Tuesday, May 15, 2007
you were wrong when you said everything's gonna be alright:
I come back from Annapolis and Capps has the second GOP debate on, right in time to hear Ron Paul assert that U.S. hegemony in the Middle East gave rise to 9/11. Rather than rebut Paul, Rudy Giuliani appears sincerely furious at the contention, and immediately implies that Paul argued the U.S. deserved to be attacked. Paul stumbles through a response. Giuliani earns a raucous round of applause. Mitt Romney attempts to jump in and steal Giuliani's thunder, but he's cut off. Later on, Tom Tancredo jumps back in and disagrees with Ron Paul because Islam demands blowing up Sheboygen.

Then John McCain repanders on the Confederate flag! After the audience boos a moderator's reference to McCain's admission of cowardice in 2000 over calling the flag a "state issue" for South Carolina, McCain draws the ludicrous distinction that because now the flag isn't flying "on top of the State House," there's no problem at all with displaying the flag. He pleas for everyone to move on. Mark Salter immediately drafts a few scratch sentences for McCain's forthcoming memoir about how that was the most shameless thing he could have said in his failed 2008 bid.

Practically tasting the bile of disgrace rising in his throat, McCain recovers by refusing to torture a terrorist in a hypothetical ticking bomb case laid out by Brit Hume. Or at least I think he did. He prefaces his answer by saying the responsibility for the decision is his and his alone -- which suggests Michael Walzer's contention that the president can morally, in such cases, break the law, provided he recognize that he is breaking it and subsequently throw himself on the mercy of the legal system. But rather than spell out what he means, McCain pivots to a forthright denunciation of torture, complete with an explicit rejection of the consequentialist case: "We could never gain as much from that torture as we'd lose in world opinion." OK, clearly, McCain is still against torture.

Giuliani on waterboarding: "I would tell the people doing the interrogation to use every method they can think of. It shouldn't be torture, but every method they could think of." Waterboarding? asks Brit Hume. "Every method they can think of, and I would support them in doing that, because I've seen, I have seen what --" Massive applause. "--what can happen when you make a mistake about this." If it needs to be pointed out, 9/11 did not succeed because of a U.S. aversion to waterboarding. Trying to make up for his earlier denied pander, Mitt Romney endorses "doubling Guantanamo," whatever that means.

Winner: Giuliani. His bloodlust gets the audience's blood up.

(UPDATE: Loser: Ackerman's command of grammar and syntax. Post has been updated to reflect greater fealty to the English language.)
--Spencer Ackerman
I used to work in South Cackallack, in politics, with a lot of Republicans. I ain't gonna lie to you: them doodz is krazay.

Saying you went to Bob Jones for undergrad (BJ) is a big, big, plus in state politics. During the time of Abu Ghraib, Lindsey Graham was taking a lot of heat just for daring to notice that once you have descended to the barbaric depths of sexual torture, humiliation, murder, and corpse tampering something has gone very, very wrong. The bumper sticker, if I remember correctly, said No one died at Abu Ghraib.

The Bad News is that most Amuricans would support the war if they thought we were winning/it was winnable.

The Good News is that most Americans see that this is a lost cause and this opens their minds to the idea that this was misbegotten and has become brutal and unjustifiable.

The dead-enders--consider them post-Saddam Ba'athists--are Republican primary voters.

The GOPpers are going to get annihilated--just leveled--in '08.

I wonder what the dunkle will do with our healthcare.
Blogger Bill Smith | 6:56 AM

If it needs to be pointed out, 9/11 was not thwarted because the U.S. failed to waterboard anyone it had in custody.

I believe you dropped a negative here. You mean something like "If it needs to be pointed out, the reason 9/11 was not thwarted was NOT that the U.S. failed to waterboard anyone it had in custody."
Blogger Vance | 8:00 AM

Ooops. Right you aware. Thanks, Vance. Kids, don't drink and liveblog.
Blogger spencerackerman | 8:17 AM

Cool, thanks. I resorted to pedantry only because I couldn't handle the crushingly depressing substance of the post. Can this really be the only register in which all our politicians and media can manage to speak? Can no-one stand up and put across the message that winning "dirty", or winning secretly, is no better than losing?
Blogger Vance | 2:01 PM