That Crazy GOP Presidential Debate in Florida...Four Years Ago

Think last night's Wolf-o-rama in Tampa was a bit goofy around the gills? Well, take a trip into the memory hole of four years ago, when the Blitzer role was taken by WorldNetDaily Editor Joseph Farah, when the proceedings began with the moderator reciting a prayer, where there were literally empty podiums for the upper-tier candidates who declined to participate, and where Rep. Ron Paul was surrounded by Mike Huckabee and a cast of minor supporting actors (John Cox, anyone?) who tried desperately to out-God one another. Dip a toe into the transcript, or read then-Reasoner David Weigel's spit take. Here's a sampling from the candidates' opening statements. One of them is not like the others:

ALAN KEYES: [A] country that is based, as we are, on the truth that our rights come from God cannot hope to survive unless we revive our allegiance to the existence and the authority of God. Every issue we face, every problem we face, can be traced back to our abandonment of this principle. I believe that the time is long passed when we must hoist on high the banner of our Creator, God, and never let it fall again, though we die for it!

DUNCAN HUNTER: I believe very strongly that God still loves this nation, that we are still a people of faith, and hope, and character.

RON PAUL: A free country is designed for individuals to deal with a subject of virtue and excellence. Once we defer to the government to get involved in worrying about our virtue and our excellence and perfect, fair economies, it is done at the sacrifice of liberty. If we do that and we sacrifice that liberty and the job of virtue and excellence is taken over by the government, you can only do that through tyranny. The only way we can solve our problems is expecting to do the things.

SAM BROWNBACK: [U]ntil we get back to the basics, we're not going to be able to grow and prosper. And to me those basics are: life--that every life is sacred, beautiful, unique child of a loving God; family--that the best place to raise a child is between a mom and dad bonded together for life; and faith. Faith is an important thing. And it's something that we've been running out of the public square when we should be inviting it into the public square.

JOHN COX: [O]ne of the basics is found in Matthew 6:24, which says that you can't serve God and money. And you know what? I think the same thing holds in politics.

TOM TANCREDO: We share the general feeling that there is a degradation of our own society, especially the morals of our society. We recognize that it is important for us. This is an important issue in order for us to survive in this clash of civilizations--by the way, with which I believe with all my heart we are engaged.

MIKE HUCKABEE: First of all, I want to say thanks to everyone for giving us this opportunity. I must say, it's unlike any debate I've been a part of so far. I cannot imagine Chris Matthews opening in prayer and having a choir at some of the other debates we've had. And how refreshing this is to be a part of this tonight. I think all of us who were on the state prayed during those debates. I'm not sure that the moderators were praying. But we'd better be praying for our country. We really better be praying for our country, because it's in trouble.

Peter Suderman's post-write of last night's events here.

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  • nobody||

    Holy fucking shit that's a lot of crazy.

  • The Other Kevin||

    No kidding. Who was that guy talking about "liberty?" What a whack job.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Ha ha ha, nicely done, TOK.

  • ||

    Those people are nuts, I heard that Hunter guy talking about Christ.

  • kilroy||

    The only way we can solve our problems is expecting to do the things.

    Huh?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I believe that's an incomplete thought, the conclusion of which is 'instead of expecting the government to do them for us'.

    Either that, or he got all abstract and stuff.

  • ||

    It could be a reference to the "other things" that Kennedy mentioned in his famous Moon speech at Rice University.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I do sort of wonder what relevance John Cox's quote had within the context of a political debate.

  • MNG||

    I love the GOP debates. If one were a libertarian it can be seen where the libertarian philosophy has made strides (the anti-tax and spending rhetoric) and where conservatives still differentiate themselves (the hearty applause that warmongering, militarism, and executions get).

  • MNG||

    And immigration, don't forget immigration in that latter category.

  • juris imprudent||

    This inanity leaves me longing for the smoke-filled rooms of yore.

  • ||

    Yeah, the only remotely sane answer given is by the candidate that Reason can't quite bring themselves to get behind.

  • Tom Hoefling||

    "[A] country that is based, as we are, on the truth that our rights come from God cannot hope to survive unless we revive our allegiance to the existence and the authority of God. Every issue we face, every problem we face, can be traced back to our abandonment of this principle."

    Simply a restatement of the assertions of the founders of this country in the Declaration of Independence. How far have folks fallen when they mock the foundational premises of America and of our claim to liberty?

    Frederick Douglass:

    "I have said that the Declaration of Independence is the RINGBOLT to the chain of your nation's destiny; so, indeed, I regard it. The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in. all places, against all foes, and at whatever cost. From the round top of your ship of state, dark and threatening clouds may be seen. Heavy billows, like mountains in the distance, disclose to the leeward huge forms of flinty rocks! That bolt drawn, that chain, broken, and all is lost. Cling to this day-cling to it, and to its principles, with the grasp of a storm-tossed mariner to a spar at midnight."

    Sounds just like Alan Keyes.

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