Open thread: GOP debate, gloves off edition!

posted at 7:08 pm on October 21, 2007 by Allahpundit

8 p.m. ET on the Foxiest network in cable news. Desperate to drum up interest in another soundbite-go-round with a lackluster field in the midst of this interminable campaign, Chris Wallace took to hinting on Friday that this may be the debate where the bombs finally start to drop. He might be right: the “real Republican” brouhaha that began with Mitt and Rudy soon spilled over to McCain and then to Fred, so we’ll be seeing more skirmishes on that front tonight, I’m sure. Or rather, you’ll be seeing them: the big A’s priorities this evening lie elsewhere, but if you’re watching the debate and you see something clipworthy, I’d be grateful if you tipped us to it.

A few pre-game notes. First, remember how Rudy told the social cons that it’s better to be honest than pander by changing your positions? Well, forget it. Second, guess which candidate’s campaign will be liveblogging the debate tonight in Spanish. McCain’s, you say? Guess again. Third, Ron Paul’s quest to unite the dregs of American politics under one banner has taken an exciting new turn. Will Wallace or Brit Hume dare to ask him how and why he became the campaign’s resident freak magnet? All signs point to no. Finally, take heart in the fact that no matter how bad it gets, no matter how feebly the candidates perform, hope in this case does and will continue to spring eternal.

Sound off below if you’re tuned in. Or if you’re watching the game. Which is more important, really?


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First off, GREENTURTLE, thanks for your service, and I say the same to any others serving.

The line of the night was McCain’s “I was tied up at the time” line, while talking about Woodstock. As much as he can grate on me in politics sometimes, the fact that he could suffer that way, and still have a sense of humor about it speaks to his character. He might not be the guy to be president, but he’s a hero, and he, his selfless service and suffering in Hanoi Hilton stands in stark contrast to the epitome of self-serving indulgence of the hippies at Woodstcok. So God bless McCain.

As for the analysis, Rudy is still on top, he did well, and he’ll be tough to dislodge, not much to add to that, really.

Fred did well, he was the wild card, he knew it was make or break, and he made it, whether the haters can bring themselves to admit it or not, and he’s gonna move up to a solid 2nd and will be nipping at Rudy’s heels soon. He showed the energy he desperately needed to, and spoke well, which was critical.

Fred made a smart move(whether he meant to or not) by focusing on Rudy in the beginning, even after the moderators GAVE him a second chance to take a swipe at Mitt, Fred didn’t do it and hit Rudy again, it squeezed Mitt out, and pushed Mitt into a second tier fight with McCain on war policy, and McCain has an Absolute Moral Authority Card(well earned one, of course). If Fred maintains a solid campaign at the level he performed tonight, he’ll give Rudy a run for his money by Primary.

McCain started rough and weak in his opening statements, but quickly recovered, and did well and is rebuilding himself at least in conservative opinion. He’s not gonna win because of his “maverick” positions on too many key issues and tendency to rebel against his own natural base of support and the old bad blood from it, but I would not be surprised to see Fred or Rudy start talking about offering him a cabinet position.

Romney: I can has Raygun Legusee?

Romney was the biggest loser tonight (other than RonPaul), I don’t know if he hurt himself, but he didn’t help himself, and he’s about to get swallowed up by Rudy and Fred unless he fights for his seat at the table, that was obvious. He was just off today, he had good moments, spoke well, but there was just something that was off.

Huck was the second loser tonight, he was picking up momentum and had a chance to push into first tier, its gone, between Fred making a solid advance, and his poor tonight, I think he’s locked into the strongest second tier till he’s finished in primaries. He might be VP material, he’s a decent speaker, if Romney wasn’t in the game, he’d be first tier.

Tanc did okay, he did the smart thing and didn’t try to pull everything back to immigration, which hurt him and the issue last time. He said some good things and made a decent contribution, its obvious he ain’t presidential material, but he knows that, and we do too, he’s trying to drag the debate right.

