Rudy Giuliani found out that it’s easy to get burned in Florida, and, from the peeved tone in John McCain’s voice as he debated last night from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, it might be easy to get burned in Simi Valley, California, with the voters, if he continues acting and sounding like a peeved, cranky old geezer. The dial people hooked up to those omnipresent measuring devices didn’t like his tone at all. Nor did I. Nor did Mitt Romney.
The four Republicans left in the race, starting with Mike Huckabee on the far left of the stage and moving to the right (figuratively speaking) with Ron Paul, John McCain and Mitt Romney seated next to one another answered such questions as, “Are you better off than you were 8 years ago?” To be honest, Romney changed that question to one he preferred answering about his record while Governor of Massachusetts. Finally, with irritation, Anderson Cooper called him on that old political dodge and reined him in, asking, “Are you running for Governor or are you running for President?” Indeed.
Ron Paul, was the usual voice crying in the wilderness, and answered, “No. No. We’re not better off….Republicans were elected in 2004 to have a humble foreign policy and we’re trying to police the world.” Paul even went so far as to say (horror of horrors), “It’s partially this Administration’s fault.”
One of the worst points in the snarky debate, for me, was when McCain patronizingly pointed out to Romney that the Boston Globe had not endorsed Romney, but had endorsed McCain. He said, “I’ll guarantee you the Arizona Republic will be endorsing me, my friend.”
Somehow, given the tone of the comments, I don’t think these two are destined to be BFFs. (Best Friends Forever).
McCain said that Romney’s own Lieutenant Governor had not endorsed Romney (thrust), but had been traveling around with his team, and Romney was quick to parry that Kerry Healey, his Lieutenant Governor had endorsed him, but it was Governor Swift, his predecessor in Massachusetts who was helping helm McCain’s campaign.
Peggy Noonan, famed speechwriter, recently wrote that George W. Bush has “destroyed the Republican party” and the candidates were asked about this quote from her article. Romney replied, “He kept us safe these last six years.” The audience actually applauded that…although a little bit of reading would suggest that Bush the Younger has helped create a much more fertile breeding ground for terrorist cells than existed before his ascension to the throne.
Romney was noticeably peeved that John McCain insisted that Romney supported a specific time table for withdrawing from Iraq, saying it was “absolutely wrong” and going further to say that “Raising it a few days before the Florida primary, when I had very little time to rebut it, was the kind of dirty politics that Ronald Reagan would have found reprehensible.” Romney also said, with deep exasperation, “How is it that you’re the expert on my positions?”
McCain (parry) said, “You did not take a position on this when it was a critical issue.”
Ah. Yes. Shades of the Walmart attorney/Rezko slumlord exchange that was so entertaining during the last Democratic debate.
McCain insisted, at one point, that Republicans lost the mid-term elections NOT because of the War in Iraq, but because of overspending. Welllllllll. Maybe; maybe not.
Ron Paul articulated all of our frustration at the childishness on display when he said, “You’re talking about these technicalities of who said what when? …How many men are you willing to let die. It’s unconstitutional. It’s time we only go to war with a declaration of war.” Hear, hear, oh weird Squirrel-like figure. I’m actually liking what you have to say…for the most part. He quoted Reagan’s agreement with his position that, “No great country that ever went off the gold standard ever remained great.” Me no know gold. Other than that it is at an All-time High.
And the shenanigans between Romney and McCain were at an All-time Low and on display for the entire nation last night.
If I were grading them like the children on the playground they seemed to be (“My daddy can beat up YOUR daddy!” “Oh, no he can’t.” “Oh, yes he can!”), I’d say that Huckabee and Paul did better than their more contentious opponents on the stage, and that it’s a good thing this was the last debate or fists might fly.
Latest news: Arnold Schwarzenegger (aka, “the Terminator”) will endorse McCain (aka, the cranky, old war horse.)