The Republican race has moved to South Carolina. There was a debate last night (Monday) and there will be another one on Thursday. The voting will be on Saturday.
The Monday night debate was bizarre. There were definitely a lot of attacks on Mitt Romney. With there only being five candidates left on stage, you would think that the candidates would get a lot of time and a lot could be revealed in two hours. But we are talking about Fox News. While perhaps not as bad as CBS and PBS, they still only managed to ask one question to Ron Paul in the first 35 minutes of the debate.
The crowd was also rowdy with a lot of cheers and boos. It was mostly annoying.
It was also annoying when Ron Paul was asked about the killing of Osama bin Laden. He was trying to answer, but he kept getting interrupted. But the interruptions were not from the other candidates. They were coming from the Fox News moderators of the debate. Paul made a comparison to Saddam Hussein, saying that he was captured and at least had some kind of a trial. Paul was interrupted by Bret Baier (with his smugness) telling Paul that he didn't support the Iraq War. Hey Baier, you moron, that wasn't his point. That is a different subject. You can't understand that Paul was just saying that bin Laden could have been captured without being killed (if that is what actually happened)?
Then there was the topic of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which has provisions which suggest that American citizens on American soil can be detained for terrorist activity by the military and be detained indefinitely without trial. While I find it just as outrageous that it is done to foreigners, this is obviously a horrible law.
Romney said that he supported the NDAA and that he expects Obama will not abuse it and he said that he will not abuse it as president. Romney basically said that the legislation is ok because Americans can trust him and Obama not to abuse any power. Hey Romney, if that is the case, then why not just advocate repealing it? Even the crazy Santorum couldn't defend this thing.
One of the things that Harry Browne liked to point out was a quote by Michael Cloud. He said that the abuse of power is not the problem. The problem is the power to abuse. This goes to the whole point here. The NDAA may not be used for any bad purposes for the next decade, but it is putting in place a power that will eventually be used by bad politicians for bad purposes.
Should we just give Romney power because he says that we can trust him? Romney's answer to that one question completely disqualifies him for being president (in case you had any doubt). If he thinks that is the way government should operate, then it shows that he himself is a total thug who should never be trusted with any power at all (not that I would really trust anyone with power over others).
There was some entertaining back-and-forth between Paul and Santorum. When Paul was asked about running negative ads, it was funny to hear him say that he wished he could have had longer than a minute in his commercial to expose all of the big government policies that Santorum had supported.
Then there was a bizarre exchange on gun control. Santorum said that he supported federal gun control legislation as a "compromise". Yeah, that's exactly what we need in the White House.
Then Santorum accused Ron Paul of being anti-2nd amendment because he did not support a law protecting manufacturers from lawsuits. Paul explained that it was a jurisdiction issue. He explained that tort law like this should be handled at a state level. So Santorum ignored everything he said and repeated his claim that Paul is against the 2nd amendment. Santorum was either demagoguing the issue or he is simply too dumb to understand Paul's position on this.
Overall, I don't think many minds were changed on Monday night. People who love Paul will still love him. Most of those who don't like him will probably continue to not like him after last night.
While I think Gingrich is full of it, I think he had a stronger appeal than Santorum in the debate. For that, I think Gingrich will emerge as the third candidate. I had been leaving the door open for Perry because it is harder to criticize his record and because he has had significant financial backing. However, it turns out that Perry is a complete moron who debates about as well as the last president from Texas.
My prediction for South Carolina is that Perry finishes last and drops out of the race. Santorum will not be far behind. Then we will have a three-way race between Romney, Paul and Gingrich. Stay tuned.