Hunter did about as well as Tanc, a good contributor, a little more likeable on a personal level. I still disagree with him on trade issues, but he’s solid on immigration and the war, and he’s okay in my book, not Presidential, but he’d be a decent cabinet guy.

RonPaul…crank, but he was a smidge less shrill and loud in his crazed rants, so that’s a plus…I guess?

Bad Candy on October 21, 2007 at 10:53 PM

F15Mech, you used to service or still service F15′s? My father was an Eagle Driver. Most beautiful plane in the air in my opinion.

Darksean on October 21, 2007 at 10:54 PM

If we dont continue to keep the US economy what it should be all else means nothing. IMO, and the move away from the economy will leave it to be descimated which gives the socialists the ins they need to push their other agendas.

CaptainObvious on October 21, 2007 at 10:54 PM

Gatordoug

I agree. A really stupid question which required a really dumb (“cute”) answer. Really. What would Rudy or Mitt have said had it been asked of them? See this in its perspective. How in the heck was Thompson suppossed to answer this inane question and why was it even posed? I am ashamed of Fox News for this stupid question. I would hope they would get to the meat of things and leave such questions to the MSM.

Neocon Peg on October 21, 2007 at 10:54 PM

Bad Candy, great analysis!

Darksean on October 21, 2007 at 10:55 PM

Neocon Peg on October 21, 2007 at 10:54 PM

Yes Fox should have not posed the question at all. It is the equivalent of the “Bush is dumb” crap.

Gatordoug on October 21, 2007 at 10:56 PM

Darksean on October 21, 2007 at 10:54 PM

Used to. I got out in 1999.

The F-15 is a very sweet plane (course I am biased).

F15Mech on October 21, 2007 at 10:56 PM

OK, so who has a link to video of the debate, I missed it due to being more worried about the wildfire that is roaring down on me.

doriangrey on October 21, 2007 at 10:53 PM

I think I saw on the crawl that they’re going to be re-airing the debate later tonight.

Are you near Malibu? Take care!

techno_barbarian on October 21, 2007 at 10:57 PM

RonPaul…crank, but he was a smidge less shrill and loud in his crazed rants

SHRILL. That is the word I’ve been searching for all along to describe that man’s voice/tone.

flyawaybird on October 21, 2007 at 10:57 PM

dorian, glad to see you survived scdeven’s vehicular attack!

Darksean on October 21, 2007 at 10:59 PM

Hey doriangrey, they’re rerunning the debate right now on FNC.

techno_barbarian on October 21, 2007 at 11:00 PM

5-2 Boston

F15Mech on October 21, 2007 at 11:02 PM

Night all! Enjoyed it!

techno_barbarian on October 21, 2007 at 11:02 PM

5-2 Sox

Gatordoug on October 21, 2007 at 11:03 PM

techno_barbarian on October 21, 2007 at 11:00 PM

Thank you……..

doriangrey on October 21, 2007 at 11:03 PM

Here’s why I’m not voting for Huckabee. Not only is he a liar about being strong on the border

Neocon Peg on October 21, 2007 at 10:35 PM

All of the top tier candidates are soft on illegal immigration. If one of the current top tier candidates manages to win the general election I expect that they will build part of the currently planned fence, install some cameras and sensors and then announce that, now that they’ve demonstrated their “commitment to secure the border”, that they will fulfill the mandate granted to them by the voters and amnesty the illegals already here.

And the cycle will continue, although the coyotes will have to alter their routes around or over or under the fence. I’m going to predict that, absent workplace enforcement, even if a full double-fence is built, all that will result from it will be a marked increase in the number of one way flights from Mexico to Canada.

FloatingRock on October 21, 2007 at 11:06 PM

SHRILL. That is the word I’ve been searching for all along to describe that man’s voice/tone.

flyawaybird on October 21, 2007 at 10:57 PM

Heh, glad I could help.

