Post-debate reax: the Huckabee - McCain show

By Jeff Emanuel Posted in | | Comments (84) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

Tonight's GOP debate was truly the Huckabee and McCain show. Huck demonstrated the same smooth, articulate, can-sell-snake-oil-to-a-merchant demeanor that has propelled him to where he is now: one of the Big Five that actually deserves to still be attending these debates (if not doing what he really should be doing with his time, which is running for Senate from Arkansas). McCain showed a force of personality and a depth of belief in his top issues -- America and her national security -- that had been missing for so long early in the race. If he doesn't get a bump from tonight's showing, then he might as well give up security-minded Americans as a bad job that just can't be pleased, because he really laid his credentials and beliefs out on the line tonight and gave a security voter like myself everything we could possibly have wanted to hear. I still disagree with McC on several issues -- especially BCRA and immigration -- but man was he good tonight, and man is he dedicated to my number one issue. He also had the lines of the night, with his reference to Hillary's attempted Woodstock earmark (and his being "tied up at the time" of the festival in '66 69), and his allusion to President Bush's "I looked into Putin's soul" statement, about which he said, "I looked into Putin's eyes and saw three letters: K...G...B." Extremely well-played.

Romney was himself -- to me, a 100% canned politician who offers nothing whatsoever that would differentiate him in any way from any canned politician who has ever come before him. Giuliani wasn't incredibly articulate tonight, though he was able to get his message across. He's still got to be the leader, due to the fact that he didn't really screw up (and that he got to smack Hillary around some more), but he didn't wow me in any way.

Fred was okay. That's about all that I can say. He had good things to say, but he just looks (and sounds) tired -- something that's not very encouraging, considering the fact that, as he just joined this year-old party a month ago, he should be the freshest guy on the tour bus.

It was refreshing not to have to waste time on Senator Brownback tonight, and this debate showed perhaps better than any that I've seen to date (granted I've missed the last three months while in Iraq) just how ridiculous it is to have one-note wonders like Tancredo (immigration!), Hunter (trade!), and Paul (crazy! Got some crazy for ya here!...and a side of "if we'll just be isolationist, nobody will ever try to hurt us again!") on the stage trying to answer every question as though it was addressing their one-note agenda.

That being said, I like Duncan Hunter. I really do. I disagree with him on tariffs and protectionism, but I sure do respect him. And because I respect him, I must say this: "Please, Congressman -- get off the stage."

Oh, and Asylum? Ron Paul's escaped again. I think you'd better come get him before he hurts somebody himself.

That is all.

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Post-debate reax: the Huckabee - McCain show 84 Comments (0 topical, 84 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

Maybe Teddy the hutt can take him on a tour of historic bridges. He is just ridiculous and lowers the profile of the whole party.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777
Results Posted Tuesday Evening.

RP= 49%
Obama= 27%
Silky Pony= 9%

I will put up money right now that none of the above win a primary.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

What's up with Fred keep clearing his throat. Everytime I hear him speak he does that. I think he looks sick. Something does not seem right to me about him. Anyone else agree?


He's tired...two kids under three, and going for a Trifecta.

But seriously, with small kids, no telling what sort of crud he's picked up....just ask Moe what he catches from his kids.

Proud member of the Barry Goldwater wing of the party !

Maybe so but there is just something about him. He just puts me to sleep I just don't get why people like him.

Kids at home, especially this time of year, means the civilian version of recruit crud.


Those of you constantly badmouthing Fred seem to find fault with everything except what counts, his substance on the issues. Remember, in the first debate he was the only candidate given a perfect score for having his facts straight.

You want style? Vote Obama!

Just as it more than just Style.

You must have both.

Carlos: "What? Were they [Democrats]?"
Seth: "They look like [Democrats]? Is that what they looked like? They were vampires.
"[Democrats] do not explode when sunlight hits them."

Woodstock was in 1969, not 1966... not sure if that was your misprint or McCain's misspeak, though.

"I don't understand why the same newspaper commentators who bemoan the terrible education given to poor people are always so eager to have those poor people get out and vote." - P.J. O'Rourke

McCain checked into the Hanoi Hilton sometime around October 26, 1967 and came home in 1974 with the rest of the POW's.

