not approve of the homosexual lifestyle.

That's been the argument ever since Clinton tried to address this issue in 1993. I've never heard anyone say that gays aren't capable of serving in the military; rather, the argument against allowing them to serve, or serve openly, has been that their presence would be "disruptive." I'd really like someone who expresses that point of view to be asked, "If the only reason to exclude homosexuals from the military is that the heterosexuals would be unable to tolerate their presence, which group has the problem?"

Posted by: navamske on November 28, 2007 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

WWJD about capital punishment.

If the papers don't print "Slick Mike" tomorrow we'll know they're republican toady weasels. Sure, Huck had a lot of great answers and is more genuine about everything than everyone else on the stage except Ron Paul, but Huckabee's "Jesus was too smart to run for public office" was the slickest most disgusting response of the evening. I expect nothing less than the press to report in detail how he never after all that soul-searching found a death sentence he didn't like. If I'm wrong on this I'll be stunned. As good as he is (for a Republican) that's the scummiest response I could've imagined, which makes him a certain pick for Romney's VP, the night's other weasel, though not half as slick.

Posted by: dennisS on November 28, 2007 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

I was not blown away with any of the candidates. Maybe it's the format, but they just didn't seem that impressive.

Incidentally, a check of google has shown that the retired gay general was a plant. He's a member of Hillary Clinton's Gay Steering Committee.

Posted by: ex-liberal on November 28, 2007 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

I thought Huckabee stomped the group.

He can actually answer policy questions.

Who knew?

His first performance (I'm not teaching Science) seemed anti-academic, but here it actually seems to show that he knows how to do math, and who to ask questions.

Romney spent more time sucking up to God when asked policy questions than Huckabee.

...Giuliani was great at reversing his positions repeatedly on stage. He has a nuanced, educated answer to immigration - and totally knows that he has to throw it out the window to appeal to Republican voters. Lame.

Posted by: Crissa on November 28, 2007 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

The NAFTA superhighway is an enduring RepubliConTarian myth.
We already have I35 that goes from Mexico to almost all the way to Canada.
UN black helicopters … mysterious highways no one sees … Ron Paul's visage on currency like a modern emperor… those people inhabit a really strange universe.

Posted by: Mike on November 28, 2007 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

Incidentally, a check of google has shown that the retired gay general was a plant. He's a member of Hillary Clinton's Gay Steering Committee.

Link?

Posted by: Volatile Compound on November 28, 2007 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

Huckabee clearly won.

This will just add to his momentum in Iowa and elsewhere. Romney's campaign must be in panic mode after this (he had a bad debate too imo). Giuliani's campaign just took a big step towards the nomination.

Its over for Thompson. He looked tired and nervous, still.

Posted by: Jonesy on November 28, 2007 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

There's a version of the "NAFTA Superhighway" story going around that isn't true. However, story is based on scraps of fact, as The Nation puts it: there's a plan in place to bypass unionized West Coast docks and bring goods in through Mexico and up through Loredo, TX.

There really is a project on the drawing board called the Trans-Texas Corridor which is an awful lot like the "NAFTA Superhighway" stories.

Posted by: Joe Buck on November 29, 2007 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

Joe Buck, that Nation story wasn't the half of it. They got a number of letters about that, and in a follow-up to the e-mails, Hayes admitted he needed to learn more.

Oh, and it's Laredo, please. :)

Mike, ditto on it not being all myth.

The Macquarie Group, an Aussie company that has a a major investment in a 157-mile Indiana toll road
(http://www.macquarie.com/us/about_macquarie/media_centre/20070502a.htm)
bought several Texas newspapers this year, presumably as PR flack.

Here's another link for Bracewell Giuliani's link to the Trans Texas Corridor:
http://dfazack.typepad.com/truth_be_tolled/the_feds/index.html

Bracewell-Giuliani also gave Rick Perry $10K for the 2006 gubernatorial race; now you know more of the backstory on why Rick endorsed Rudy.

Just because Ron Paul mentions it doesn't necessarily mean it's a conspiracy theory.

Oh, in my day job, I'm a newspaper editor down here in Tejas. I actually know a little bit about this.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on November 29, 2007 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

Incidentally, a check of google has shown that the retired gay general was a plant. He's a member of Hillary Clinton's Gay Steering Committee.

