Patterico's Pontifications


The Republican Debate: Vodkapundit Version

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 2:32 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

If I’ve learned one thing on the internet, it’s that the go-to guy for debate live-blogging is Vodkapundit.

Here are my favorite quotes and moments from Vodkapundit’s live-blog of the debate (remember, he’s on Mountain Time), including a few moments from the candidates themselves:

2:01pm Today’s debate focuses on the economy, but what everyone will really be watching is Fred Thompson’s debate debut, and on Ron Paul’s newly-fat wallet.

2:03pm Thompson says we’re not heading towards recession, but he gave no actual numbers, and he froze up halfway through on the R word. Then he segued in (along with a covering cough) into some generalities about overspending. Followup question: But people THINK we’re going into recession, you idiot! (I’ve paraphrased) What will you do??? HUH?

The moderator just saved Fred’s bacon, by sounding more like a b-tch than he sounded out of his depth.

2:05pm Compare and contrast with Mitt Romney, who sounds smoother than a smoothie smoothed over with fine-grit sandpaper.

2:07pm Chris Matthews got in a question, delivered to Rudy Giuliani — who sounds quite patient (and pretty honest), explaining to Matthews that the President doesn’t actually control or predict the economy. So far, Mitt and Rudy have made me forget Fred.

2:09pm Ron Paul takes a simple question about the time, and explains how to build a watch. He’s going on about inflation — at near-record lows — and how it’s the real inflation causing the recession poor people are already in, and how the gold standard will save us, and Masonites are running the Federal Reserve with their zombie pirate enforcers. Or something.

The boring part of a debate, where everyone gets to chime in on the economy:

2:19pm Sam Brownbaspack [he is Vodkapundit, after all] doesn’t want to raise your taxes. That’s a brave stand to take at a Republican debate. Next, he’ll do a cameo in the Sex & The City movie, and come out in favor of strappy sandals.


2:36pm We’re more than a quarter the way through Fred Thompson’s debutante debate, and he’s been a wallflower all night long. His dance card has hardly any names on it. What we’re really seeing today is the Mitt & Rudy Show. Maybe things will change after the first commercial break, when — if I may switch metaphors — Fred’s corner man has to slap him awake.


2:42pm Finally, a question about the AMT! Fred T says, “we shouldn’t confuse the wealth of government with the wealth of the nation.” In other words, ditch the AMT (or maybe bracket for inflation), and let people keep their money. Amen, brother. And his delivery was the best he’s done so far.

Turning to Iraq:

2:49pm McCain says that, had he been President on 9/11, he would have not said “Go shopping!” Instead, he’d have asked Americans to volunteer. I would have walked across broken martini glasses to vote against McCain in 2000. Was I wrong?

2:51pm Non-English speakers can tell when Paul is talking about Iraq, because his voice goes up two full octaves. Also, he accused us of having an “empire.” And that our overseas “adventures” are bankrupting us. And yet — we’re still spending less on defense than we were in the ’50s or ’60s. And we’re not exactly imposing our will, ala Rome. Don’t let this man near foreign policy. Or a history class. Please.


3:01pm Matthews mentions that Hillary is sponsoring legislation requiring the permission asked about at 2:57pm [to attack a fleeting, strategic target in Iraq Iran – correction thanks to Alphie]. Rudy ties it back to 9/11 — his signature move — and how a quick strike in Afghanistan in 2000 or so might have prevented 9/11. Paul tried to interrupt, but failed. His voice was so high this time, that my dog went nuts and wet on the carpet. I get the feeling this happens more than the Paul campaign lets on.

There was a lot on energy and I’m going to include it because I’m from the energy-producing part of an energy state. You can skip it if you want:

3:02pm Rudy makes sense on energy independence, and how it we could turn Iran into “a paper tiger.” What he fails to mention is, we’re not going to get there from here. Also, Rudy sidestepped the follow-up question about drilling off the California coast. You know what? Cali is going to vote Democrat next year, so screw’em. Drill, baby, drill!