If I recall correctly, he could have been released earlier but refused.

Like him or not, I have a lot of respect for McCain for his time spent as a POW. I've met in person one other POW and they are very special people.

Proud member of the Barry Goldwater wing of the party !

Yup by Adam C

Because of his father's connections, McCain was offered release early. He refused to go before those who were captured before him following protocol. If that doesn't earn every American's respect, I don't know what will.

Donate to the Rs in Close Senate Races through Slatecard



He will always have my respect, but not my vote in a Primary. I think he was just so wrong, so tone deaf to the the will of a very large segment of the American people on the issue of illegal immigration that I just can't vote for him in a primary. I'd vote for him in a nano second in the General however.

Proud member of the Barry Goldwater wing of the party !

I still think that independents would vote for McCain over Hillary, but I can't believe they would like it as much as voting for some of the others.


"That being said, I like Duncan Hunter. I really do. I disagree with him on tariffs and protectionism, but I sure do respect him. And because I respect him, I must say this: "Please, Congressman -- get off the stage.""

Tom and Duncan can be shown as one hit wonders(although, I argue Hunter is solid on most every issue, he just comes across about as well as Cheney does).

I argue that immigration and China and India, trade, jobs going overseas(and practically 20 other foreign issues that no one can hang with Hunter on) are getting swept under the rug, and those will be the issues that make it easy for the GOP or tough to win in '08 as those issues are many of what the people are asking what is the GOP doing for me.

I'd imagine Rudy or Mitt could run away with it if they put Tom's talking points in their debate stack of index cards.

...SocSecurity question by talking about tariffs and foreign trade. Sorry, but that's a heckuva job of shoehorning there.

I'm still bugged by Hunter's support of the Boeing tanker lease deal a few years back. It was a very bad deal for tax payers, and a very bad deal for the Air Force, but he pushed it pretty hard as I recall.

While Hunter may be a solid conservative, he reminds me too much of the "Spend like drunken sailors", yes even on defense. There's lots of "goodies" in most defense authorization bills that the services neither need or want, but both R's and D's who have been in Washington a long time still load up the bills with wasteful spending because it keeps some folks happy.

Proud member of the Barry Goldwater wing of the party !

Fred is 64. So what?
Mitt is 60.
Rudy is 62.
Hillary will be 60 on Friday. Send her a b'day card to remind her.
McCain is 74 (and solid).
Ron Paul is 72.

This means that Fred is no older than Hillary or Mitt would be when they run in 2012.

-- A true evolutionist would let endangered species die off. Anyone care to change sides on either issue?
-- imwithfred --

Fred is only four years older than Mitt? I would have put the difference closer to 20. Mitt must be doing something right.


Not a big mystery there, right? Heh.


... it's the miles?

Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock.

One my brother's all-time favorite movie lines.


Just a guess.

Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock.

McCain is open borders. One can not be strong on national security and at the same time open borders. They are mutually exclusive.

Jeff, I think that a large number of the folks looking for a strong national security candidate feel the same way I do. So I don't expect a bump. Further, I believe this magnified the damage done to his campaign by his support of amnesty.

Yes, I believe that McCain did turn down early release. Can't remember which History Channel program I was watching when I saw that. McCain the soldier had guts and honor enough for all of us. McCain the politician is dangerous with his border policy.

I'm with McCain because he's the first on my list when I ask, "Who do I want as America's commander in chief?" and "Who would actually fight congress to ensure fiscal discipline (and know the ways of Congress well enough to fight a dem congress effectively)?". I'm with him, too, because he's solid and consistent on the single most important socon/human rights issue: the right to life.

You're not alone in your criticism of BCRA, but I don't see that as a driving issue. Today, individual voices (like ours) are heard more loudly and clearly than ever. BCRA hasn't hurt my right to speak and participate. Is there anything that McCain could do to make peace with anti-BCRAns (other than DC insiders)? I hope so, because he would be our best commander in chief and our best shot at fiscal discipline.

These guys are both tone deaf on the issue. Give me a respectable candidate on immigration and I can give you five percentage points in most states.


