In the Arena

GOP Debate

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Some thoughts:

Fred Thompson was a piece of furniture. His answer about how to save social security was gobbledygook. He seemed to be saying that you save it by indexing it…but that doesn’t address how you find the money to pay for it. Certainly, as a Republican, you couldn’t ever, ever, like, raise t—-, to do that?

Rudy Giuliani mentioned Hillary Clinton six times. He is a man obsessed. But really, Rudy, do you think that all this bellicosity is going to make the Bible-thumpers forget your views on abortion? It’s true that Clinton is in a strong position. Many Beltway columnizers have declared her inevitable–not me, however, not yet–but you get the sense that the Republicans are just foaming at the mouth over the chance to have at her. She’s a natural fund-raiser…for them. And a ratings raiser for all the wing-nut yakkers on TV and radio. I wish I could say, with any confidence, be careful what you wish for. But I can’t–not yet.

Mitt Romney continues to unload gargantuan whoppers. There were two last night. First, he said we couldn’t let Ahmadinejad “control” a nuclear weapon–but, as Romney well knows, Ahmadinejad has no control over the Iranian nuclear program or foreign policy. Then, in his continuing effort to mislead people about Hillary Clinton’s health care plan (a near-xerox of his Massachusetts plan), he said that the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP) was a form of “government” health insurance. Yeah, well, it does provide health insurance to government employees–but it does so by offering them an array of private insurance options.

I don’t know, but for the first time last night Romney began to seem a little desperate.

Finally, I’ve lost all patience watching the disgraceful right-wing populists from Congress, Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter. Both are demagogues. Tancredo’s nativism and Hunter’s protectionism are positions that Democrats flirt with, from time to time–and they are cruel, hateful, willfully misleading. Any politician who says that raising tariffs will protect American jobs is raising false hopes; any politician who says we can somehow kick out the 11 million immigrants here illegally is delusional.