3:04pm Brownback can’t tell the difference between a hybrid at E85 fuel. Oops. Now the enviros will never vote Republican.

3:05 Hunter: “You’d better drill every place you can.” Translation: “What VodkaPundit said about California.”

3:07pm Meanwhile, McCain tries to take both sides and “wouldn’t drill of the coast of [California/Florida/etc]” unless the people of those states gave permission. Fat chance.

3:09pm Loaded question for Brownback: “Shouldn’t we let the free market determine what happens with ethanol?” And the entire state of Iowa held its breath.

3:11pm Same question to Thompson, who claims that “ultimately it’ll be the free market [to decide].” And this man has actually spent time in Washington? Did he learn nothing while he was there?

3:13pm Mitt Romney is talking oil, but he could be talking Iran, Iraq, earmarks, pig knuckle subsidies, hairdressers… he just always sounds the same. I don’t think I could deal with that for four years.

3:15pm Ron Paul wants to cut all subsidies, and Lord knows he’s right. But all I could think was, “Will somebody please tell him to spend some of his five million on a suit coat that actually fits?”

The big finish:

3:16pm How do you bring confidence back to the economy? Mitt: “First, be confident.” Great answer, delivered like a Stepford Wife answering “Yes” to… anything.

3:17pm It’s still the Mitt & Rudy Show. On today’s episode, Rudy is taking on Hillary like they’re both already the nominees. And it works every time he does it. It’s the domestic version of his 9/11 judo.

3:20pm Tancredo: “Standing on principle is a wonderful thing. Too bad we didn’t do it when we were in the majority.” There’s the best line of the night, bar none.


3:28pm Now Mitt is taking on Hillary, thus returning us to the Mitt & Rudy Show. On the next episode, Mitt & Rudy agree: That woman is crazy and mean!


3:30pm If this debate were being held anywhere but Michigan, would any of these candidates be spending so much time sucking up to unions? (Ohio and Indiana excepted.)

3:32pm “I have been a union member. The Screen Actors Guild still counts, right?” Fred’s first gag of the debate! And it was nearly funny!

3:39pm Thompson finally sounded strong, answering a question on how to help US automakers. His answer: Get trade agreements that let them compete, and relieve them of their health care burdens. The first part I understand. The second part made me think of HillaryCare.

HillaryCare kills every good conversation so I’ll end this one now.


25 Responses to “The Republican Debate: Vodkapundit Version”

  1. One thing that really mystified me about the debate was when Paul said their had been no “imminent” attack on the USA in 233 years.

    Guiliani quite rightly responded by mentioning 9/11 and Paul dismissively stated it wasn’t the work of a nation, just 19-men, which is a huge stretch to say the least and Guiliani properly batted him down for that…

    … but have both men forgotten about Japan and Pearl Harbor?

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  2. Hillary is sponsoring legislation to require Lt. Bush to get permission from Congress before he bombs targets in Iran.

    You, know, like it says in the Constitution.

    Funny stuff otherwise.

    alphie (99bc18)

  3. Alphie,

    You mean Congressional approval like:

    — Truman didn’t get before he initiated action in North Korea in 1950?
    — Reagan didn’t get before invading Grenada in 1983?
    — Bush I didn’t get before deposing Noriega in Panama in 1989?
    — Clinton didn’t get before authorizing US forces in Kosovo in 1999 (without any Congressional consultation, let alone approval)?

    DRJ (74c23b)

  4. What would an originalist like Clarence Thomas say, DRJ?

    But, I was just pointing out what I assume is a accidental typo in your editorial comments, not trying to start a debate.

    alphie (99bc18)

  5. What Giuliani said was stupid. By the time the 9/11 attack was imminent, striking Afghanistan or Pakistan wouldn’t have stopped the attack on 9/11, because the terrorists were already here.