He won't come out and say it this way, but can't we expect him to nominate SC justices in the mold of O'Connor? You could argue that *maybe* he learned his lesson re immigration, but has he ever admitted the Gang of 14 deal was a disaster as opposed to going nuclear?

Rep. Tancredo has achieved a score of "100%" from the National Right to Life Committee for the 106th, 107th, 109th and the ongoing 110th Congress.

Rep. Tancredo received a grade of "A" from the National Rifle Association for 2006 election cycle.

Rep. Tancredo has a lifetime rating of 97.8 from the American Conservative Union. That is the highest rating among all the presidential candidates.

Rep. Tancredo has recieved a grade of "A" from the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) for each year that he has served in Congress. He has also received a "Taxpayer Friend Award" from the NTU for each year that he has served in Congress.

"The defense of our nation begins with the defense of our borders." - Rep. Tom Tancredo and


You know Reynolds Aluminum, providers of fine hats for all occasions. How did they rate Tancredo as major factor in the increase in sales?

Proud member of the Barry Goldwater wing of the party !

"You're going to have to, in some way, work out a deal where they can have some aspirations of citizenship". Maybe Fred wants to "work out a deal" where illegal aliens can have some aspirations of citizenship, but I don't.

"The defense of our nation begins with the defense of our borders." - Rep. Tom Tancredo and

Tom Terrific represents everything that is wrong with the discussion of illegal immigration in my view. He and his fellow simpletons in Congress did nothing, zip nada when they had a chance two summers ago and we had a Republican majority in both the house and the senate. They offered no counter to the President's foolish plan, they and he engaged in self serving and of the worst kind of demagoguery.

I think most people who are looking at the problem created by years of indifference to our immigration laws want to see our government first secure the borders of this country, have real enforcement efforts of our current immigration laws including employer sanctions, and then we'll talk about how to deal with the 20+ Million illegal aliens in our country.

We will be always be the softies that Americans are noted for and treat those who have broken our laws by coming here illegally with some degree of compassion and respect, it's who Americans are.

Tancredo and his hollow rhetoric offers no path to doing those things, he only offers up blame, noise and foolishness without any real leadership. Tancredo's "Round them up and send them home" rants are just stupid to the Nth degree and darn near racist when he goes off on preserving "our" culture from the hordes of illegals coming here.

You want to align yourself with this modern Kingfish, knock yourself out.

Proud member of the Barry Goldwater wing of the party !

Tom Tancredo, the entire House Republican leadership and the overwhelming majority of House Republicans all supported H.R. 4437. This legislation was an enforcement only bill that seriously addressed the problem of illegal immigration.

H.R. 4437 attempted to both secure the borders and make it easier to enforce existing laws regarding the hiring of illegal aliens by employers. You state that you want the borders secured and enforcement of current immigration laws. H.R. 4437 was aimed at accomplishing both of those goals. It provided for increases in the number of border patrol agents and contained other provisions to secure the border. Its language also would have facilitated the enforcement of existing laws.

H.R. 4437 contained no provisions that would have rewarded illegal aliens with legal status.

Did you support H.R. 4437?

House Republicans did offer and pass "a counter to the President's foolish plan". It is not the fault of House Republicans that a minority of Senate Republicans joined with forty-one Democrats to pass S. 2611, the Senate's 2006 immigration reform bill. A majority of GOP seantors opposed S. 2611, but there simply weren't enough Republicans in the Senate that supported H.R. 4437 to be able to pass a Senate version of it.

While the debate about H.R. 4437 and S. 6211 was ongoing, please tell me what Fred Thompson had to say about either piece of legislation.

You want the borders secured and laws against employers hiring illegal aliens enforced. Tom Tancredo has been advocating those positions since arriving in Congress in 1999. Those positions were also advocated by dozens of members of the Immigration Reform Caucus that was chaired by Rep. Tancredo from 1999 to 2007.

Tom Tancredo was an original cosponsor of the Secure Fence Act that was signed into law by President Bush on October 26, 2006.

Fred Thompson has stated that he believes this nation must "work out a deal where they [illegal aliens] can have some aspirations of citizenship".

