"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


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.


Blogger euphrony said...

Didn't see the debate, but I saw that the editorial cartoonist from the Houston Chronicle had a question asked. It was an animation of Cheney asking about power of the VP under the next president. His question made the front page of the Washington Post and they called it the question of the debate.

Thursday, November 29, 2007 12:41:00 PM

Blogger Amy said...

I honestly am not sure how any president is going to be able to turn things around. I haven't decided yet if I'll even vote. I know I should pay more attention to local government and state elections as well, but I haven't yet. Wait, what's wrong with Ron Paul's fans? I visited his website the other day after reading about him at Andrew Osenga's websitea and rather liked his positions.

Thursday, November 29, 2007 2:11:00 PM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

Amy, Paul's fans were shouting obnoxiously while other candidates were trying to answer questions. I just don't have much patience for that kind of behavior. I'm not a huge fan of Ron Paul's ideas, but my complaint here was just about the behavior of his supporters.

E, I thought that was a great question as well. McCain gave a great answer - basically that W didn't have enough foreign policy experience to be up to the job after 9/11. Wow.

Thursday, November 29, 2007 3:14:00 PM

Blogger Amy said...

I see, yeah that's pretty obnoxious.

Thursday, November 29, 2007 4:22:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amy, I don't know you...but don't ever, ever give up the precious right to vote...cynicism leads to nothing...involvement, even the tiniest bit like voting, is always an act of hope...rp

Thursday, November 29, 2007 8:29:00 PM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

R, I gave a speech like that to my students earlier today for the last day of class. But honestly, if it comes down to two intolerable choices (eg, Giuliani vs. Clinton), I'm not sure I'll be able to vote for anybody in good conscience. Voting for the lesser of two evils is hard to fathom as "hopeful."

Thursday, November 29, 2007 10:02:00 PM

Blogger Amy said...

I am thankful for the right to vote, and I'm also thankful that voting is not required (like in Australia)

I have gone all over the political spectrum in the last five years and that is part of the problem, I am just uncertain of what I actually think would help the country the most. But, I must remember that there is still a whole year for me to decide, even though the media sometimes makes me feel like it's tomorrow. :)

I still think it will take more than a new president to turn the country around, but I suppose a new president will help.

Friday, November 30, 2007 1:32:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

TX in Africa, if the "lesser of two evils" is hard to fathom as hopeful, then as a government prof you need a long reading of Reinhold Niebuhr...let me know!


Friday, November 30, 2007 3:44:00 PM

Blogger Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Amy, it WILL take more than a new president to turn the nation around. As a student of social movements, I will state that we make progress when we combine electing better politicians with grassroots social movements pushing all politicians (the good, the bad, the indifferent, the bought and paid for, etc.) to do the right thing. Social movements have a hard time working against the obstacles placed by bad politicians and bad laws. So, having good leaders (presidents included) helps. But real progress has usually needed grassroots people power, too.

Friday, November 30, 2007 9:29:00 PM

Blogger David McCullars said...

Forgive me for going slightly off topic, but I beg to differ that Mars exploration isn't an important issue. It's not an important issue because we've chosen to ignore it. But think of everything that has come out of the initiative to land on the moon.

No one says it's the most important, and certainly it takes second fiddle to things such as national security, immigration, health care, etc. But this question is also symbolic. It asks about their emphasis on education and our intention to stay at the head of the pack in terms of technological advancement.

Thursday, December 06, 2007 12:49:00 PM


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