    Alan (f1706f)

  6. Good catch, Alphie, and thanks. I’ll note the correction above. Those Vodka fumes must travel over the internet.

    DRJ (74c23b)

  7. “What Giuliani said was stupid. By the time the 9/11 attack was imminent, striking Afghanistan or Pakistan wouldn’t have stopped the attack on 9/11…”

    No, but sinking a couple Japanese carriers may have reduced U.S. losses on December 7, 1941. Of course, the fact he didn’t note this indisputable fact regarding a nation state posing a direct threat to U.S. soil when debating Paul doesn’t speak volumes to his intelligence.

    On security matters, he’s showing himself to be a one-trick pony.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  8. alphie is apparently in a contest with alphie to see who can make the most incredibly, brain-poundingly stupid comment.

    3:2 odds that alphie wins.

    JD (edb511)

  9. Did Wilson need Congressional approval to seize the oil fields in Tampico & Veracruz, invade
    Haiti, redeploy to the Dominican Republic. When the Marines came to Nicaragua in 1927; was there
    a declaration then. The real point, is that Iran is already at war with us, we just won’t acknowledge it.

    narciso (d671ab)

  10. JD, I’d take the bet but how we gonna identify who wins?

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  11. SPQR – You get alphie, and I get alphie. We each post the most brain-poundingly stupid quote from alphie, and determine the winner. We may have to add Andrew Lazarus into the mix, just to keep it interesting. LOL

    We will let nk and Scott Jacobs pick the winner.

    JD (edb511)

  12. Alpo really must be Ron Paul. No one else could be as ignorant or as stupid. Did Clinton get the Congress to okay his invasion of Haiti or bombing of Iraq or Afghanistan.

    I can see summoning 6the Congress after we hear a massive nuclkear strike from the PRC is detected. But the Constitution!

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  13. JD, if you want to use AJL as a tie-breaker, then the contest is to guess how many comments before he makes a reference to his opponent being a fascist/nazi.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  14. Well, the over/under number for that would be 2.5. I would take the under.

    JD (edb511)

  15. Wait a minute, I want Alphie and under too. We gotta find someone to fade our bets.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  16. Great minds think alike.

    We could use the following as tie breakers.

    1) Will Devin Hester score more TD’s than the Bears QB’s throw?
    2) Will the Cubs be in the World Series before 2025?
    3) Will the Cubs win the World Series this century?
    4) Over/under (5.5) on the number of cuss words in AP’s next post?

    1) Tie
    2) No
    3) Insha’allah
    4) Over

    JD (edb511)

  17. It’s unfortunate that Ron Paul has a high voice and doesn’t dress well. I guess he’s not the kind of leader we’d elect today. Just like Abraham Lincoln . . .

    Phil (6d9f2f)

  18. SPQR – We have a new contestant in the sweepstakes, and looks like he could be a serious contender.

    Phil has compared Ron Paul to Abraham Lincoln.

    alphie still remains the prohibitive favorite, but this darkhorse will challenge.

    JD (edb511)

  19. Oh Phil… Abraham Lincoln had, literally, revolutionary ideas that lead to the long-term betterment of mankind and the character of the United States.

    Ron Paul wants to legalize dropping acid and screwing hookers while dismantling the U.S. security institutions… there is a difference.

    While, in seriousness, I have no problem with the first part of Paul’s program as I’ve described it, the second is suicidal. Which is why people say he’s moved beyond being a libertarian into the realm of being a dangerous nut.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  20. The Republican Debate on MSNBC

    This is the first time I have actually watched one of the debates on TV. The main reason I watched this one was the hubbub about Chris Matthews being a moderator. Many had predicted that Matthews could not be fair and impartial because he is a liberal Democrat, and more specifically, he has made recent public statements blasting the “criminality” of the Bush administration and their “efforts to silence” him.