Rep. Tancredo shares the views stated by Rep. James Sensenbrenner in the following two paragraphs at a May 26, 2006, news conference:

"With the border controls and the enforcement of employer sanctions, the jobs for illegal immigrants will dry up. And if you can’t get a job because employer sanctions are enforced, my belief is is that a lot of the illegal immigrants will simply go back home voluntarily.

So this will end up being a process of attrition. But the only way to do that is through a workable employer sanctions program, fines that are high enough to act as a deterrent, and making sure that we have enough border controls to prevent the illegal immigrant who goes back home from being replaced by another illegal immigrant that comes into the country".

While attacking Rep. Tancredo in a prior thread, you asked what legislation had he introduced to address the problem of illegal immigration. I gave you an answer that referenced legislation that he introduced that was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Inhofe and that comprehensively addressed both legal immigration and illegal immigration. I asked you to name me any legislation that was ever introduced by Fred Thompson to address the issues of legal immigration and illegal immigration. Can you name any such legislation?

Your post is entitled "Let those who will not lead keep out of the way". Rep. Tancredo has been a leader in the area of illegal immigration. He was a leader in the passage of H.R. 4437. He was an original cosponsor of and a leader in the passage of the Secure Fence Act of 2006.

What leadership did Fred Thompson provide on the issue of illegal immigration in the Senate? What did he do to support H.R. 4437?

If you didn't like H.R. 4437, please tell me what legislation that addressed the problem of illegal immigration that you did support.

"The defense of our nation begins with the defense of our borders." - Rep. Tom Tancredo and

Honestly, I thought that depending on your perspective or biases Rudy, Romney, McCain, Thompson, and Huckabee all had good nights. However, I personally agree with Jeff Emanuel that McCain and Huck had the best nights--even though I'm a Huck supporter, I feel that I'm being objective in my assessments. McCain's line that he would have attended Woodstock, but he was "tied up" was priceless, and Huck's line about aging hippies getting free drugs was hysterical. By the way, I do agree that Thompson looked a little tired; however, I think that he did a heck of a lot better tonight than he performed during his last debate. I think that Rudy is definitely a scrappy debater and Romney is quite articulate as well, but he seems a tad plastic at times. However, Romney did have a relaxed and funny moment tonight when he asked the crowd what they thought of Hillary Clinton. Romney needs to continue to try to be more spontaneous, so he doesn't appear too over-rehearsed. I do wish that Tancredo (yuck), Hunter, and Paul would go, so that we could hear more from the top five candidates.

By the way, I just wanted to add that I thought that Fox did a much better job with tonight's debate than MSNBC did with the previous debate. I think that Chris Matthews' abrasive personality works well on Hardball (I think that my husband and I are the only people on earth who are actually fans of that show); however, I think that his personality comes off as obnoxious in a debate setting. Not to mention, Matthews spent the whole evening asking Rudy, Romney, and Thompson all of the questions, while asking the other candidates hardly any questions at all. I think that Fox did a much better job tonight of spreading the questions around. I'm sure that the reason why so many people think that Huck was one of the winners of tonight's debate, is that they actually got to hear him answer more than three questions. Go figure.

Even if you disagree with him on the war, you have to love Ron Paul's closing statement as a conservative. He hit the ball out of the park, showing why nominating him would cure everything that went wrong for Republicans in the 2006 election.

I can't believe that "conservatives" here continue to disrespect someone who has been true to conservative principles throughout his career in Congress, and states the case for freedom, liberty, and smaller government so effectively.

Ron Paul looked very presidential tonight, even with the audience booing. The weirdest part was people booing a factual statement -- about 70% of Americans wanting the war to be over -- a fact that will doom the Republican Party if we nominate a pro-war candidate, bringing on President Hillary Clinton and all that would entail, as so many candidates made the case tonight.

I just want it to be over with a successful conclusion...rather than just "over for over's sake". Regardless of what one thinks of the decision to establish a front in the WoT in Iraq, we're there now. And it does matter (a lot) whether we leave there generally successful or generally unsuccessful.

What's worse is that, being of a libertarian persuasion myself, Rep. Paul should be appealing to people like me. But he doesn't...not in the least. In fact, he's appalling.

