The GOP Debate: A Look Back with Love


Waylaid by stomach flu yesterday, I didn't get to revisit or wrap up the GOP debate in real time. But reporters were actually given the transcript as soon as the debate ended, and I've had time enough to compile the most risible moments from Wednesday.

Moment One: The Passion of Tom Tancredo

Watch how a small-business owner whose business needs fresh labor confounded the congressman.

JACK BROOKS: Hammered by competition with imports, our family-owned business struggles each year to find seasonal workers… What are you going to do to keep these guest workers coming to the U.S. to save our business?

COOPER: Congressman Tancredo?

TANCREDO: OK, the gist of the question, as I understand it, is, what I'm going to do stop guest workers from coming in here?

COOPER: No, no, to help. This small business needs guest workers.

TANCREDO: I'm sorry. I could not hear that. I'm sorry. Well, I'll tell you, I'm not going to aid any more immigration into this country, because in fact, immigration… does take jobs.

Who are you going to believe: Tom Tancredo or your lying ledger?

Moment Two: Decisive Fred

Fred Thompson gets what, for most candidates, would be a gimme question: What three government programs would you scrap?

THOMPSON: Well, it's a target-rich environment, there's no question about it. What most of these gentlemen have said absolutely correct. The difficulty is, most of the programs that we talk about, most of the ones get the headlines, would not begin to solve the problem.

Mitt's right when he mentions entitlement. That's why I have laid out a program to not attack entitlements, but to save Social Security. Everybody talks about wanting to do something about it. Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid are the ones that we're really going to have to reform if we're going to make any headway into spending.

COOPER: So of the top three you would say Social Security?

THOMPSON: No. I didn't say that.

Remember, one of Thompson's claims to the nomination is authoring a millenial report on wasteful spending called "Government on the Brink." And he can't name a wasteful program.

Moment Three: Romney's Guns
Presented without comment.

ROMNEY: I have two guns in my home. They are owned by my son Josh.

COOPER: All right, there you have it.

ROMNEY: He buys expensive things for me.

OK, one comment—this is how the Democrats will close the "toughness" gap.

Moment Four: Support Our Homophobic Troops
Duncan Hunter got the Hillary-planted question on Don't Ask Don't Tell, which was cut out from rebroadcasts, Q and A both. Too bad.

HUNTER: Most Americans, most kids who leave that breakfast table and go out and serve in the military and make that corporate decision with their family, most of them are conservatives.

They have conservative values, and they have Judeo-Christian values. To force those people to work in a small tight unit with somebody who is openly homosexual goes against what they believe to be their principles, and it is their principles, is I think a disservice to them.

Bonus points, though, for the Freudian use of "small tight unit."

Moment Five: Freedom Farms
You're a businessman who brags ceaselessly about your ability to cut waste and your lust for the veto pen. How do you suck up to Iowa? Pretend the busted farm subsidy system is actually a national security issue.

ROMNEY: We're competing with European and Brazilian and other farmers, and we're competing in a marketplace where they are heavily subsidized, at great disadvantage for our farmers. And so, if we're going to change our support structure, we want to make sure that they change their support structure.

And we do this together, as opposed to unilaterally saying: We're going to put our farmers in a tough position and have the farmers in the rest of the world continue to be subsidized.

I didn't forget McCain blaming Ron Paul for Hitler, but these seemed to be more quickly forgotten after the debate.