by Mark Paxson of King Midget Ramblings
Like a moth to a flame, I found myself drawn to the Republican debate in New Hampshire Saturday night. Well, not quite, I was watching the Saints-Lions playoff game and the Saints were starting to pull away so I was getting bored and I remembered the debate was on. I tuned in at the halfway point right when the candidates began to discuss gay marriage. Watching them twist themselves into knots on the issue was fascinating.
Rick Santorum believes that the definition of marriage is a federal issue because we need one law that covers marriage across the country because you can’t have one state recognizing gay marriage and another state that doesn’t. In the very next sentence, he twisted himself into a hole. He stated that whether gay couples can adopt should be a state issue. Huh? So, we have to have a federal ban on gay marriage, but whether gays can adopt should be left to each state. In other words, if one state allows such adoptions and another doesn’t, that family relationship is defined differently from state to state.
Newt Gingrich called marriage a sacrament. He’s right, but only if you have certain religious beliefs. For many, marriage is actually nothing more than a civil act. Since marriage is a sacrament in his mind, does that mean that atheists cannot marry? What about a Jew and an atheist?
And, finally, Mitt Romney stated that calling a loving, long-lasting relationship between gay individuals a marriage is a problem for families, the law, and the country. This is the most basic argument of those who oppose gay marriage and they have yet to explain why that is. That statement is just cavalierly thrown out and there’s never the logical follow-up question. Why?
After that discussion, I really wanted to leave the debate, but the flame continued to burn. I’m glad I did. I learned these additional nuggets. Rick Perry wants to send U.S. troops back into Iraq because we’ve lost so much blood and treasure there already, he’d hate to see it all go to waste. In other words, pour more into the rathole. More billions and more lives. If Perry had his way, we’d still be fighting in Vietnam. And, Mitt Romney apparently agrees that U.S. troops should be re-introduced into Iraq. Do these guys realize that the dysfunction of Iraq was a matter of our own creation and that the Iraqi people – Shias, Sunnis, and Kurds – have to decide their way forward without the heavy hand of the American military in their midst?
What’s interesting about all of this is that these candidates want to stay in Iraq and Afghanistan, and invade Iran, all while cutting taxes even more than they have been.
At one point during the debate, Rick Perry began to talk about how people have lost confidence in D.C. and Wall Street, and he’s shown in Texas that he’s the type of leader who can restore confidence. He showed it by progressively getting worse and stumbling through the final half of his answer. Yes, Mr. Perry, you most certainly inspire confidence.
And, finally, the most amazing moment in the debate. The final question. The candidates were asked what they would be doing if they weren’t at the debate. Rick Perry said he’d probably be at a shooting range. Newt Gingrich said he’d be home watching the College Basketball Championship game. He was quickly and embarrassingly corrected – it’s actually college football season. The college basketball championship isn’t until March, hence the name, March Madness. But, it just got worse from there. Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney agreed that they would also be home watching the College Championship game, while Ron Paul stated he would be home with his family and if they’d gone to bed, he’d probably be reading an economic text book, and Jon Huntsman stated he would be calling his two sons, who are serving in the U.S. Navy.
Why is this all so wrong? The College Football Championship game, more commonly known as the BCS National Championship, wasn’t held Saturday night. It won’t be until Monday, January 9. So, in their eagerness to show a connection to the common man, to somehow connect to college football fans everywhere, Messrs. Gingrich, Santorum, and Romney demonstrated just how clueless and pandering they are. Even more funny is they did this in New Hampshire, a state with virtually no significant major college football presence.
My overall impression of the candidates was this. For the most part, they were incapable of putting together consistent, coherent thoughts. They appeared frenzied, in a rush to get their lines out, and ended up frequently seeming rushed and disjointed. They represent a world view that is so contrary to the one I hold on virtually every issue – foreign policy, social issues, the economy, budget, taxes, etc. I can only hope the final nominee is not able to persuade a majority of voters in November.
Ed.note: Still looking for a Republican voice to balance Mark’s liberal take on Election 2012.