    All in all, I think the questions from Matthews and Maria Bartiromo weren’t that bad. The main exception was when Matthews made an obvious effort to make Fred Thompson look bad by asking him who the Prime Minister of Canada was. Thompson answered the question without blinking, making Matthews look bad instead.(Hey, Chris-Who is the Prime Minister of Denmark- You’re a reporter-You should know, right?)

    My main complaint was the post-debate coverage, specifically when Matthews was engaged in an analysis of the candidates performances with his liberal colleagues. They were basically sneering at the candidates, which is their speciality. It was akin to watching the “always fair and balanced” Keith Olbermann tearing apart Republicans with his smug liberal friends on “Countdown”.

    One would hope that most viewers could watch political coverage on any particular network and see the obvious bias that passes for reporting these days. Unfortunately, many can’t, which is why the news media gets away with so many of their outrages.

    But back to the debates. It was just a few months back when the Democratic candidates refused en masse to appear in a debate hosted by the “evil” Fox News network, preferring instead to go before friendlier groups with moderators like the aforementioned Keith Olbermann throwing up such softballs as this: “So, if you are elected, will it be hard for you in your first week in office knowing that everybody is trying to take your job away?”. (I am paraphrasing.) Every candidate got a chance to knock that one out of the park, eating up precious debate time in the process.) Yet, the Republicans agreed to take questions from the likes of Chris Matthews. To be accurate, most of the Republican candidates shied away from a recent black issues forum hosted by liberal talk show host Travis Smiley, who naturally publicly condemned the missing candidates at the start of the debate.

    As for the candidates themselves: I came away thinking that maybe the two best were Duncan Hunter and Mike Huckabee. Unfortunately, neither has much of a chance. I thought Rudy did alright and did nothing to hurt his front-runner status. Mitt Romney was prepared, but still comes across as a polished guy who knows exactly what he is going to say (scripted perhaps?) He made one significant gaffe when he referred to consulting with his lawyers before taking any military action against Iran. Fred Thompson seemed initially a bit uncomfortable and overall, lethargic, but he is not a guy to pound the podium as we know. I like Tom Tancredo, but he showed that he is pretty much a one-trick pony (illegal immigration). Every time he spoke, he came back to that theme. I agree with his stance, but I need to hear more of his views. The one guy who I wish would go away was Ron Paul, the libertarian. He gives me the impression that he is one bad day away from climbing to the top of a tower with a high-powered rifle.

    So, to be honest, I am still undecided who I would vote for in the primary. I do know that whoever gets the nomination will have my vote, with the possible exception of Ron Paul. No, on second thought, even Paul has my vote over Hillary or any of the other Democrats. Just think of it: President Paul on top of the White House with a high-powered rifle after a bad day in the Oval Office. Wouldn’t that be bizarre? Almost as bizarre as President (Bill) Clinton having sex with….

    Oh never mind!

    gary fouse

    fouse, gary c (33b5ba)

  21. fouse,gary c:

    What a helpful and entertaining comment. Thanks for posting it.

    DRJ (74c23b)

  22. It’s probably like talking to a brick wall, but if you check out

    Ron Paul’s underlying values are extremely consistent and very straightforward. He doesn’t promise anyone any special treatment.

    Ron Paul’s only “radical” idea, really, is that he wants to shrink governmental activity (both abroad and and within our borders) tremendously. Beyond that, he’s about the most tolerant, unradical individual you are likely to meet.

    Of course, shrinking government terrifies neocon imperialists and socialist nanny-staters alike. I’m pretty sure there are enough of both of these that his campaign is doomed for now. We gotta let both sides have more of what they want (and have the country suffer more as a result) before enough people wake up to the uselessness of both policies.

    My jaw drops all the time at the various things people think about Ron Paul. I believe that the impressions he gets are because he attracts attention from the whole spectrum of “weird” people.

    But that’s because he’s non-threatening to “weird” people, not because he’s “weird” himself. Unlike the rest of politicians on both sides, he’s not trying to convince the country that if elected he’ll put a stop to the “weird” people.

