Thoughts on last night’s Republican debate

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a freelance journalist and blogger. He considers Bob Dylan and Walter Sobchak to be the two great Jewish thinkers of our time; he thinks Kafka was half-right when he said there was hope, "but not for us"; and he can be reached through the twitter via @eliasisquith or via email. The opinions he expresses on the blog and throughout the interwebs are exclusively his own.

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117 Responses

  1. The Warning says:

    One the economy, on foreign policy, on individual liberty; Ron Paul is unquestionably the best of the lot.

    But Republican voters seem to prefer sexy packaging and rhetorical flourish to Paul’s substance over style approach.Report

    • Katherine in reply to The Warning says:

      On foreign policy and individual liberty, Paul is the best of the lot. On the economy, unfortunately, he’s a crank.Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Katherine says:

        Well, individual liberty unless you happen to be a pregnant woman.Report

        • Chris in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          She said the the best of the lot, and I assume she meant Republicans. There aren’t any Republicans in this year’s field who are even remotely pro-choice.Report

          • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Chris says:

            On that point, true. I’m just used to libertarians talking about how awesome Ron Paul is when it comes to liberty. Shockingly, not many of these are young women for some reason. 🙂Report

            • Art Deco in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              Young women who can think straight do not classify a legal permission to soak an unborn child in caustic brine as coming under the heading of ‘liberty’.Report

              • Elias Isquith in reply to Art Deco says:

                Make your argument without absurd generalizations that could quite reasonably be construed as sexist. Not negotiating with you on this one, Art.Report

              • Art Deco in reply to Elias Isquith says:

                There is no absurd generalization in that sentence. ‘Sexist’ is not a characterization I care much about one way or another; I merely note your application of it is non sequitur. What’s true’s true whether or not you wish to negotiate over it.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Elias Isquith says:

                “that could quite reasonably be construed as sexist.”

                I know better than to get involved in an abortion debate (because they bore the shit out of me) but cannot an earlier implication that all women (or more precisely all pregnant) women must be pro-choice also be construed as sexist? At least, it’s definitely not true that all women (& pregnant women) are pro-choice.Report

              • Elias Isquith in reply to Kolohe says:

                The implication is that those who need abortions cannot think straightly.

                Art, I said my piece–if you continue along this vein and then find yourself unable to comment for a time, don’t ask why.Report

              • Rufus F. in reply to Elias Isquith says:

                Ehhh… I think his implication was that people who can think straightly will come to the same conclusions he has about abortion. Not what I’d call a ban-worthy.Report

              • Mr. Deco is far pithier than the so-called “national treasure.” One is lionized for his transgressiveness, the other is threatened with a gag order.

                So it goes.Report

            • Katherine in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              I’m a young woman and certainly not a libertarian – more like a social democrat. I still appreciate the novelty of a Republican who’s opposed to empire and who supports civil liberties.

              (And incidentally, I’m pro-life. It’s a complex issue because – unlike other conservative cause celebres like gay marriage – it concerns the freedom of one person to harm another. Ideally, I’d want the morning-after pill to be legal, a requirement of informed consent for all abortions, and abortions after the first couple weeks to only be permitted for reasons relating to the physical health of the mother. As I live in Canada, where abortion is legal, unrestricted and government-funded up until the moment of birth, the chances of any of this being achieved are nil.)Report

              • Ideally, I’d want the morning-after pill to be legal, a requirement of informed consent for all abortions, and abortions after the first couple weeks to only be permitted for reasons relating to the physical health of the mother.

                You’re pro-choice.Report

              • Katherine in reply to Elias Isquith says:

                I don’t think so. Neither would most of the pro-choice people I’ve debated with, who range from people who consider abortion no more morally problematic than clipping your fingernails, to people who consider it a moral issue but oppose legal restrictions. To me, “pro-life” (with regards to abortion; a true pro-life stance, in my opinion, should really also include opposition to capital punishment and to wars of choice) covers any position supporting legal constraints on abortion on the basis of preserving human life. Being pro-choice means opposing such restrictions.Report

              • North in reply to Katherine says:

                The only restrictions non-pro-choicers support are bridges to absolute abolition of the procedure through the legal force of government. Anything less than that is merely a bridge to the desired end goal per their own stated preferences. If you consider anything short of pure legal banning of the procedure an acceptable end goal then it seems to me that you’re more pro-choice than pro-life.Report

              • Murali in reply to North says:

                That’s just gaming the terminology so that more people fall in your camp than out.