Link?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28CCf4cEDpI

Posted by: Old Hat on November 29, 2007 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

"...rather, the argument against allowing them to serve, or serve openly, has been that their presence would be 'disruptive.'"

Hmm, kind of sounds like Muslims and the whole cover-the-women thing -- because, ya know, men just can't be trusted to control themselves!

Posted by: Kenji on November 29, 2007 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: Incidentally, a check of google has shown that the retired gay general was a plant.

Old Hat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28CCf4cEDpI

And that makes him a "plant", or his question any less relevant, how?

Posted by: has407 on November 29, 2007 at 12:49 AM | PERMALINK

that the retired gay general was a plant

Well, as much of plant as Norquist was. Maybe a slight labeling concern, but a non-issue. I should say, only a concern to those who still think the non-union actors that appear on reality shows are 'real' people.

(oh btw to anonymous above, maybe i'm feeding a troll, but not all military people are republicans; it was never a majority, and these days, it may not even be anymore a plurality. Blue Girl (G.C.) probably has better anecdotal evidence than i do, however. i just know navy people, not army people)

((oh and btw to the btw, and definitely feeding the troll here, lonewacko, as i point out every single frakin' time i see you bring this up, INTERSTATES, I.E. "SUPERHIGHWAYS" ALREADY RUN FROM THE MEXICAN TO CANADIAN BORDERS!!!))

Posted by: Kolohe on November 29, 2007 at 1:02 AM | PERMALINK

And that makes him a "plant",

Yes.

or his question any less relevant, how?

Because it gives the wingnuts an easy excuse to ignore unpleasant truths. Let the wingnuts embarrass themselves.

Posted by: asdf on November 29, 2007 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

"but not all military people are republicans"

I believe there is a massive difference between the officers and the enlisted. The officers are pretty strongly republican, but the enlisted are basically the same as the whole of America.

Posted by: jefff on November 29, 2007 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

asdf -- Assuming you're being serious (?), that's bullshit. If the question is relevant, the answer is relevant, and who asks the question should be irrelevant. Those who want to avoid those questions will never ask them.

Posted by: has407 on November 29, 2007 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

If the question is relevant, the answer is relevant, and who asks the question should be irrelevant.

A very rational and reasonable viewpoint. But we were discussing wingnuts.

Posted by: asdf on November 29, 2007 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

Re: Republicans in the ranks:

At one point, the Officer Corps was about 65% Republican, and 35% Democrat. (It was lonely duty, lemme tell ya.) But now, it is actually pretty evenly split; with the exception of the Air Force, where the "God Boys" tilt the officer corps slightly Republican, and embarrass the living shit out of the rest of us. Fortunately, they are on their way out. (Don't forget about those loose nukes last summer. We haven't heard the last of that. (I hope.))

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 29, 2007 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

If the General is a plant, what the fuck are we gonna call Grover?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 29, 2007 at 1:57 AM | PERMALINK

Kolohe, you don't live in Texas; you don't know shit about the Trans Texas Corridor. Read my first comment.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on November 29, 2007 at 2:31 AM | PERMALINK

Leaderless and Clueless: America Heads for the Trash Can of History
By Paul Craig Roberts

... Americans are unable to connect their dissatisfaction with the current political leadership with their choice of new leaders. All polls show that Hillary Clinton is far in the lead for the Democratic presidential nomination and Rudy Giuliani is far in the lead for the Republican nomination These are the only two candidates guaranteed to be worse than Bush/Cheney.

Both Hillary and Rudy are committed to the war. Both refuse to rule out expanding the war to Iran and beyond. Both are totally in the pocket of the Israel Lobby. Indeed, practically every Giuliani advisor is a member of the Lobby. Both defend the police state measures that "protect us from terrorism." And neither gives a hoot for the US Constitution and the civil liberties it guarantees. The Republican Giuliani is likely to overturn the Second Amendment even quicker than the Democrat Hillary. ...

Yet in November polls, Republicans prefer Giuliani by a margin of five or six to one over Ron Paul, the only principled Republican candidate and a person who without any doubt believes in the Constitution and would protect it.

Democrats prefer Hillary by a margin of twenty to one over Dennis Kucinich, the only member of Congress sufficiently concerned and courageous to introduce impeachment against the notorious war criminal Dick Cheney. By margins as much as forty-four to one, Democrats prefer Hillary to Senator Christopher Dodd, who promises to give America back its Constitution in the first hour of his administration. Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel does not even register in the polls.