Paul and so many Democrats have so misread those polls on Iraq. It's (obviously) true that most Americans want the Iraq War to be over. Who wouldn't? Raise your hand if you want it to on indefinitely. No takers?

I think you need to remember that you don't just "end" a war. A war ends when it's either won or its lost. Which of those we'll do is still up in the air -- and that being the case, people like Ron Paul need to just buzz off.

We already did what we first went over there to do. Now we're going after a vague concept of "stability" that doesn't even exist in neighboring ountries, and which I don't think is possible without decades of commitment. Enough generals and high-ranking civilians have come out blasting what we're doing there to make me highly critical even without the bad precedents for controlling those ares.

The French, British, and even us have tried to rule or control those countries for a century, and it has ended badly every time for them and us. I'm 100% for attacking terrorism, but that's not what we're doing there primarily anymore. I buy the stability argument, I really do, but it's just not anything near a sure thing, and further I'm not conviced we're helping the situation much with our present tactics. All in all it's just not worth dying for.

Of the couple times I saw him speak, he nailed that one the best. Self-criticism at it's best IMO, and after 2006 I think it's in order. There's too much at stake...I keep thinking of how the democrats here in MI have handled the economic situation and I get shudders of a near-dem monopoly at the fed level.

...once it becomes clear to you (as it is to most of the rest of us) that Ron Paul won't be the Republican nominee for president, what are you prepared to do to prevent the Democratic monopoly on federal power on January 20, 2009?

Really, it's a bit silly that we're sitting where we're sitting and discussing Ron Paul. I know you guys think he's terrific and all. But let's step back into reality a little.

He's not affecting the debate any. He's become a sideshow who garners roughly zero respect from the other candidates. He hasn't a shadow of a prayer of winning anything.

So...what next?

And that's part of why I think he's so great. He's reminding us of where we came from, and how far we've inched towards Dems. As my father-in-law said, many of today's Repub's would have fallen squarely into Dem territory a couple decades ago.

I think he would square off against Hillary as good as, if not better, then any candidate here. But I fully recognize that him making it out of the primaries is super uphill.

As to what I will do? After the primary dust-off is done, if Giuliani is not the winner, I will probably be out explaining why Hillary is so bad (unless it's McCain, in which case I might actually be positive about our nominee). If Giuliani is the winner...well, I can't explain to you the depth to which I think he is the wrong choice for President. I truly don't think he will win the nod, but if he does...I honestly don't know.

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

I do wish that Tancredo (yuck), Hunter, and Paul would go, so that we could hear more from the top five candidates.

I thought Tancredo was great, in the limited time he was given. It may be time for Tancredo and Hunter to step down, though.

By what metric is Ron Paul not a top five candidate? Because he's 1 percentage point behind Huckabee in the latest Gallup poll, with a margin of error of five percent? He raised more in the third quarter than Huckabee, Tancredo, Hunter, and Brownback put together. He raised more this weekend than Huckabee has all month.

Ron Paul has more grassroots support than all of the other candidates combined -- now well over 50,000 volunteers in over 1,000 Meetup groups around the country.

Go to and ask why any candidate with that kind of momentum would even consider dropping out.

To be a top five you have to have some remote chance of winning the primary.


Even if you vote for one of the leaders, true conservatives should lend their support to Ron Paul - help bring the Republican Party back to its conservative roots. Support Ron Paul -

...crazy in our lives? Seriously, your comment is worthy of no more substantive a response than that.

We are all heroes, you and Boo and I. Hamsters and rangers everywhere, rejoice!

...I'm actually a bit put off by it. Maybe it's just because I'm not McCain's biggest fan to begin with.

And I do appreciate the humor, to the extent that something like his experience at the Hanoi Hilton can even be humorous.

But I'm just not terribly comfortable with the idea of somebody using an experience like that as a political if to suggest that somebody who doesn't have that on their resume is somehow lacking.

Yes, yes...I know the context of his comment. And it is a great line. But there's something just a bit Kerry-desperate about somebody who feels the need to remind us of their hard-knock military past.

We all know what Sen. McCain endured. And, whatever happens with him politically, he always will be a genuine hero. But some things are better left unsaid.