                Banning abortion of a foetus more than a few weeks old means that most people who suspect that they are pregnant because they have missed their periods and use a pregnancy test kit will be unable to get an abortion because they are already a few weeks pregnant.

                It is a move that limits by force most of the more visible methods of abortion. The morning after pill, while still an abortificant does not conjure images of mutilated foetuses. That the morning after pill just does what spontaneously happens to most women also seems to mitigate any putative moral horror of abortion.Report

              • Elias Isquith in reply to North says:

                I doubt she meant 2 weeks considering no one can know that soon if theyre pregnant. Otherwise you didn’t make an argument other that accusing North of bad faith.Report

          • Kolohe in reply to Chris says:

            There aren’t any Republicans in this year’s field who are even remotely pro-choice.

            Except for Governor Gary Johnson. But ‘remote’ does literally describe how he’s attended all the Republican debates so far.Report

      • Art Deco in reply to Katherine says:

        He’s a crank about everything.Report

      • Christopher Carr in reply to Katherine says:

        It’s a bizarre that we live in a world where letting economic agents operate is considered “crank” behavior. Granted, some of Paul’s views on the gold standard and getting out of the U.N. are batshit, but these will never become policy. The question should be: would Ron Paul make a good President, and I would answer unequivocally yes.Report

        • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Christopher Carr says:

          In the sense that the GOP and DNC would team up routinely to overturn his vetoes and ignore the bills he put forth? Sure. If your endgame is making the Presidency powerless, then a President Paul is needed. But, he won’t make government much smaller, other than probably not appointing people to lead government departments that ya’ know, actually need leadership.Report

          • Christopher Carr in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

            I think you’d be surprised how many opportunist politicians would flock to ally themselves with the President. Republicans are hierarchical creatures. I think they’d be loyal to a President Paul over Congressional Democrats.Report

            • GOP = Hierarchical creatures. Or meritocratic ones, Mr. Carr? You have an interesting thought here, and pejorative language shouldn’t stand in the way of it.

              In 2008, aside from John McCain’s anointing of the underqualified Sarah Palin, which was an example of his questionable judgment and a ratification of his bad judgment—’twas the Dem party that was forced to choose between a first-term senator, an ex-president’s wife with a single senate term under her belt in electoral politics, and a one-term senator from North Carolina who didn’t even run again because he was doomed.

              In contrast, this lameass GOP field has multiple multi-term governors, a former Speaker of the House, and even the underqualified House members [Bachmann but also Paul] have 5+ terms under their belts.

              If we’re going to abstract this, that’s the abstract. On paper, the GOP field is quite mighty: all have paid their dues in our republic.Report

              • Christopher Carr in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                I didn’t use any pejoratives there, or certainly I didn’t mean to. The GOP is highly organized. The party gets stuff done when it can. It is admirable in this regard.Report

              • I found “hierarchical” as pejorative, Mr. Carr. Mebbe it’s just me. I found your core thought worthy of further discussion.

                The GOP is definitely trending populist. But except for Herman Cain, who’s fun and also helps fill the glaringly obvious African American void in the GOP, on paper even the dregs of the GOP field for 2012 is far more qualified than the Dem field of 2008.

                This assertion should not be controversial. On paper.


              • Christopher Carr in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                I agree with you that the GOP official qualifications are staggeringly prodigious compared to the riffraff Dems of ’08. African-American credentials will be unsatisfied for many generations so long as the KKK and other hate groups favor the GOP. There’s passion in them there hills.

                In general, I’m quite intrigued by the idea of a populist-trending GOP. In a perfect Americoworld, there’d be a corresponding trend in the DNC toward libertarianism, but this both does (see: Will Wilkinson) and doesn’t (see: Jane Mayer, Jonathan Chait, et al.) exist. So, for now, I’m withholding judgment until it matters (read: attains binary political status), while continuing to express my opinions under the assumption that other people care about the same stuff I do and enjoy reading what I produce.Report

              • Jane Mayer? The New Yorker journo? Wha?

