(from P M Carpenter comes this awesome rant about the last Republican Presidential debate. oh, that it were not true...)
First, let's settle any dispute as to the the winner of last night's Republican cluster conference. The victor was, of course, candidate-in-waiting Fred Thompson. There's something about a man running for the nation's highest and most demanding office who advertises his stupendous incompetence right off the bat by avoiding any public test of his abilities. Now there's a man for this hapless century for you.
As for the others' 120 minutes, it seemed to me it was all over after Q&A #1. What followed Wolf Blitzer's question about the advisability of a touch of thermonuclear destruction laid on Iran was a veritable geyser of mindless bellicosity. Excepting Ron Paul, the Republican candidates suited up in brownshirts and armbands and went to work on yet another preemptive catastrophe thrust upon hundreds of thousands of utterly innocent human beings.
Their bloody pandering to the basest of human beings here was a national embarrassment that made me, and, I would hope, millions of others, cringe at the thought of its airing around the world.
I watched every preposterous, flag-waving minute of the "debate." Although there was nothing that topped the tactical nuking episode last night, this morning both the New York Times and Washington Post led their reporting with the immigration issue. Either the GOP itch to launch unprovoked warfare has become a commonplace yawner, or both papers arrived at the debate late, missing its defining moment.
At any rate, my friends, the others, my friends, jumped all over, my friends, John "My Friends" McCain for his compromising and compromised stance on the matter. McCain's only defense was to tie everything -- and I mean everything -- to national security, two little words he uttered with monotonous regularity. I almost felt sorry for him; it was a too-late-to-change-now, desperate display of "I'd rather be right than president," which nobody ever swallows.
The most civilized among them was Ron Paul, as mentioned, and the most articulate was Mike Huckabee, both of whom haven't a prayer. The most laughable were Tommy Thompson and Mitt Romney. Thompson as president, he kids you not, would send the current one around the country to lecture "the youth of America about honesty, integrity, perseverance, passion, and serving the public," while Romney, whose every utterance was backed up by a chorus of angels singing 'God Bless America,' proved he has yet to look up the meaning of "non sequitur."
But when it came to pure, unadulterated rambling, Rudy took the prize. Wolf simply could not shut him up as he, for example, discoursed endlessly about the "very, very important" issue of Scooter Libby's righteous pardon, since "a man's life is at stake." The irony of Rudy's improperly placed concern and compassion was thunderous.
Other than the near-unanimous urge to waste any potential foe who so much as looks at us cross-eyed, the thrust of the debate was that of a tent revival meeting. There is no earthly collectivity that loves God more than these boys, and they let us know that at every opportunity, even the inopportune ones -- invoking His name 24 times.
Whenever I watch another of these tours de force in imbecility, I quake for my country. If these men are the best that democracy has to offer, if they are what democracy calls forth, it's all over.