Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Fox News GOP Debate (aka- An Authoritarian American Idol)

The Republican '08 candidates had their second debate last night (and it's only May 2007!!), this one hosted by their fluffers at Fox News. I've only seen a few clips here and there-- hey, 'Veronica Mars' was on last night-- but it sounded like a battle to outcrazy each other for the Fox News/South Carolina audience. Andrew Sullivan has a frightening summary-
...The Republicans, we learned, have absolutely no idea what to do about Iraq. The only two people with coherent positions were McCain and Paul. McCain supports a war without end, a permanent occupation of Iraq, regardless of whether a national government there can exist in the foreseeable future. He's for empire, as are Cheney and Bush. I can see no reason for him to withdraw any troops in the next five years. The notion that a national Iraqi government, composed of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, will be able to defend itself and take the side of the West in the war in Jihadist terror is simply ludicrous in the imaginable future. That much we surely know by now. So empire is the new Republican consensus: an empire built entirely for security reasons, and an empire which somehow manages to make us less secure... [T]he others were risible in their soundbites and faux toughness...

...Giuliani revealed himself as someone we already know [on torture/detention]. He would have no qualms in exercising executive power brutally, no scruples or restraints. Romney would double the size and scope of Gitmo, to ensure that none of the detainees have lawyers, regardless of their innocence or guilt. That is in itself a disqualification for the presidency of the United States. A man who has open contempt for the most basic rules of Western justice has no business being president...

...I was surprised to see Romney so aggressively embrace torture and Gitmo. On reflection, however, I was being naive again. Romney aims to please. He knew where he was - South Carolina. You can largely determine his beliefs in advance by judging the audience he is attempting to win over...

Leaving aside Sullivan's questionable conclusion that he now supports John McCain (whom he described in this same entry as being for empire) and Ron Paul (a man of principle, yes, but who ventures questionably into the isolationist camp), I think this a good summary of has become to the Republican party. They want authoritarians, they want endless war. And previously sane men must lower themselves to the common denominator to accomodate these demands. You should also watch this clip of Rudy "9/11" Guiliani talking to Sean Hannity to see a summary of how fear is still the top selling point for the Grand Old Party.

Sullivan, though, as an old-school conservative, doesn't get into the GOP's social positions, economic singular-mindedness, etc, all of which for me remain non-starters.

Time magazine's Ana Marie Cox live-blogged the debate for those wanting the full details.


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