                That’s completely gone over my head.

                Oh wait–is it cause of her Koch article?Report

              • CC: I objected to your use of “hierarchical” per the GOP rather than meritocratic. The evidence leans more toward the latter, for reasons given.

                As for the rest and your putative differences with Wilkinson or Chait [I dunno who Jane Mayer is either], write what you want. Surely there are those Jiminy Crickets interested in watching you run the gamut and gauntlet from A to B. I’m just not one of them.

                Rock on, keep it clean so we civilians can enjoy your pearls too.Report

              • Christopher Carr in reply to Christopher Carr says:

                Elias, I was talking about how the tendency of conservatism to merge with populism must necessarily be accompanied by a merger of liberal and libertarian in order to keep the 50-50 balance that political opportunism demands. Some have welcomed the merger, such as Will Wilkinson. Others have questioned it, such as Jane Mayer.Report

              • North in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                I don’t think hierarchical is particularly pejorative and hasn’t the GOP been nominating the exact “next in line” for what, over a decade now?
                McCain came in second to Bush, he was the nominee the next year and the presumptive front runner going into that race. Romney came up short against McCain and now he’s the presumptive front runner in the current race. The GOP are widely reputed for giving considerable weight to the “next in line” theme.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to North says:

                Yes, it’s a familiar meme, but doesn’t explain Dole or Dubya, who was not part of the “hierarchy.” Neither is Romney a lock with Perry in.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Dole had been Ford’s VP nominee and the Senate Minority and Majority Leader. He was a classic “It’s his turn” nominee.Report

              • Merit. As for the Dems, Carter, Clinton & Obama came out of nowhere. They got lucky once.Report

              • Why do I get the feeling that let wing candidates will always be chalked up to luck or duplicity, and right wingers as merit?

                Myself, I am crossing my fingers for Perry making his campaign official this week, losing the nomination, and then a subsequent Obama victory – because it will make me look mad-dog wicked brilliant when we re-open Jaybird’s Time Capsule post next November.

                Otherwise I am just a pretender to the crown.Report

              • North in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Looks like observer bias to me Tom, sorry. I mean sure there’s merit in it too (I wouldn’t even go so far as to say that either party’s system is superior) but the primary consideration seems hierarchical which was CC’s original point.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                I’n not saying Dole isn’t a good man, but he was a terrible candidate.Report

              • So be it, Mr. North. Goldwater and Reagan led insurgencies; Nixon was out of party politics. McCain the Maverick was never leader of the party. Bush pere wasn’t either, he was just the GOP Al Gore, except he won.

                As for 2012, the party has no leader, its “hierarchy” professional pols like McConnell and Boehner.

                But it’s a minor enough point and oft-repeated enough truism that I’ll stipulate it. We shall see if Romney “gets his turn.”Report

              • The GOP knew Dole would lose–Buchanan had just won New Hampshire and his negative coattails would have been disaster for the downticket congress [ala 1964].

                They huddled behind Dole in response. Clinton won, but the GOP lost only 9 seats in the House and actually gained 2 in the Senate.

                And I suspect it would be the same in 2012 if Bachmann is in any danger of winning the nomination. Romney, who at least has some chance against an ailing Obama.Report

              • North in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Well according to the GOP pattern Romney is technically the “next in line” candidate, yes? Though honestly I have no feel for the GOP primary voters. I don’t know if Perry can simply eat his lunch. Heck for that matter I’m not certain how I feel about how Perry would fare in the general though Obama certainly isn’t in a sweet spot for reelection himself.Report

              • I have no feeling for Perry one way or t’other either. I’d say if he screws the pooch or has something in his record he can’t run on or away from, Romney’s the safe choice.

                It could even be Perry’s overt evangelicalism. That a Mormon would be the safer choice has a certain deliciousness about it.Report

              • Merit. As for the Dems, Carter, Clinton & Obama came out of nowhere. They got lucky once.

                Obama’s nomination is quite peculiar. The others, much less so. In 1992, Democratic pols with some sort of national stature elected not to run or were hors de combat for one reason or another. Clinton’s principal opponents were politicians emerging from retirement or had represented or governed quite small constituencies.

