republicans 'a plenty
Well, last night's Republican debate was the first debate I have sat down to watch in quite awhile. (I don't think I managed to watch a whole debate in 2004 because I can only listen to George W. Bush for so long.) To be honest, if The Lobbyist for the Good Guys hadn't had a get-together for that purpose, I wouldn't have watched it all.
That said, I rather enjoyed last night's CNN/YouTube debate. While some of the questions were stupid(Exploration of Mars? Really? Is that the most pressing issue for our nation, CNN?), many were quite good. Of course, that doesn't mean the candidates actually answered them, because they've been trained to turn all answers into pat statements that point to their accomplishments and preferences. That 90% of the candidates don't seem to sense the fact that most Americans just want a straight answer these days is worrying, but not the least bit surprising.
Overall, I found Huckabee and McCain's answers to be the most compelling. Romney (and his "look-directly-into-the-camera-at-all-times" approach) comes off as creepy and a little slimy. He reminds me of no one as much as John Kerry. Huckabee probably won, but McCain's answers regarding torture gave him the clear moral high ground on that issue, and in that argument, Romney looked like an idiot. Giuliani is just as awful as he's always been, Thompson is clearly clueless and headed towards bowing out of the campaign, and the rest of them are irrelevant. Don't get me started on Ron Paul's fans.
Apparently Hillary-bashing is an obligatory part of a gathering of Republicans. I'm not one of her fans, but that seemed really unnecessary and childish. Clearly it appeals to the Republican base, given how much applause followed from the overwhelmingly white audience.
It was genius of CNN to air a great question from a retired brigadier general with over 40 years of military experience who is openly gay - and then to invite him to the debate (moderated by Anderson Cooper, which made it that much better). Despite the fact that he's apparently part of the Hillary Clinton campaign, his question was amazing, asking why the candidates think that our armed forces aren't professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians in the ranks. Watching the candidates tell him that he deserved to be treated like a second-class citizen despite all he has sacrificed for our country makes it clear what this party stands for.
Although I'm still very much undecided about this election, the liklihood that I'll vote Republican is admittedly slim. Still, I came away from the debate feeling a little better about the possibility of another Republican president, and liking Huckabee best, but trusting McCain slightly more on national security issues. Huckabee strikes me as genuine, and while I may disagree with him, he's not going to pretend that he believes something in order to win a demographic. I can respect that.
Put it this way: I would disagree with many decisions made by a Huckabee or McCain administration, and would probably be very unhappy and troubled by some of the things they would do, but I wouldn't worry about the fate of the country as much as I do now. Both of them strike me as serious grown-ups who aren't so smug and certain that they know the answer to every problem. And that is what our country needs, now more than ever.