    Phil (6d9f2f)

  23. My satirical remarks on Ron Paul were meant as a humorous way to comment on his debating style, which is a bit unhinged.

    I have looked at the aforementioned website, and my reaction is that Paul is a typical libertarian-some good ideas and some bad ideas.

    To me, the defining issue of our time is the War on Terror, which he doesn’t want to fight. He also doesn’t want to fight the war on drugs. In his website, he mentions that we are going after doctors who prescribe pain killers to patients. What we are going after are crooked doctors who prescribe drugs like oxycotin, vicodin, percocet, darvon etc to obvious addicts, who turn around and sell them on the streets. In many cities, this is an epidemic and some unethical doctors are making a fortune doing this. I guess this is a little off subject, but if Phil is so enamored
    of Ron Paul, I would like to know his position.

    fouse, gary c (33b5ba)

  24. So what bothers you so much about the doctors selling pain killers to patients who may not need them? Who do you want to protect most?

    Personally, I want to protect the right of people who are in pain to purchase as much pain medication as they believe they need.

    Right now, despite the hype about “unethical doctors” the real crisis is that there are very few doctors willing to prescribe strong pain killers at all. Various people with chronic pain are suffering needlessly all over the country.

    And all because of pro-government-intervention folks who can’t stand the idea that some folks they think shouldn’t have pain killers might get their hands on them.

    Is painkiller abuse a problem? Sure. Do I think it’s our job to decide what is “abuse” on a massive scale, and prosecute people for it? No.

    Drug abuse is a medical problem. It should be diagnosed by a doctor, just like any medical problem — not by a police officer based on a statute written by a legislator.

    Thanks to the “drug war” people are being arrested for “abusing” drugs when in fact the only people who think it’s “abuse” are their legislators and the voters. They have no medical problems because of this “abuse” and they are perfectly functional, happy human beings and productive members of society.

    Who are you to tell someone they’re “abusers” of drugs? And to be so sure of it that you’ll put them in jail? That’s not to say that if a person commits crimes such as theft, or does violence, they shouldn’t be dealt with like any other lawbreaker.

    I believe it’s not government’s role to manage how people treat their own bodies. If something they put in their bodies causes them to commit a real crime, then prosecute them for that. “Drug abuse” laws are essentially thought-crime laws.

    Phil (aa9cba)

  25. I guess I didn’t get to your war on terror issue.

    I agree that terror is the defining issue of the time. But not terrorism — just the terror it so easily inflames in our society.

    Small, radical groups like bin Laden are able to paralyze whole nations. Why? Because we’re terrified. It’s that terror that’s the real problem. Why does bin Landen scare us so much?

    We drive to work on roads that kill ten times as many people every year as were killed in the world trade center attacks. We frequent grocery stores that sell cigarettes that kill 100 times as many people per year as 9/11.

    Why don’t we feel such “terror” about these things as we do about bin Laden’s (relatively) puny attacks? Because for whatever reason, many people in America do not accept maniac opposition as a cost of freedom. They accept car accidents, and lung cancer as such a cost, and so far greater losses are tolerated without even a blink.

    Terrorism is a cost of freedom. As long as the people are free, certain psychopaths will try to manipulate them into doing what said psychopaths want, by force.

    Deal with it. Bury your dead, condemn the killers as evil, and move on. Trying to stomp out terrorism only makes it stronger, because others see that, yes, these “free” people can be manipulated into throwing their whole armed forces into attacking puny arabs with AK-47s! It gives them a huge feeling of power.

    A big fuss is being made now about Iran, and how “terrifying” Iran is. Iran has no power, but the fear it holds over us. Even if it gets nuclear power, it assures its own destruction by using it. Will it use it? We can’t control that, not really. It’s that lack of control is another cost of freedom.

    Phil (aa9cba)

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