Bad Candy on October 21, 2007 at 11:07 PM

FloatingRock on October 21, 2007 at 11:06 PM

Unfortunately, that is true for most all of the candidates. Illegal immigration is the number 1 issue to 85% of Americans in the country today, but politicians simply ignore it, like it never existed.

Neocon Peg on October 21, 2007 at 11:15 PM

FloatingRock on October 21, 2007 at 11:06 PM

Very True

The only candidate that is strong on illegal immigration is Tanc…

However he is not in the Top tier.

F15Mech on October 21, 2007 at 11:17 PM

The unvarnished truth…
Rudy’s a LIBERAL!
Mitt’s a Republican Bill Clinton without the scandals. He’s smooth as silk and will say whatever it takes to get elected.

edgehead on October 21, 2007 at 11:43 PM

This “nanny state” meme for Huckabee is getting old fast. I don’t buy it. I’ve heard him talk about limited government, federalism, FairTax, and securing the border, and I believe it. He’s proven himself to be a trustworthy man to everyone that knows him. He may have shifted his position slightly on how to handle the illegal immigration issue over the years. So what? He’s bedrock compared to any of the other top-tier candidates.

Huckabee’s a solid candidate with an excellent reputation, excellent conservative credentials, and a well-executed campaign considering the lack of major funds. It’s a shame people are writing him off so cavalierly. It’s not like you have any great alternatives, either.

Jared White on October 21, 2007 at 11:48 PM

I’m voting for Dustin Pedroia.

Pablo on October 21, 2007 at 11:53 PM

I’m voting for Dustin Pedroia.

Pablo on October 21, 2007 at 11:53 PM

He gets my vote.

F15Mech on October 22, 2007 at 12:25 AM

It’s not like you have any great alternatives, either.

Jared White on October 21, 2007 at 11:48 PM

That’s for sure. But really though, a short time after Huck announced his opposition to mini-skirts I found out he’s a tobacco prohibitionist too. What will he come out in opposition to next? If you think you have a good answer I would recommend checking the odds in Vegas. My money is on devil-water. Better hurry if you want to place a bet though, because if Huck is our next president he’ll probably do his best to turn Vegas into a ghost town.

FloatingRock on October 22, 2007 at 12:27 AM

Jared White on October 21, 2007 at 11:48 PM

He wants a national ban on smoking. I don’t smoke, but that’s appalling abusive Nanny Statism, and it gives precedent for more Nanny legislation, which can expand on rights that are critical rights, I’m looking at gun rights and speech rights being the big things threatened, specifically.

Plus, they suck the joy out of people’s lives, remember that Fred line about accepting mediocrity, and that ain’t the American way? Stuff like squishy Nanny Statist smoking bans is precisely what he’s talking about. Fred knows, he enjoys a good cigar now and again, I’m the same way.

Bad Candy on October 22, 2007 at 12:28 AM

Okay, I guess you could say I smoke a little…a few cigars a year. I like cigars, tell Huck to get bent with his prohibition garbage.

Bad Candy on October 22, 2007 at 12:29 AM

This “nanny state” meme for Huckabee is getting old fast. I don’t buy it. I’ve heard him talk about limited government, federalism, FairTax, and securing the border, and I believe it.
Jared White on October 21, 2007 at 11:48 PM

Look more closely at his record and statements. The meme is there for a reason.

Hollowpoint on October 22, 2007 at 12:48 AM

Kick out the UN, create a new UN called the PN (peace nations) and make it viable

lsutiger on October 21, 2007 at 9:26 PM

How about the Peacemaking World Nations, or PWN? That’ll get the kids on board for it!

ReubenJCogburn on October 22, 2007 at 1:20 AM

I’m uncomfortable with the “pandering” thing, Allah. A justified charge in many cases, but not all.

