Monday, November 14, 2011

2012 GOP Presidentiables Debate Foreign Policy on TeeVee...Until the #NCIS Rerun

Leroy Jethro GibbsImage via WikipediaThe eight Republican presidential candidates were at the Benjamin Johnson Arena on Nov. 12, 2011 in Spartanburg, S.C. for the CBS News/National Journal commander-in-chief's debate on foreign policy.

Politico was sorry to report that it was the "the worst kind of debate" since "nothing awful happened."

"Rick Perry exhibited no brain freeze (at least no more than usual), Herman Cain did not stumble badly (at least no more than anybody else), Newt Gingrich did not attack the moderators (much) and the audience booed only once (when Ron Paul opposed torture)."

True, true ... no "Oops!" moment there but they still said lots of stuff during the debate. Some quotes below which quite frankly, rocked the world:

Herman Cain on the Arab Spring:
"You have to look at Libya, Egypt, Yemen and all of the revolutions that are going on and how the administration has mishandled them," he said. "As a result, this has gotten totally out of hand."

Mitt Romney on Pakistan:
"Right now, they're comfortable with our using drones to go after the people that are representing the greatest threat." [...] "We have an agreement with the people we need to have an agreement with to be able to use drones to strike at the people that represent a threat,"he said

Jon Huntsman on nation building:
"I say this nation's future is not Afghanistan. This nation's future is not Iraq," Mr. Huntsman said. "I don't want to be nation building in Afghanistan when this nation needs so desperately to be rebuilt."

Jon Huntsman on torture:
“We diminish our standing in the world and the values we project, including liberty, democracy and human rights and open markets, when we torture.”

Rick Perry on foreign aid:
"The foreign aid budget in my administration will start at zero dollars," he said. "Zero dollars. And then we'll have a conversation."

Rick Perry on China:
"Listen, there are some people who made the statement that the 21st century is going to be the century of China and that, you know, we've had our time in the sunshine. I don't believe that. I don't believe that at all. As a matter of fact, you think back to the 1980s, and we faced a similar type of a situation with Russia. And Ronald Reagan said that Russia would end up on the ash heap of history, and he was right. I happen to think that the communist Chinese government will end up on the ash heap of history if they do not change their virtues. It is important for a country to have virtues, virtues of honesty. And this whole issue of allowing cybersecurity to go on, we need to use all of our resources. The private sector working along with our government to really-- standing up to cyber-command in 2010 was a good start on that. But fighting this cyberwar I would suggest is one of the great issues that will face the next president of the united states and we must win."

Ron Paul on Iran:
"I'm afraid what's going on right now is similar to the war propaganda that went on against Iraq."
Ron Paul on the rule of law:
"So what are we doing here to accept this idea that our president, and this lawlessness, to pursue? And that-- we some day will be subject to those same courts. So no, you don't. You want to live within-- in the law and obey the law. Because-- otherwise, it's going to be very bad for all-- all of us. And-- this whole idea that-- now we can be assassinated by somebody that we don't even like to run our medical care, and giving this power to the president to be the prosecutor, the executor, the judge and the jury, we better look at that carefully before you automatically endorse something like that."

Michele Bachmann on waterboarding and the CIA:
“If I were president, I would use waterboarding,” she promised. “Barack Obama is letting the ACLU run the CIA!”

Newt Gingrich on GOP presidentiables' qualifications:
“We’re here tonight to talk to the American people about why every single one of us is better than Barack Obama."
Newt Gingrich on Syria's Assad:
"Assad, who is our enemy, and is an ally and-- of-- of-- of Iran, has had amazingly soft treatment by our State Department, as though they are afraid to make him feel bad. I would actively-- approve-- taking those steps would which-- defeat his regime, which would probably be mostly covert. I don't-- I don't think you need a no-fly zone. I think there are a number of steps you could take. And I think he would fall very rapidly."

Oh, Cain and Bachmann said that they would favor waterboarding as an interrogation technique because well, it works. Period.

Also, there was that item where Romney and Gingrich agreed we'd go to war to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

Perhaps their next debate should be held at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland?

If they talked about la guerra next door, in the Estados Unidos Mexicanos,we did not hear it.  A long list of people killed right there on our doorsteps.  How about the Canada-U.S. Keystone XL oil pipeline, that's also next door, no? Did not hear that either.  Huntsman  and Perry did get asked about the European debt crisis, towards the end of the debate. Huntsman cited two problems for us, Perry says let the French and the German deal with that.  Perhaps Europe's too boring because it's across the pond never mind that it's our top trading partner?

In any case, CBS recognized that a 90-minute debate on foreign policy is suffering, at least in this election cycle, from under-excitement.  Would anyone actually get a 3 a.m. phone call about job creation, because that's what it will come down to?  But this is about the commander-in-chief's quick reaction to those tricky foreign policy puzzles.  Exactly! So important that the last half-hour of the debate was streamed online, while the network returned to its regular programming, a rerun of "NCIS" with Leroy Jethro Gibbs! Um, Gibbs as write-in candidate?

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