                With regard to Carter, he faced a mess of favorite son candidates, candidates whose constituencies were not any larger than his (e.g. Morris Udall), and a novelty candidate who entered the race fairly late (Jerry Brown). There were candidates of national stature opposing him, but they all had severe handicaps: George Wallace was utterly tainted, Henry Jackson represented a strand of thought that had been dissipating within the Democratic Party and faced considerable antagonism from a certain sort of primary voter, Sargent Shriver had never held elective office or a true cabinet post and came off as a stand-in or flunky, and Frank Church entered the contest late and did not compete in that many primaries or caucuses.Report

              • Art Deco in reply to North says:

                Just to point out:

                1. Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, and Albert Gore were all the next in line and George McGovern was one of a trio who could have been considered next in line.

                2.The Republicans have had a considerable advantage in presidential contests which have left them without (bar Robert Dole) the string of discredited and demoralized challengers (George McGovern, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis) the Democrats have had.

                3. The next-in-line in the Democratic Party has often voluntarily opted out for a miscellany of reasons weakly related to the dispositions of the primary electorate: personal quirks (Eugene McCarthy), ill health (Hubert Humphrey, 1976), family preference (Edward Kennedy), scandal (Gary Hart), prudential considerations (Albert Gore, 1992), and unspecified preferences (Albert Gore, 2000; John Kerry). The last example of this on the Republican side was Richard Nixon, in 1964.Report

              • North in reply to Art Deco says:

                Seems fair enough though John Kerry, after losing to Bush in 2004, would almost certainly have been booed and egged off the stage had he mustered the gall to throw his hat into the ring after that.Report

              • Art Deco in reply to North says:

                Primary electorates and party sachems used to be much more forgiving about that. Thomas Dewey, Adlai Stevenson, Richard Nixon, and Hubert Humphrey all had second shots. Michael Dukakis, Albert Gore, and John Kerry do not appear to have considered it.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to North says:


              • Art Deco in reply to North says:

                Humphrey was a candidate for the Democratic nomination 3x. He won the 2d time and nearly did so the 3d. George McGovern proposed to Humphrey in 1975 that the two run as a ticket the following year, with McGovern as the designated vice president. He said Humphrey begged off, most likely due to anxieties concerning health. (He was dead within three years).Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to North says:

                I’d never heard that about ’76. Thanks.Report

        • His experience to date in supervising anything would be limited to the two-dozen or so on his Congressional staff. He famously told the world he did not know the identity of whomever it was in his office who actually composed the commentaries in the newsletter that bore his name. He was between terms in Congress and practicing medicine in Texas. There could not have been that many people employed in his residual political operation. Somehow I doubt he would be the optimal candidate to superintend a bureaucracy with 3,000 discretionary appointees and 3.4 million personnel. (Even if he ever showed much engagement with the unyielding world around him).Report

          • Christopher Carr in reply to Art Deco says:

            So what you’re saying is that he should be excluded from consideration because he lacks institutional knowledge of the Presidency?Report

            • He lacks experience in the administration of much of anything.Report

              • Christopher Carr in reply to Art Deco says:

                He’s administered a fairly diesel campaign.Report

              • A campaign staff is devoted to the candidate. It does not have an abiding institutional mission. The National Park Service and the U.S. Army do. I think his ‘diesel’ campaign captured 4% of the primary and caucus vote.Report

              • Christopher Carr in reply to Art Deco says:

                And raised outsized capital and made him a household name despite “radical” politics and set a new paradigm for how campaigns are run and got his son elected to the Senate and helped spawn a certain element of the Tea Party, which is the most significant grassroots political-cultural movement since the hippies.Report

              • He’s not a household name.

                Paradigm is generous, but he did indeed use the internet effectively on the earlier side. Although I doubt he did that.

                Barack Obama, the economy, and the stupid Aqua Buddha advertisement had much more to do with Rand’s victory, imo, than Ron ever did.

                And I don’t think the Tea Party is grassroots; but I wouldn’t, of course.Report

              • It’s as grassroots as the folks who showed up to the ANSWER rallies.

                There are people at the top of the food chain who are anything but.

