The Objective Eye

"Every movement that seeks to enslave a country, every dictatorship or potential dictatorship, needs some minority group as a scapegoat which it can blame for the nation's troubles and use as a justification of its own demand for dictatorial powers. In Soviet Russia, the scapegoat was the bourgeoisie; in Nazi Germany, it was the Jewish people; in America, it is the businessmen."
- Ayn Rand, "America's Persecuted Minority: Big Business" (1961)

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Location: Los Angeles, United States

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

GOP Debate Morphs Into Rocky Horror Screening

Now Playing: "2bfree" by Tommy Heavenly 6 (a.k.a. Kawase Tomoko) - J-Pop with some great, punchy guitar.

The umpteenth Presidential debate, this time the Republicans, just concluded and once in awhile we heard the candidates talk about political issues - in those little gaps between the cheers, boos, applause, tossed toast and rice, shouts of "where's your neck," and I believe a fan-produced costume facsimile of the spectacle at one side of the arena.

Not to belabor the point, but this debate was aired (cabled, whatever,) and therefore readily available for viewing, on the highest-rated news network in the United States. The entire thing will be posted in dozens of versions on YouTube in the days to follow, for anyone who missed the real time version and Fox's repeats.

So somebody please explain to me the rationale behind staging the event in a large arena with a live audience of rival cheerleading squads, gathered in force to alternately squeal with delight, hoot with indignation, shout out worthless "suggestions" and applaud endlessly while the rest of us, candidates and viewers alike, ...wait.

This is a debate for the future occupant of the single most important office in the semi-free world at a time when the lives of every one of us hangs in the balance - and we get stuck with a game show held at an arena-scale version of a frat house?

As I mentioned in a previous post, a number of years ago I saw a debate for Canadian Prime Minister on C-Span and it was just the candidates, the host/moderator, and the unseen camera crew. Period.

What I noticed - and what's made it stick in my mind all these years - is that the depth of discussion and the sheer absence of cheap posturing were in stark, painful contrast to these contemptible game show formats we've had to endure with American debates. There was no "playing to the crowd" because there was no crowd. There was more time for discussion - because nobody had to wait for random, meaningless noise to subside. There were no cheap "sound bite" one-liners dispatched - because there was no need to enlist applause in the manner of instant spin.

If you've been as disgusted on this as me, contact Fox News and let them know what you think of their formatting.

As for what little substance of it remained, some general observations:

Surprisingly, confused Democrat John McCain actually gained a little respectability this time with a one-two punch:

- Illuminating Romney's limp RINO-speak assertion that "the surge is apparently working." McCain's response: "The surge is working. No, not 'apparently,' it's working."

- Stating a hard line on government spending the others seem curiously unwilling to match.

I still consider McCain to be unworthy of Republican Party affiliation, not to mention the Presidency - an appraisal that won't change, unless he suddenly announces that his 2002 Campaign Censorship Act was indeed an abomination that must be destroyed as a first priority in January 2009. That and a dozen or so other authoritarian gems he's sponsored through the years...

Paul reinforced his militant unsuitability for the job of leader of the semi-free world in the most vivid terms yet, with comments on foreign policy that were as noxious as they were misguided. Consider this statement: "The fact that we had troops in Saudi Arabia was one of the three reasons given for the attack on 9/11. So why leave them in the region? They don’t want our troops on the Arabian Peninsula."
Credit goes to moderator Wallace who replied with this followup question: "’re basically saying that we should take our marching orders from al Qaeda? If they want us off the Arabian Peninsula, we should leave?" Yes Mike, that is what he said, basically.

The fact that Paul is so catastrophically, dangerously wrong on the vital issue of America's (and Western Civilization's) continued existence, while being dead-on with nearly every domestic issue, means that he is of vastly more use to the cause of liberty as a member of Congress than as President. Unfortunately, his going off the deep end on national defense represents a kind of PR disaster for the valid positions he holds on other issues. Fortunately, the media are focused on his foreign policy position rather than his valid criticisms of leviathan government in any case. The quicker he drops out, the better.

All in all a lackluster evening, and at last Fred Thompson is ending what time will show to be either a clever strategy or a vast political blunder. I'm curious to learn more about the man and to compare him to the current pack. I don't watch network television - ever - so all I know of him is the vague snippets written about him in the press and that rather brilliant 'back atcha' he delivered to Michael Moore back in May. And - on the downside - the fact that he voted for McCain's shredding of the First Amendment back in 2002.

Stay tuned...


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