Tuesday, May 15, 2007

South Carolina Republican Debate

Did I hear this correctly? Mayor Giuliani has proposed not just a national ID card, but a mandatory nationwide database of everyone in the country at all times? Do we have any idea what this means? Universal person registration??????

And Mitt Romney came straight out and said that we should "double Guantanamo." Well, Mitt, that's a little difficult unless we go to war with Cuba. Why don't we do the easy thing and just establish concentration camps around the U.S.?

Ron Paul did splendidly. He mildly stumbled once or twice; when he was asked if he would actually get rid of the Department of Homeland Security in a time of war, I think he should have said, "Absolutely. We already had a Department of Homeland Security: it's called the Department of Defense." He actually had a better quote on his website than the one he used: "Only in Washington would anyone call the creation of an additional layer of bureaucracy on top of already bloated bureaucracies 'streamlining.'" He also seemed a bit nervous at first, stumbling over words and fiddling with his pen.

But at moments he was brilliant. The fight between him and Guliani was awesome. I loved Guliani's quip, that he'd never heard that theory (that Al Quaeda attacked us because of our wars and intervention in the Middle East) before. That's wonderful, since, as Paul said, that's the reason that Bin Laden himself gave. The pundits are saying that it was a boost for Guliani and that Paul is done. I think quite the opposite. Guliani and McCain are spouting the standard Bush line that they hate us because we're rich and free. That plays well for the hardcore, Fox News-watching base of the Republican Party, but for anyone with any brains, they've been asking that exact question for six years now: Why did they attack us? The Bush answer doesn't compute. Paul gave them the answer tonight. Expect this to work in Paul's favor far more than the pundits have any idea.

There was one more great Paul moment, but I don't remember what it was right now. I'll repost when I figure it out.

Update: Ron Paul is #1, with 30%, in the Fox News debate poll! The guy who announced that said that perhaps Paul has a better organization to coordinate his supporters texting. I don't think so. It's not so much a matter of coordination or organization. I mean, the email we got today was an appeal for money; it didn't even mention the debate. His blog post for today gave the number and message to text, but that's about it. The rest of it is just grassroots. There are several websites not formally associated with the Paul campaign that have sprung up to support him. He had a lot of people who believed in him (myself included) long before he declared his candidacy.

But none of that explains the results. Surely, with as many Paul supporters as there may be, they're a small fraction of the number of people watching the debates. This has got to be a genuine popular upswell of support. There have been accusations that Paul supporters were somehow fudging the online MSNBC and ABC poll results. Honestly, they were so distorted that even I thought it was possible. But the results from Technorati and, in particular, Alexa (you can't distort the drop in visitations to other candidates' websites that happened after the first debate) seem legit. And I just don't see how you can distort text message polls; presumably (hey, let me try...) you can only vote once from any one phone (hm. I got a response when I voted the first time, but this time my message dropped into a hole. But maybe I missed the end of the voting. Update: I did get a response, hours later. It was the same response as I got to my first message. So perhaps it went through after all. Hard to say). To fudge these results, you'd have to have tons of cell phone accounts. That's money that Paul supporters don't have.

Part of this can be explained by the fact that libertarians have a much higher proportion of techie types than any other political persuasion. Online polls and text message polls are only accessable to those with the technical knowhow to access them, and libertarians lead the pack on that count.

One of the candidates (Duncan Hunter, I believe), in the post-debate interviews, just said, in response to Ron Paul's comments, that "we didn't attack a middle eastern country, we saved a middle eastern country—Kuwait—and our reward was being attacked on 9/11." But that's precisely Paul's point! That was our reward for intervening in the Middle East!

Paul didn't say anything about immigration that I heard tonight, so this wasn't directed at him, but this same guy said, in support of stricter immigration controls, "we caught 1100 [illegal immigrants] from Communist China [crossing the border from Mexico]," I presume within the last year. This is a point against allowing immigration? 1100 of the most industrious, intelligent people in the world want to come here to escape Communist oppression, and that's a bad thing??

Update 2:
This is priceless. Immediately after the post-debate show on Fox, there is a show on Discovery Times on Osama bin Laden where they clearly say that bin Laden was severely upset by the U.S. liberation of Kuwait, believing that it was the duty of the Muslim world to do so. This (along with, I'm sure, what the show will say later) utterly validates Paul's point. It has nothing to do with us being rich. How could it? Saudi Arabia is crazy rich. Bin Laden himself is incredibly rich. It has nothing to do with being free. As bin Laden himself said, why then did he not attack Sweden? It has everything to do with blowback from our intervention in the Middle East.

Update 3:
I remember now, after seeing the video of Paul's performance in the debate, what his last great moment was: His gripe that they were dealing with hypothetical situations when the real Osama bin Laden was still free and we were basically ignoring him. Awesome.

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Current Thoughts at 5/15/2007 08:26:00 PM