                There are a hell of a lot more people who show up because they like drum circles.Report

              • Christopher Carr in reply to Christopher Carr says:

                Elias, “Ron Paul” is definitely a household name at this point. But I’m not sure if there is any way that this point comes down to anything more than both of us asserting opposing claims. Ditto for Rand.

                Paul’s campaigning tactics were definitely subversive and will definitely be utilized by other politicians in the future. As for whether it was Paul or one of his Deadheads, it doesn’t matter, since my argument is that Paul has administrative skills against Art Deco’s claim that Paul lacks administrative skills.

                Whether the Tea Party is made of grass or astroturf (I’d argue that it’s mostly the former), its significance should not be in question. The Tea Party in my opinion has some pretty relevant grievances that have in pockets been severely exploited by enterprising plutocrats. As a result, the rage of the Tea Party has been misdirected onto the sitting President, who is impotent.Report

              • Re Paul, a quote from Sam Rayburn:

                “They may be just as intelligent as you say. But I’d feel a helluva lot better if just one of them had ever run for sheriff.”

                Texas has masses of elective executive positions. It is regrettable that Dr. Paul never tried his hand at any of them. All of our better Presidents in recent decades ( Gerald Ford the exception) have previously sat in the executive’s chair. Obama had not and it showed early and often. Cannot imagine it would be any different with Ron Paul, even if he was not committed to specie-based currency and other useless nostrums.Report

              • Christopher Carr in reply to Christopher Carr says:

                If your claim is that Paul has no executive experience, I’d have to agree with you; but there have been lots of decent Presidents in our history who’ve never served in the Executive Branch of any government. All else being equal, I don’t think a lack of executive experience should be a big strike against Paul. The gold standard and withdrawing from the UN on the other hand should be major strikes against him. In my opinion though, when all strikes against all candidates are added up, Paul does pretty well.Report

              • One has to be tentative in one’s assessments of anyone occupying the post in the last 40-odd years. That having been said, one might note that Presidents without executive experience in recent decades have included…

                Barack Obama
                Gerald Ford
                Richard Nixon
                Lyndon Johnson
                John Kennedy

                Warren Harding
                James Garfield

                Abraham Lincoln

                Franklin Pierce

                You could make the case we have had some well prepared men who proved wretched in office (e.g. Herbert Hoover). You could also make the case that the population of public bureaucracies was such in the antebellum period that the presence or absence of such experience would not have been consequential. I am afraid I am not seeing the ‘plenty of decent’ Presidents without executive experience on this list. I see the huge outlier of Abraham LincolnReport

              • Christopher Carr in reply to Art Deco says:

                Well I guess it all depends on what one defines as “without executive experience”. On the solidly without executive experience end, we have:

                Lincoln, JFK, and Obama

                All are game-changers, and all in my opinion have generally positive effects on American history. If we expand the definition of “without executive experience” to include those who have never served as governor or military governor of a U.S. state and those who have never served in the U.S. Executive Branch before becoming President, then we have:

                Washington, Taylor, Pierce, Lincoln, Grant, Garfield, Ben Harrison, Harding, Ike, JFK, and Obama.

                Personally, I don’t think there’s enough evidence to make a causal link of any kind that executive experience makes a good President or lack of executive experience makes a good President. I’m not sure what you value: leadership experience or institutional knowledge. If you value leadership experience, Paul has plenty. If you value institutional knowledge, Paul has none, but neither did anyone on that second list up there.Report

              • You have to be tentative in assessing recent occupants of the office. I would be exceedingly surprised if B.O. was in anyone’s pantheon 40-odd years hence. Change the game in a salutary direction, please.

                As for Kennedy, the big change was in the salience of public relations in political life. Not salutary. He made some good judgment calls (October 1962) and had not the time (and may have had not the inclination) to make the severe policy errors that ruined his successor’s administration. However, he inherited a better situation on the economic front than any other president between 1933 and 1993 and a better situation abroad than any other president between 1933 and 1974. Several time bombs never had a chance to blow up: his Addison’s Disease, his association with Max (Dr. Feelgood) Jakobsen, and the consequences of his satyriasis (which included sharing a squeeze with the boss of the Chicago Outfit). He was a disgusting human being.