It shouldn't be taboo for him to mention it. He didn't make a big thing out of it, even when given ample opportunity on H&C afterward. To suggest he used it as a reverse chickenhawk is quite a reach.

It certainly doesn't have to be left unsaid in a debate where the candidates history, record, and character were material to the discussion.


Kerry's incessant references to his Vietnam service became something of a running joke in '04 (Oh, served in Vietnam? Why...I had no idea!).

Now, I know that McCain's not going to this well nearly as much as Kerry did. And, moreover, I don't want to confuse Kerry's Vietnam service with McCain's. They share the campaign and the branch -- but that's about it.

And I also realize that this was a dig at Hillary and meant to be humorous and memorable. And it was both. But it just rubs me the wrong way when candidates point to something like this as a reason to vote for them.

As much as I admire and honor their service (including Kerry's, BTW), it has roughly zero bearing on their fitness for office.

LH, I don't think that's true. Mitt's experience with Olympics, to me, pertinent and positive. But I don't think that the fact that other candidates have, quite honorably, NOT worked with the Olympics means either that he is using an unfair bludgeon, or that it should be assumed as a zero-sum qualification.

Military service has bearing on their fitness for office. As does business experience, governmental experience, political experience, leadership experience and a host of other facts about their past that may not apply to each of them individually.

It's a fair subject to bring up. It only stirs certain negative connotations because of the left. We shouldn't let our objective assessment of a candidate be tainted by a bad taste created by the other side.


Kerry couldn't go two seconds without claiming that he would have single-handledly won the war in Viet Nam if not for the severe injuries he suffered. Though McCain went into the debate obviously planning to use this line as a swipe at Hillary rather than at the other GOP candidates, I don't feel he overplays the POW card at all.

under which I will vote for McCain in the general.

Now that we have that out of the way, I think this remark by McCain was not merely allowable, but a good one. It wasn't over the top the way Kerry was with his movie camera, three purple hearts, and medal of whatever it was that he threw away before he got a replacement for it or whatever. It was quick, it is as clear a distinction as you can have between him and Hillary, and it is an image that will stay with most voters if McCain wins the nomination, and affect them in a positive way.

but I just must reply to this. I would think McCain has earned the right to use his time as a POW anyway he sees fit in the debate.

He needs to get all the mileage he can out of it and I do not blame him one bit.

"much respect goes to McCain.

I still support Huckabee tho!

Jim Tomasik

Mileage? Political mileage? From his being held and tortured as a POW?

By this standard, we should've elected Ross Perot in 1992 -- because his Vice Presidential nominee was one of the most badly tortured POWs in Vietnam (and earned the Medal of Honor in the process).

You have to understand that, to me, political mileage is a cheap and tawdry thing. I don't have a positive connotation of it. It's like the street merchant trying to buffer up his cheap wares.

And I have a hard time juxtaposing the reverence I hold of something like McCain's Vietnam experience with the gamesmanship of the political circus.

Look, it's a minor thing. I probably shouldn't have even brought it up. And, for the record, I never said he didn't earn the right to use it.

I just think he should be above it.

If McCain wants to bring it up everyday for the rest of his life we should thank him for his sacrifice and listen.

After what he went through I say he has damn well earned it.

But that doesn't mean it a classy thing to do. There are lots of POWs who came back and don't even talk about their experience, much less try to use it to their advantage. There are lots more that didn't ever come back at all. I think making jokes about it and talking it up is disrespectful to those guys who sacrificed just as much, if not more, than McCain did.
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

I can't believe that the divisiveness of an election has so ingrained that people grudge a man for making a humorous reference to something he endured for his country.

He made a great comment, and at the same time it was a poignant reminder of the difference between dedication to American ideals on the conservative side, and to other ideals on the other side. It is possible to highlight something that shows you are a man of character without that being an assassination attempt on everyone who hasn't done the same thing. It is also possible to use that to draw a distinction between himself and Hillary without indicting the other Republican candidates. I know it is possible because McCain did so last night. Like I said in my comment to Libertarian Hawk above, it is ridiculous to assert that his time as POW is irrelevant. It is not. It is an illustration of his character, his dedication, and his loyalty.

