The GOP Quartet, Once More

Prior to the Jacksonville debate, Jan. 26, 2012


A couple words about last night’s Republican presidential debate in Florida? I’ll wade in . . .

CNN plays this pounding rock music as the candidates enter. I wonder what Ron Paul, the septuagenarian, in particular thinks about it.

Mitt, standing on the stage, applauds Newt as he enters. Would Newt do the same for him?

Newt’s partisans moo “Newt! Newt!” Reminds me of “Booooooog.” (That’s what they said for Boog Powell, the Baltimore Oriole slugger. Sounded like booing, needless to say.)

A college chamber choir sings the national anthem — in C, which is very unusual. (The anthem is usually sung in B flat.) Mitt and Rick Santorum sing along. Paul and Newt do not.

Rick introduces his mother, announcing that she’s 93. I think it’s disgusting to publicize your mother’s age. But most Americans eat it up, I think. It’s very modern. Part of the Oprahfied America.

I hope there are still mothers who, if their sons stated their age in public, would slap them.

Every politician should speak English as fluidly as Newt does. Would help them a lot.

Speaking of English: Newt always says that it should be “the official language of government.” An interesting formulation, and concept. I wonder how many Americans would agree — probably a vast majority (not that vast majorities are necessarily right, of course).

Newt has called Mitt anti-immigrant — and Mitt kills him on it, absolutely kills him. Rhetorical smackdowns are not supposed to be a Romney specialty, but the Mittster clearly knows how to execute one.

Tonight, audience applause is working for Romney, not Gingrich. Tonight, it’s Newt, not Mitt, who has to wait for someone else’s applause to subside, before speaking.

Newt has accused Mitt of wanting to go around nabbing and deporting grandmothers. Mitt says, “You know, our problem is not 11 million grandmothers.”

One of the lines of the campaign.

Whereas Newt calls for English to be “the official language of government,” Romney calls for it to be “the official language of the United States.” Not sure what that means.

One of the things Ron Paul doesn’t understand is that there is no “trading with Cuba.” Many people don’t understand that. There is trading with the dictatorship, only. You cannot deal with any individual Cubans. You provide the dictatorship with dollars or euros, and the dictatorship in turn dispenses to individual Cubans a few worthless pesos.

And the dictatorship needs the dollars and euros, of course, as oxygen. This money is what keeps them going, following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

When Ron Paul says that we are imposing our views on other countries, what he means is that we’re supporting democracy — i.e., the right of people to decide their government and their future for themselves. The only imposition is done by the tyrants.

When Paul says that we are dictating to other countries, what he means is that we favor the right of people not to be dictated to.

When Paul says that we are bullying other countries, what he means is that we’re standing up for the right of people not to be bullied — by the likes of the Castro brothers, Chávez, and so on.

When Paul talks the way he does, I wish it were he, not men and women such as Oscar Biscet and Marta Beatriz Roque, who had to live under Communist dictatorship.

Paul hopes for what he calls “friendship with Cuba.” What he means, of course, is friendship with the dictatorship. Because Americans have long been the best friends Cubans have (with the Czechs in second place behind us, probably).

This is one of Lincoln Diaz-Balart’s pet peeves about Obama: Our current president, perhaps unique among American presidents, says “Cuba” when he means the Castro dictatorship. Cuba is not the dictatorship: Cuba is Biscet, and Roque, and everybody.

What Santorum says about Obama and Honduras — dead right, absolutely right.

Mitt didn’t know about an ad that he has run against Newt? He isn’t prepared to defend that ad? A terrible blunder, a fundamental mistake — barely excusable, I think.

Listening to the back-and-forth about Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, I think of something that Sarah Palin said in the 2008 vice-presidential debate: Yes, government was at fault in the housing crisis and collapse. But don’t individual Americans bear responsibility too? Didn’t our moms and dads teach us to live within our means?

A comment like that is one of the things that make Palin an extraordinary politician (not that many give her credit for it).

I believe that, if Mitt is the nominee, Republicans will rally around him big-time — and the angst of the primaries will be largely forgotten.

People say, “What if Ron Paul goes third-party, or independent? Won’t that hurt the Republicans terribly?” I give you a related question: What if Newt fails to get the nomination and is so offended, so affronted, so aggrieved, that he goes third-party or independent?


Newt springs an attack on Mitt: He, Mitt, has profited from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I think, “How’s Mitt gonna answer this?” And he answers it smashingly: by smashing Newt’s own dealings with Fannie and Freddie — not just as a consultant, but as an investor.


When Mitt’s talking about blind trusts, stocks, bonds, and the like, I’m thinking, “You know, the man knows money — and it’s risky for another candidate to tangle with him on the subject.”

Newt says that to “compare my investments with [Romney’s] is like comparing a tiny mouse with a giant elephant.” You know what I love? That Mitt laughingly agrees with this.

The last time I heard about blind trusts was when the first Bush was running. His critics said that he had “put his manhood in a blind trust.”

The idea of Bush as not an hombre was always stupid. I mean, I think the guy lied about his age to get into the war so he could fight the Japanese.



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