                I mentioned Pierce, Garfield, and Harding. I forgot Harrison. (Pierce and Harding were wretched chief executives, btw). Washington, Taylor, Grant, and Eisenhower were all general officers in the military. All were wartime commanders. Grant had had hundreds of thousands under his command; Eisenhower millions. That’s executive experience.Report

              • Leadership experience? Just what is that in Ron Paul’s case? He appeals to a small minority who will vote for a parody of an early 20th century politician. George Wallace was more practical, and could be pretty amusing at times. (“If one of those kids lies down in front of mah car when Ah become President…”).Report

              • Has anyone noticed that one of the characteristics of the very short “non-expereinced” list is that it includes – with the exception of McKinley – all of the ones that were assassinated?Report

              • Christopher Carr in reply to Christopher Carr says:

                Obama is there solely by virtue of being the first African-American President. That’s enough already to put him in the history books forever. If he wins in 2012, he’ll have the chance to be the transformative figure that was promised. I still believe in The One.

                Anyways, my point wasn’t that a lack of executive experience makes good Presidents. My point was that it doesn’t matter, and I still don’t think it does. All else being equal, I’d prefer a General Washington to Congressman Ron Paul from Texas, but I don’t think lack of experience is a reason to disqualify Paul from serious consideration. On the other hand, some of his policies may be for some people. The areas where I have a lot of differences with Paul are not areas that I find particularly important, or they are areas that I don’t think Paul could do any significant damage.

                But, listen, I like that Ron Paul wants the Congress to make the laws, because that’s what we elect them for. I like that Paul wants a chief executive that executes only. I like that Paul wants Congressional control of the money supply. If this is worthy of ridicule or comparison to known racist and despicable human being George Wallace, then so be it.Report

        • Katherine in reply to Christopher Carr says:

          The gold standard is (primarily) what I was referring to. It would drive America into a depression worse than the 1930s. I’m also disturbed by his no-foreign-aid-whatsoever views, but incline towards thinking it’s an acceptable price to pay to end US military interventionism and economic interference in other nations.Report

          • Christopher Carr in reply to Katherine says:

            Foreign aid is a pretty insignificant issue for me. Private charities and international organizations are much more effective at helping to solve international problems. And I’m definitely a microfinance bull.

            Plus, aid can have negative effects. For instance, instead of learning how to grow and market coffee and perpetuating the history of their ancestors, young Ethiopians are increasingly turning to careers in the reselling donated t-shirt sector.Report

  2. North says:

    I missed most of it because I was out at a stage showing of Tempests; a Mashup of William Shakespear’s The Tempest with Aliens [the movie].

    I got back in time to flip on the TV and catch the question where all the candidates indicated they’d reject a deal with ten bucks in spending cuts for every dollar in tax increases. I picked my jaw up off the floor and then turned on Project Runway instead.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to North says:

      “I was out at a stage showing of Tempests; a Mashup of William Shakespear’s The Tempest with Aliens [the movie].”

      Whoa. You can’t just leave that hanging there. You drop a line like that, you are required by the laws of cool nerdiness to say at least a little more.Report

      • North in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Oh, sorry, wasn’t sure anyone would be that interested. It was excellent though in truth it was heavily interpreted and technically was cast more as a sequel to The Tempest rather than a rewriting of it.
        The play supposes that, upon her freedom from bondage to Prospero, Ariel raises a terrible storm which sinks his ship and Prospero is able, using the last of his art, only to bind his daughter Miranda into an enchanted slumber in a longboat and save her before drowning. Miranda, thus is Ripley in Tempests, plucked sleeping from the sea by a military naval expedition sent (ostensibly) from Naples to search Prospero’s Island for survivors of a colony that had been planted there but was in actuality seeking the secrets of Prospero’s sorcery.
        Once you assume Miranda as Ripley, Ariel as the Alien queen (and her fey children as aliens) the plot almost wrote itself. It was hysterical hearing some of the classic Aliens lines done in Shakespearean.
        “The skiff is broken? Then all hope hath flown!
        The game is ended sirrah! The game is ended!”Report

  3. Any GOP without Gary Johnson does not have “essentially the full roster” present.Report

  4. Jaybird says:

    As one of the resident crazy people who would also not take the 10-1 deal, allow me to explain why *I* wouldn’t.