It is also a very logical point to make considering what it was that Hillary was promoting. He'd have to be an idiot not to see the delineation there.

These ridiculous objections to McCain's justifiable and mild reference to his time as POW need to stop. Only an extreme partisan, embittered by election politics and annoyed that "not my candidate" scored a few points would react negatively to this comment.


I don't think McCain's being disrespectful to anybody or their experiences. In fact, I bet that if you went and found Vietnam-era POWs and asked them, they'd probably appreciate this little quip. I know that most Vietnam vets I know get pretty agitated when you bring up Woodstock and the related cultures going on here at that time.

But I agree with you that it should be above him to use his experience as a means to help him in an election. It's not that he isn't entitled to do it. It's simply that: a) I'm not sure it really makes a difference so far as his fitness for this office, and b) it appears somewhat desperate.

Anybody remember that episode of "Seinfeld" where George has his eye on the best apartment in his building and then learns that the board decided to give it to another tenant because he was a survivor of the Andrea Doria shipwreck.

George, not to be outdone, demands a full hearing before the board to allow them to compare his resume of hardships to the Andrea Doria survivor's.

That's what this reminds me of.

You've obviously got an axe to grind. I've already pointed out twice why you're wrong. Your basic position is that you just don't like John McCain, so when he makes a perfectly reasonable, quotable, excellent comment, you think it's desperation. You have obviously made up your mind about John McCain and can't tolerate the idea that he scored some points last night.


I do like John McCain and would enthusiastically pull the lever for him were he somehow able to wrest the nomination. I've said a number of times that he was right about Rumsfeld and the surge long before Bush took his advice. I've admired his thoughts on entitlement reform and GOP spending problems. I could go on and on.

I have no axe to grind with McCain whatsoever.

But I also think that it's a bit Kerryesque to use his military experience as a selling point for a presidential campaign. That's all.

I've pointed out any number of reasonable arguments for it. Maybe your axe isn't with McCain, but there is an axe to grind in this. There's simply no reasonable basis for your objection. None. Whatsoever. At all.

You cannot reasonably claim his military experience is not pertinent. Kerry's wasn't because of the quality and tenor of his service, and his own disowning of it after the fact. (Or rather, it was pertinent, but not in the way Kerry hoped.) That does not make military experience inadmissible. As I said, your logic suggests they should only reference experience if they all share it.

To suggest it is completely irrelevant and what's more, to go the extra step of suggesting that even mentioning his military experience is in bad taste is absurd in the extreme. But you are not an absurd person, nor an absurd contributor to Redstate. So you must have an axe to grind somewhere, because your position is patently ridiculous and false on its face.


He's served his country throughout the course of his life in so many ways; it's perfectly legit to point that out. His military service is a big plus in my book, especially when we're at war. I may disagree with him on Iraq, but at I know he has his position for the most principled of reasons.

I have great respect for the man. I supported him in 2000 until he melted down in SC. I fear that 2000 was his time. It is not so much that he is too old, but it seems as though his time has passed, he just doesn't realize it yet.

If he got the nomination I could support him wholeheartedly, but I suspect it will not happen.

You mention that Huckabee should be running for the Senate from Arkansas and not the Presidency.

If he were to run for the senate, he would have to run against Mark Pryor, the son of David Pryor (a very popular senator and govenor). Much of Huckabee's appeal in Arkansas is crossover appeal. In fact, back in 1998 when I lived there, I often saw "Mike Huckabee for Governor" signs in people's yards right next to "Mark Pryor for Attorney General" signs. Simply put, he and Pryor share a lot of the same base, so if he were to run--win or lose--he would necesarily alienate much of his support. (And frankly, the Governor has enough personal respect for Sen. Pryor not to run against his son.)

Remember, Arkansas is a small state.

against a Democrat to help his party IMO that disqualifies him for POTUS.

He defended his recored against Fred Thompson and he didnt invoke 9/11 once! Im so sick of liberal and especially conservatives who spew the hatefuly Mayor 9/11 venoum.

I love the guy but I have to be honest about what I saw.

Rudy is just so articulate and fast thinking in these debates. He would destroy Hillary.