W did a 180 degree about-face on foreign policy after 9/11, enough to give anyone whiplash. One could say he was pandering to the hawks, or one could say he saw national security anew given his responsibilities. Sure its a campaign, but neither Giuliani nor Romney need be labeled panderers simply because they now profess positions they didn’t hold back in the 90s. Who of us hasn’t grown in our thinking? If – and the if is only occasionally justified – the campaign is “helping” them move to a more pure ideology, isn’t that a good thing, not something to make fun of?

Halley on October 22, 2007 at 2:54 AM

…and, in neither Giuliani’s nor Romney’s case (I’m not as familiar with Thompson’s background), have they really changed much anyway. Despite one’s philosophy, there is always a large helping of pragmatism one must swallow when leading a city, a state or a nation (look dispasionately at all the times Reagan was hammered by conservatives at the time for straying from the path). I see these two as unusually honest, and wish the accusations were a bit less barbed, given the basic integrity of these candidates.

Halley on October 22, 2007 at 3:02 AM

Well cr@p, I’m stranded in the middle of a huge fire with no way out, my car is broke down and this could be all for me…

doriangrey on October 22, 2007 at 4:13 AM

doriangrey on October 22, 2007 at 4:13 AM

I hope your exaggerating!

FloatingRock on October 22, 2007 at 4:29 AM

I hope your exaggerating!

FloatingRock on October 22, 2007 at 4:29 AM

Nope, wish I was. I went across the street to catch a evacuation bus, and we sat in the parking lot for two hours and then they told us that the fire had gone around us and the evacuation was canceled. So now I am back at home again. It’s still windy as all get out and the smoke is still very thick, but the fire officials say its ok to return home, so…

doriangrey on October 22, 2007 at 6:19 AM

Your are in our prayers dorian, hope all goes well.

conservnut on October 22, 2007 at 6:52 AM

Watching coverage on Fox right now. Adam Hously is somewhere around your neighborhood with the fire crews.

conservnut on October 22, 2007 at 6:56 AM

Your are in our prayers dorian, hope all goes well.

conservnut on October 22, 2007 at 6:52 AM

Thank you. I posted this over at LGF, I kind of needed to vent a bit.

Well lets just say that it has been an exciting week. Friday night I was rear-ended whilst driving home, ended up with five staples in my noggin. I didn’t get out of the emergency room until 3am Saturday morning. When I woke up Sunday morning the shy was ugly dull brown. Smoke from the Witch’s fire along with strong winds and an enormous amount of ash was every.

Now this whole event wouldn’t be so bad except that we had something similar happen in Oct 2003, it was called the Cedars fire. The Cedars fire burned down one of my brothers houses and his wifes sisters house. I am a more or less retired Musician. I have been so every since 1996, when the Bass player and the Drummer in my band “Dorian Grey” both died within a few months of each other.

Bill, the bass player was killed in a hit and run accident, someone had stolen a car and was fleeing police pursuit. Brett was killed in a gang related shootout, he was walking out of a liqueur store when rival gangs started shooting at each other, he was an innocent bystander.

While this in and of itself was pretty bad it was not as bad as the situation eventually got. In the space of the next 6 months another 9 people who I knew died, including my step-father. 1996 was to say the very least a very bad year for me.

I quite playing publicly and for the next 4 years pretty much quite coming out of my house. In 2000 one of my brothers talked me into moving from East San Diego up to Ramona. Ramona is a pretty small rural town of only 36,000. Another of my brother’s “Cliff” decided that it was time for me to get back into music so he built a recording Studio for me in his house.

In 2003 when the Cedars fire burned Cliffs house down, we were about half way through recording what would have been my next CD. Needless to say the studio, all my equipment and all of my recordings burned down with his house.

Sitting here this afternoon watching the smoke and hearing all the fire trucks and police cars drive by with their sirens blaring has been a bit discerning to say the least.

doriangrey on October 22, 2007 at 7:16 AM

Huckabee is the most articulate and he speaks to conservatives on social issues but he is in love with illegal aliens. No-can-do!

Giuliani is entirely too liberal. If we vote for him we’ll end up with another RINO like Schwarzenegger and our children won’t know the difference between males females and they’ll bring home hard core pornography filled text books.