    It’s because I know that the deal offered would be a lie.

    Oh, they’d get their $1 tax increase, but the $10 in cuts would never materialize. They’d always be in the form of a 7% rate in growth being “trimmed” to a 5.5% rate in growth here, a 4% rate in growth being “cut” to a 3% rate in growth there… and a 4,000,000,000,000 budget being “slashed” into a 4,200,000,000,000 budget.

    For me, a cut means 4,000,000,000,000 becomes 3,800,000,000,000 budget. Not a 4,200,000,000,000 budget when people wanted a 4,400,000,000,000 budget.

    I wouldn’t take the 10-1 deal either. The people who want the 1 are lying about the 10.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

      As someone who thought the responses were jaw dropping, I have to admit this is a good response.Report

      • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Somehow I suspect that none of the people who offered jaw-dropping responses have thought this through as much as Jaybird has.

        Which is depressing.Report

        • Oh, they have. The notion that promised cuts are likely to be illusory is very high on their minds right now. It goes back to the debate on extending the Bush (now Bush/Obama) Tax Cuts. The Republicans got what they thought were real concessions, but it wasn’t long before some conservatives started looking at the numbers and said “Hey!” and some Democrats started looking at the numbers and say “Hey, Obama did better than we thought.” (I read a lot of blog entries like this, and I suspect that the GOP congress got a real earful.)

          In many ways, that’s really what set the stage for the debt ceiling debacle.Report

          • I don’t think it’s intellectually coherent to call them the Bush/Obama tax cuts, unless we’re focusing solely on those for everyone < 200,000/250,000. If we adopt that standard, then one could argue that we have the Johnson/Nixon/Ford/Carter/Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush/Obama system of Medicare. Maybe you wanna do that; I dunno. Just to pick one more nit: I don't think it was GOP reps who suddenly were like "oh, wait, this isn't all it's cracked up to be" -- besides some Tea Party freshmen who weren't part of the group in the backroom -- so much as the base that felt hoodwinked. I really think many GOP reps have little desire to actually make substantive cuts, though they're quite sincere in their belief in lowering taxes perpetually. I think 2004-2006, at the least, would indicate that most of the leadership of the GOP was hoping to fool its base s'more, until those damn Tea Partyers came and actually seemed to believe what they said about small government.Report

            • The tax cuts for those making over $200/250k belong mostly to Bush, in my view, but everything else is shared since Obama wanted it anyway. The latter is costing the government more in revenues than the former.

              The difference between the tax cuts and Medicare, though, is that (AFAIK, correct me if I’m wrong) the tax cuts had to be proactively renewed and Medicare does not. This is why, for instance, I consider GOP arguments that letting the tax cuts expire constitutes “raising taxes” to be problematic. I apply the same logic to extending them.

              I don’t think it was GOP reps who suddenly were like “oh, wait, this isn’t all it’s cracked up to be” so much as the base that felt hoodwinked

              I think this is true, or mostly so anyway. However, I think that the GOP reps have been hearing a lot about it since. So it has not escaped their attention, as Pat speculated.Report

              • Agreed on both counts. Obama (wrongly) is fine with the vast majority of the Bush cuts, and at this point it’s kind of irrelevant whether or not anger about illusory cuts is from the Reps or the voters since the end-result is the same.Report

        • Pinky in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

          I’d bet that most Republicans understand that argument implicitly. If the purpose of the debate is to win over Republicans, you probably don’t have to spell out the problem with a 10:1 deal. On the other hand, part of the package that a candidate should be selling is the ability to appeal to the general election voter, and that includes being able to pithily explain Republican economic thinking.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

      Then what’s the point in a 100-0 deal? That would be a lie too.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        The acknowledgement of the lie is where I see the important part of the conversation taking place.

        Once that’s established, maybe we can really start talking about something that might work.Report

        • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

          Then let’s also address the lies that tax cuts always raise more revenue and that “starve the beast” is a plan rather than a flimsy rationalization of failure.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

            Is the point of taxes to raise the absolute most revenue possible?

            “Starve the beast” accomplished nothing but divorcing spending from revenues and rotating teams of people explaining that deficits don’t matter.Report

            • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

              > Is the point of taxes to raise the absolute most revenue possible?