Obviously, the American people haven't a clue. ...

... It is only a matter of time before America succumbs to the plutocracy, against which Warren Buffet recently warned Congress, or the fascist tyranny that Naomi Wolf sees in our future.
.

Posted by: Poilu on November 29, 2007 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK


What a group of presidential candidates! All support a backward policy against gays in the military, some would end the income tax, most support unregulated gun ownership, most oppose sensible policies on illegal immigration, and one won't condemn waterboarding.

Do they think we need all those guns to protect against the threat of gay marriage?


homer www.altara.blogspot.com

Posted by: altara on November 29, 2007 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

SocraticGadfly-

The trans-texas cooridor as currently conceived may or may not be a good idea for transportation spending for Texas and US taxpayers. Calling it the NAFTA SUPERHIGHWAY is as disingenuous and fear-mongering as would calling I-95 the DRUG AND GUN SUPERHIGHWAY. Trivially true, but grossly misleading.

If you or anyone else want to oppose a transportation project because it 1) is an unwise or suboptimal use of taxpayers funds, 2) has serious environmental effects effects along its route or 3) an example of eminent domain abuse, I will listen to the policy argument.

If, however, you argument is the same as lonewacko's, that this is the first step in a plan for dirty mexicans to stream across the borders to take our jerbs and integrate us into an EVIL NORTH AMERICAN SUPEREMPIRE, you (and lonewacko) are morons.

Posted by: Kolohe on November 29, 2007 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans in the ranks-
Thanks for the info G.C. My experience with the navy seems to be slighlty reversed; most senior enlisted tend to be more republican (because tend to be more Southern Christian Conservative) than most officers I know. However, prior enlisted officers, tend to be the most republican of all.

But,
(*Caution: I am denser than a neutron star and I may be missing a joke or sarcasm from above*)
Can we please stop the canard that the b-52 nuke thing was some sort of deliberate action of Christianist End-Times Neo-con Anti-Iranian Generals. It was a colossal clusterf--- of epic proportions, where many people should lose their jobs due to gundecking and/or other types of negligence. It probably also requires procedural changes to correct a previously unknown hole in the system. But whenever I see anything that says it was a plot, I throw that in the same mental circular file as vince foster stories.

Posted by: Kolohe on November 29, 2007 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

GOP DEBATE WRAPUP....I got nuthin'.

Coincidentally, neither do the Republicans.

Posted by: Gregory on November 29, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

What was that really shinny, wet-looking stuff on Romney's spiky hair?

Posted by: JoAnn C. on November 29, 2007 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Kohole, first, TTC is bad enough on its own merits. That's environmental merits, "land takings" merits, a non-Peak Oil transportation answer merit and more.


In the big picture, I'm not arguing that TTC IS the NAFTA Superhighway; I will argue that it could well be, though.

Take the proposed I-69 corridor extension and how the eastern TTC in Texas could become part of that. Macquarie's interest in Texas, and its already having toll road holdings in Indiana, position it well should TTC become NAFTA Superhighway.

Let me use an analogy from global warming. It's pretty certain temps will rise 2-3, maybe 4 degrees 4. That's bad enough. But, they could rise 9-10 degrees.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on November 29, 2007 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

S. G.
Fair enough. But my thinking of the analogy would be

level 1-
GW: Temps are going to rise by 2-3 degrees
Anti-TTC: This is a bad use a taxpayer funds because the public benefit is outweighed by the cost and enironmental damage that will be done.

level 2-
GW: Temps may go up by as much as 9-10 degrees
Anti-TTC: The politcos in favor of this may be more interested in helping their friends at the expense of the public.

level 11-
GW: OMG!! THE OCEANS ARE GOING TO BOIL AWAY!!1!!1
Anti-TTC: OMG!! NAFTASUPERHIGHWAY & NORTEAMERICANOUNIDAD & DIRTYMEHICANS!1!!1

ymmv.

Posted by: Kolohe on November 29, 2007 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Kolohe, short of Ron Paul types, I can't speak for Lone Wacko. As for myself, using your scale, I would call the potential here a Level 4-5, not just Level 2.