The Ron Paul-thing is ridiculous. Why is a bizzare Libertarian allowed to take time away from our Republican candidates?

I think the race will be between Thompson and Romney and thus far my family can live with that.

sinsing on October 22, 2007 at 7:46 AM

doriangrey on October 22, 2007 at 7:16 AM

Glad to see you made it through the night (even if the light won’t make it to you for another couple hours).

steveegg on October 22, 2007 at 8:33 AM

Rudy is a cunundrum for me, and I’m sure many more.

He will be tough on terrorism, and I believe he will be very supportive of the military. Further, I think he has positioned himself to be the BEST opponent for Hillary (and maybe the only legitimate one).

However, I find myself questioning if he would actually follow through with his Supreme Court appointment pledge as that is the most important thing. Further, I don’t think I trust him on immigration or the second amendment. True, he hasn’t had a chance to prove his ‘evolution’ of these issues, but if we lose more ground in the congress we might only be a veto away from amnesty.

dorian, glad you’re still around. Hang in there.

Darksean on October 22, 2007 at 9:23 AM

I got a good nights sleep…anything interesting happen?

Didn’t think so.

Ochlan on October 22, 2007 at 10:16 AM

steveegg on October 22, 2007 at 8:33 AM

Darksean on October 22, 2007 at 9:23 AM

Well I’m still here and from the little info I can get the situation is going from bad to worse rapidly. It is starting to look like their isn’t any place to evacuate to even if I could evacuate.

doriangrey on October 22, 2007 at 10:39 AM

dorian, don’t stick around too long.

Stay safe.

Darksean on October 22, 2007 at 10:49 AM

dorian, don’t stick around too long.

Stay safe.

Darksean on October 22, 2007 at 10:49 AM

Where would I go? Everything in SoCal is in the path of this fire……..

doriangrey on October 22, 2007 at 10:55 AM

Where would I go? Everything in SoCal is in the path of this fire……..

doriangrey on October 22, 2007 at 10:55 AM

Don’t know. Fly out?

Good luck. Please keep us informed when you can.

Darksean on October 22, 2007 at 10:59 AM

Well, I just watched the debate from start to finish and I’m here to give the final word on who won and who lost. There were no clear winners last night. But there were clear losers.

“What’s a dollar?” is totally out of his league. He was constantly referring to notes his wife wrote for him and when he wasn’t, he stumbled and rambled. I guess the rumors were true about how he cannot speak extemporaneously on the issues. Now he is surly quick on the meaningless insults and veiled barbs, but thinking conservatives need substance not sound bites. When asked about his work for abortion scum, he lied by saying he “hoped he had said that”. Bwahahaha. The areas he did well in were the conservative talking points. Whoop-dee-friggen-do! Thinking conservatives are not impressed by that shtick. He said that he put all he had into what he took on, and I had to agree with him. He surly put all he had into lobbying for scum, giving advice to terrorists, McCain/Feingold, and funneling cash to his son.

Huck, again, sounds real good but he’s in danger of becoming a caricature. Also his nanny-state policies and amnesty stances are deal breakers.

Ron Paul has some great points, but when it comes to foreign policy, he is off the reservation.

Hunter was Ok, but he just can’t catch on. I can’t remember any specific plans he has laid out. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t, so I’m sure that is the reason he isn’t catching on.

McCain. WOW! The guy is a true hero, but his alienation of conservatives over the years is his undoing. He believes what he says, but it isn’t the direction we want to go. Amnesty is a no go issue.

Tanc is just too one issue and I believe he is interviewing for a cabinet position. Homeland Security? Eh.

Rudy was awesome again….UNTIL he had to deal with social issues. The guy is smart, agile, and clearly understands many issues. He is definitely the best at speaking to people as persons instead of a possible voter.