              It’s important to be honest about how much they will raise. If you want to cut them and have a plan to deal with the increased deficit, fine. If you want to cut them and insist that they will lower the deficit, you don’t get to snark about how unrealistic the other side is.

              >“Starve the beast” accomplished nothing but divorcing spending from revenues and rotating teams of people explaining that deficits don’t matter.

              Yes, and that was obvious at the time. It amuses me no end that people are calling this a revelation thirty years later.Report

      • I’m not following how bringing in massive paranoia somehow reduces the crazy.Report

        • I wasn’t suggesting that the crazy is being lowered. I just remember thinking, “that’s a populist applause line they can’t even back up with the flimsiest of rational arguments.”

          Jaybird proved me wrong.

          Which is not to say that I agree with the vote; nor do I think everyone on that stage had thought it out like that. I am still cynical enough to think that they still did it to seem really, really any-tax in a knee jerk way.

          But that doesn’t mean JB didn’t prove me wrong.Report

    • North in reply to Jaybird says:

      Well both sides get their lies by that definition. The cutting side gets to say “We’re cutting a trillion bucks of wasteful gummint spending” but of course they never actually says ~what~ they’re cutting. They don’t say “we’re cutting your social security or your medicaid or your vetrans benefits or your defense contractor job” they just let the rubes assume that it’s all coming out of foreign aid and the NEA.Report

  5. Christopher Carr says:

    1. I don’t like watching political debates. I prefer more serious genres like musicals and fantasy.

    2. I will continue to post this video until it can no longer be posted:

    3. “And then there was Bachmann, doing what she does — sounding belligerent, extreme and utterly sincere. She’s pretty good at this, really; her answer on why she voted for Pawlenty’s bill, that she was forced to choose between taxes and the unborn, was inspired.” Choosing between taxes and the unborn! Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

    4. I’m going to make a bold early call that Bachmann and Perry are colluding so that one of them gets the nomination. Perry has plans to travel to Bachmann’s home city to make some announcement of some sort next week, which the media will predictably use to create a blood feud narrative. Everybody loves a good feud – Tupac and Biggie, Jay Z and Nas, Ja Rule and Eminem – and the media will swoon for PerryBachmann’s.Report

  6. Kolohe says:

    “I don’t think equipped himself particularly well when this happened; at one point, in reference to criticism of “Romneycare,” he rather peevishly and condescendingly asked moderator Chris Wallace if he’d ever read the Massachusetts constitution”

    My personal Luntz meter read this a little differently. By that point, Newt had already been challenging the premises of the questions (sometimes successfully sometimes not). An even though this was before the utterly stupid York question to Bachmann on her marriage, the audience (and probably the home audience too) was starting to get tired of the crap the moderators were trying to pull.

    And besides, Romney was correct on this, and Wallace’s premise *was* flawed (i.e. enumerated powers vs general police powers)Report

  7. Kolohe says:

    And I’ll just say again don’t underestimate Bachmann – she’s no Sarah Palin. The slightly different standards for men and women made Bachmann look good and Pawlenty look like a tool (plus how the tit for tat got instigated by the mods – Pawlenty firing first, but weakly; Bachmann thus able to coup-fourré almost perfectly in the first round).

    A Romney-Bachmann ticket is not only plausible but likely. (but not certain by any means)Report

  8. Me neither, if that’s what I thought he was saying. Which I didn’t and still don’t — but would be happy to be informed otherwise.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Elias Isquith says:

      I really honestly think Romney is a wonk at heart. Due to the realities of Republican politics, he’s had to bury that deep down inside. But, in a flash of anger, his true soul was revealed.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

        Here’s a wacky thought experiment.

        Imagine a Democrat pointing out that “the government *IS* people!” in response to, oh, I don’t know… job creation (“we need to give people jobs!”).

        Is this particularly unthinkable?Report

        • b-psycho in reply to Jaybird says:

          The problem with that is the statement tends to be not “government is people” but “government is US” (all of the people).

          Of course a government is made up of people. Yet, like the entity government created known as a corporation, it is made up of — and, more importantly, operates primarily for the benefit of — a few people.Report

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