Blogging The Presidential Debate

A rare political post…

After I got home last night, I watched a replay of the Republican Presidential Debate. I don’t normally spend a lot of time watching Presidential debates, but this year (or, more accurately, next year) I don’t know who to vote for, so I thought I should do a little passive research.

ASIDE: I’m not actually a Republican, but as a social conservative, I am opposed to abortion, which basically leaves me with…Republicans.

A few observations on the debate:

  • If someone can figure out how voting for Rudy Giuliani is any different than voting for Hillary Clinton, they need to let Rudy know so he can quit stumbling over that question every time it is asked.
  • I didn’t know a lot about Tom Tancredo before last night, and I still don’t know much about him other than the fact that he seems to think that illegal immigration is worse than drug trafficking, murder and Paul Byrd’s HGH excuses. Oh well, he doesn’t have a chance to win anyway.
  • Speaking of Tancredo, the thing about him that really drives me nuts is that he reminds me of someone and I can’t figure out who it is. I actually went on YouTube last night after the debate to find clips of him droning on and on about illegal immigration just so I could try to figure out who he reminds me of. Still no success, and it’s starting to drive me crazy. I’d be appreciative of any help you could give me…
  • It’s funny how Ron Paul keeps “winning” the debates according to the follow-up polls. As a libertarian, Paul’s views are considerably different than those of the other candidates on almost all issues, so he argues with them quite a bit, and frankly, gets it handed to him sometimes. Last night, he also drew more boos than all the other candidates combined. Good thing he has some dedicated followers who apparently spend about $50 texting multiple votes for him. Too bad for Mr. Paul they won’t be able to do that in the actual election.
  • The good news I guess is this: while I’m still not thrilled about any of the candidates, I think there’s 3-4 that I could live with. If nothing else, I think it should be interesting to see how the primaries turn out.
Maybe I should watch the next Democratic Presidential Debate. There’s sure to be a good amount of comedy material there as well.


John Wright 10/23/07, 12:20 PM  

You already know that I disagree with you on the abortion issue, at least when it comes to ruling out one party's candidates because of that issue. I'm not FOR abortion, so to speak, but I guess we could get lost in semantics there.

However, it's always good to see people thinking critically about things like this, and I applaud your choice to sift through your preferred list of candidates.

I heard that Ron Paul was booed mostly because of his comments on the Iraq war (he agrees with the vast majority of the country). The audience was (understandably) heavily conservative, so that isn't surprising. Was that how it went down, or were they booing him on other issues (i.e. his tendency not to step on toes with most social issues and unlikeliness to thrust us into more Middle Eastern wars)?

Personally, I find Paul to be easily the most appealing Republican candidate based on his issue stances, but I haven't watched him get blasted in the debates.

Luke Dockery 10/23/07, 2:05 PM  


I won't go heavily into the abortion issue here, as I'll probably end up posting something about it eventually, but in the meantime, for what it's worth, I don't consider you to be for abortion. Our similar convictions lead us to different outcomes, and while I may not fully understand that, I can respect it.

I don't want to overstate the Ron Paul situation: my point was not that he is an idiot or that he gets owned over and over in the debates, but more that he is a middle-of-the-pack debater who has good moments and bad moments but has an active and rabid support base that inflates his text message poll results.

Paul's views are certainly different that those of the rest of the candidates (which led to a lot of the boos), but having different views is the whole point of debating in the first place.

A big part of debating is being an effective communicator, and I think Paul struggles with that. He tends to ramble when he gets started on a topic, and when he gets into an argument with another candidate, he comes across as whiney and desperate.

Maybe I can best explain it like this: I had heard that Ron Paul had "won" the first couple of debates, and so I was interested to see how he performed. The first time I watched him (which was actually in the last debate), I couldn't believe it was the same guy I had heard about.

Probably my main issue with Paul is not his stances on fiscal issues or social issues (generally he wants to leave social issues up to the states which would largely be okay with me…it would certainly change abortion policy) but the fact that he is basically an isolationist in the 21st century.

It might have been a good idea back in the days of George Washington (who he invoked I think on multiple occasions), but in the globalized world of today, it doesn't seem practical.

John Wright 10/24/07, 9:14 AM  

It sounds like I would have some of the same reservations you do about Paul. I'm not convinced of the practicality of libertarianism in some areas, although (like many ideas) it's good in principle.

Now I'm starting to wonder how he developed this rabid support with such limited debate skills.

Luke Dockery 10/26/07, 12:34 PM  

“Now I'm starting to wonder how he developed this rabid support with such limited debate skills.”


Same here.

I’m guessing that it all goes back to the tension in the social conservative/libertarian alliance that helped get Bush in office the last two elections.

At least in the early going of the primaries, it looks like the libertarians are rallying behind their lone “electable” (coming out of a major party) candidate, and trumping up, among other things, his debating ability.

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