Mitt. There really isn’t too much wrong with Mitt. He has covered his butt on his evolution to a being stronger conservative. No one can question him on family, fiscal, or security issues. He has great plans that will work. The problem with Mitt is that until you watch his performances days later, the wisdom of his plans are not clear.

This is an issue for us. People, we, are looking for the “gotcha” moment. Every single “gotcha” moment, whether it be against Hillary of each other, those were by and large the strongest responses. The funny thing is that many of us don’t want to engage in those types of politics. (Which reminds me that this issue was Fred’s best response. We should not be running an anti-Hillary campaign, but rather a pro-conservative issues campaign) So, the problem is ours. We see it here on this board all the time. Lots of gotcha remarks instead of honest discussion of the issues.

The worst offenders are the Fred groupies. (Actually it’s the paulites, but we don’t have too many of them here)Every time Fred is exposed for the fake he is, the groupies attack the person who wrote the comment. Instead of dealing with Fred’s work for terrorists, dictators, unscrupulous companies, McCain/Feingold and funneling money to his son, they get all ass broke like they personally were insulted. They are also the ones who point to Fred’s shallow jabs at others as some kind of conservative requirement. They are proud of the way Fred chickened out debating Moore. They think his jabs at Mitt were kewl. Thinking conservatives want plans. Specifics. This is where Rudy and Mitt rule the field. When you go back and watch their performances a few days later, you can see the statesmanship and thoroughness of both candidates that really wasn’t too evident (Rudy more evident than Mitt, but there is still lots more there for the offering) at the time of the debate.

It’s time for “What’s a dollar?”, Tanc, Hunter, Paul, and McCain to step aside for the good of the process. The debate is over and those guys don’t have a snowballs chance in hell of getting the nomination.

csdeven on October 22, 2007 at 11:48 AM

csdeven on October 22, 2007 at 11:48 AM

My name is Mitt Romney and I approve this message.

Darksean on October 22, 2007 at 12:01 PM

Well I’m still here and from the little info I can get the situation is going from bad to worse rapidly. It is starting to look like their isn’t any place to evacuate to even if I could evacuate.

doriangrey on October 22, 2007 at 10:39 AM

That’s not at all good.

I could tell you about my experience in Quetico (the wilder Canadian side of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area) in 1995. A pair of fires started up the day Oly and I went in, one to our north and one to our south that very quickly cut off the way back to the Gunflint Trail. Because the wind was that strong, we didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary until we got to Blackstone, when a group already on the lake pointed us to the northern fire. After a while, we noticed the southern one as well.

The scary part was the third night, when smoke from what I believe was the northern fire rolled through about 2 in the morning. Turns out that fire only came within 4 miles. After that, it was an uneventful trip as all the excitement was well east/north/south.

Stay safe and downhill.

steveegg on October 22, 2007 at 12:06 PM

And by downhill, I mean exactly that. Fires move slower down slopes.

Especially if you also manage to stay upwind.

steveegg on October 22, 2007 at 12:38 PM

Maybe dorian should blast the fire with a killer riff from the pick of destiny…rock on ;-)

Ochlan on October 22, 2007 at 1:06 PM

Maybe dorian should blast the fire with a killer riff from the pick of destiny…rock on ;-)

Ochlan on October 22, 2007 at 1:06 PM

If I’m not careful my only destiny at this point will be to be BBQ’ed…

doriangrey on October 22, 2007 at 1:36 PM

Where would I go? Everything in SoCal is in the path of this fire……..
doriangrey on October 22, 2007 at 10:55 AM

If nothing else, go where the fire has already consumed it’s fuel source.

FloatingRock on October 22, 2007 at 2:28 PM

Darksean on October 22, 2007 at 12:01 PM

“Every time Fred is exposed for the fake he is, the groupies attack the person who wrote the comment.”

You groupies never fail to fulfill the lowest expectations.

csdeven on October 22, 2007 at 3:12 PM

Atta boy, cs. A day late and a dollar short.

techno_barbarian on October 22, 2007 at 10:33 PM

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