Remember, rule No. 1 of politics is always follow the money.

And, besides Macquarie, we have Bracewell Giuliani's campaign donations to Rick Perry. They're surely buying some sort of potential as well as actuality on a variety of things, not just TTC, or TTC as potential NAFTA superhighway.

Also, Ron Paul, or even Lone Wacko, aside, ask yourself why so many Canadians are up in arms. Stereotypes aside, or included as generalizations, does the Canadian populace in general strike you as too moved toward conspiracy theories?

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on November 29, 2007 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

An acquaintance sent this Brit re-cap of the CNN debate.

* * * * *

http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/CampaignStandard/2007/11/


Richelieu: A Depressing Debate
November 28, 2007 • By Richelieu

What a depressing debate. CNN's long slide into mediocrity accelerates. Is this what running for president of the greatest democracy in the world has become? Standing in front of CNN's corporate logo in a hall full of yowling Ron Paul loons and enduring clumsy webcam questions from Unabomber look-a-likes in murky basements?

I feel lucky to be from an earlier century where your own founding fathers knew that the secret to government is to protect it from the daily mob. Clearly the boundless paranoia of middle-aged media executives about the kids and their mysterious "Internet" has led them to stoop to this kind of pandering foolishness. They should feel shame tonight.

So, a good night for for the lowest denominator, a bad night for the GOP. America got to see a vaguely threatening parade of gun fetishists, flat worlders, Mars Explorers, Confederate flag lovers and zombie-eyed-Bible-wavers as well as various one issue activists hammering their pet causes. My cheers went to a listless Fred Thompson who easily qualified himself to be president in my book by looking all night like he would cheerfully trade his left arm for an early exit off the stage to a waiting Scotch and good Cuban cigar.

The media will probably award a win to Mike Huckabee, the easy listening music candidate at home in any crowd, fluent in simpleton speak and the one man on the stage tonight who led the audience to roaring cheers by boasting that he had a special qualification to be president that none of the second-raters on the stage could match: A degree in Bible Studies from Ouachita Baptist University of Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

Posted by: JeffII on November 29, 2007 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl, Red State: "If the General is a plant, what the fuck are we gonna call Grover [Norquist]?"

Unindicted co-conspirator.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii, & currently in Chicago on November 30, 2007 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK

McCain blames Rise of Hitler on Ron Paul
Not Invading and Occupying other Countries Branded 'Isolationism'
By Juan Cole

In a new low of despicable looniness, at the Republican debate in St. Petersburg, John McCain equated those Americans who want to stop militarily occupying Iraq with Hitler-enablers. He actually said that, saying that it was 'isolationism' of a sort that allowed Hitler to come to power. ...
.

Posted by: Poilu on November 30, 2007 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

S.G.-
Let me preface this by saying my own eccentric political preferences have caused me to actually donate a small sum to the Paul campaign, (the only donation I have ever made in my life) but intend to vote for Clinton at any election I am able to do so.

And for all practical purposes, whatever Texas wants to do with its transportation funds is up to Texas, I don't really care (and I don't care what MO, or IN, or MI or any other state does either, except for VA and HI, where I do have a taxpayer/resident interest.) As a federal taxpayer, it is immaterial, because the reality is that most transportation funding, even federal contributions, are allocated based on local politics. The only *really* weird (or principled?) thing about Paul that he was willing to oppose a highway project in his state. [For instance, both the Murkowski and Stevens clans seemed pretty hunky dory with former Senator Young's pet project of the Ketchikan airport bridge. OTOH, Palin killed it, so there still may be some hope for our republic just yet.]

As for Canada, I am not surprised at a knee jerk reaction against any United States government initiative. I have relatives in Atlantic Canada that I visit every year. The central organizing principle of Canadian politics is anti-Americanism, and has been since 1783. I'm not saying this to be derogatory, its simply a fact. It normally manifests itself of the type of sentiment "eh, the americans are doing so and so, that's nice and all eh, but we're going to do things this (different) way". My experience with the Canadians I know is that they absolutely hate all the new post 9/11 border crossing rigamarole, especially at the Windsor/Detroit border, because it's a pain in the ass that provides no added value, and esp in the Ont/Mi case, has significantly negatively affected how everyone goes about their day-to-day lives.

Posted by: Kolohe on November 30, 2007 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK
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