I can't say the same about Fred at all. Fred has great ideas and is great at reading what he puts down on paper ahead of time. But he isn't good at speaking extemporaneously, which is unfortunately important in the soundbite age we live in. Look at how much that has hurt the perception of Bush.

Romney does seem like too much of a used car salesmen for my taste.

McCain and Huck were good, but not as good as Rudy when it came to attacking Hillary. In this political environment, we need someone like Rudy that can really take it to her.

Rudy will fight like a junkyard dog, he is exactly what the doc ordered for a case of the Clintons.

i.e. that he seems well-suited to keep Hillary out of the White House.

It may be the best argumnet, but its hardly the only one. He had the balls to implement ComStat and put stock into the broken windowns theory. His record in New York on imporving the lives of average people stands on its own.

McCain has lost all my respect for his opportunistic posturing, his frequent associations with Ted Kennedy, his unconstitutional assault on free speech, and his dissing of the conservative wing of the party. As a matter of principle and of conscience I could never vote for him, even if he was the last human being on earth.

Rudy looked and sounded really good last night. I see why his support is growing. I like his "in your face" confrontational attitude. I think he's got the will and the ability to choke slam Hillary over and over again... more on that later.

I was totally impressed with Huckabee last night. I think that he actually holds some core principles and has the capacity to unify conservatives.Thompson was disappointing (again) and I continue to fail to understand why he is running in the first place.

Overall I really enjoyed watching the debate last night & I heard very little that I disagreeed with I heard from any of the candidates.

I suppose the most disappointing part was how that speaking against Hillary is what energized viewers the most. I wish we had someone who could energize the party on the affirmative, rather than relying on the anti-Hillary vote.

You are right about McCain. I's unbelievable that with all his history people seem to be eating up his new "reliable conservative" mantra.

My impressions were completely different. Romney and Giuliani were on a level of their own and had to deal with constant attacks from the other candidates and a stream of hostile questions from the moderators.

They are becoming the center of attention in these debates and the other candidates always seem to be responding to them. That is making the others look more and more like second tier try hards.

McCain was the hypocrite of the evening. He said Romney is trying to fool people and described himself as the reliable conservative. Reliable? Sure, let's pretend the maverick was never a maverick. Romney is trying to con people and McCain-Kennedy was not Amnesty. yep, let's all believe John McCain.

And Huckabee was the populist who benefited because nobody bothered to attack him on his record. He is against the insurance companies and is all for the people. How nice of him. I guess class warfare has finally arrived in the republican party.

The other candidates are not even worthy of mention. Forgettable and mostly irrelevant.

when did he mention insurance companies?

"Democrats want to turn it over to the government, while the Republicans want to turn it over completely to the private insurance companies. I think the better idea is to turn it over to each individual"

That's populism for you. How is the individual supposed to get insurance without private insurance companies and without government. Huckabee is selling snake oil pure and simple.

But he looks believable, and so does McCain when he says he is a reliable conservative. People tend to ignore the substance of what these guys say and focus on appearances alone. Big mistake.

it makes reading threads easier. Not using it marks a Newb, as well as increased potential Moby/Troll.

Now, as to the substance of your remark, having actually caught this particular exchange during the debate, I thought he was the only one to get it right. Romney had just finished pitching his government requirement + tax credit plan to achieve universal coverage purchased through private insurance companies, a plan I simply can't support.

Now, for quite some time there has been this thing usually referred to as a Medical Savings Account, which would work similar to a 401(k). You would deposit money into it and withdraw money from it to pay medical expenses. Usually it gets pitched as tax exempt donations to level the playing field against employer-paid insurance, which as nearly as I can tell is the biggest thumb on the scale of the free market system. You could elect to have a catastrophic plan payed for out of the account, and regular medical expenses as they occur. I can conceive of somebody managing to get enough money into the account so they never need the catastrophic insurance and all payments would be directly to the people providing the medical service. Less paperwork, lower overhead, cheaper prices. Most of us call it the free market, and it produces other life sustaining goods far better than any known government service, because the choic is in the hands of the individual, not the bean counters at the big companies or faceless government bureacrats.

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