Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Debate #2

Here are pieces from the NYT, the WaTi, the WaPo, the LAT, The State (the Columbia, S.C. paper, which offers a transcript of the debate here), and, finally, NRO. The Fox News story is also worth reading.

It sounds like Rudy Giuliani seized the moment in his rebuke of Ron Paul’s claim that our Middle East policies produced 9/11, but the position he took really distinguishes him only from Paul, and not from the others. His abortion answer does distinguish him from the Republican field (and brings him very close to the modal Democratic answer--"safe, legal, and rare"). I’m still waiting for an explanation of how that position squares with "strict constructionism."

Update: NRO panelists grade the debate. Giuliani is the consensus winner. Huckabee helped himself, both with the crack about John Edwards (vice presciential, perhaps?) and with his rejoinder to Giuliani on abortion:

GOLER: You have said that you personally hate abortion but support a woman’s right to choose. Governor Huckabee says that’s like saying,
"I hate slavery, but people can go ahead and practice it."

Tell me why he’s wrong.

GIULIANI: There is no circumstances under which I could possibly imagine anyone choosing slavery or supporting slavery. There are people, millions and millions of Americans, who are of as good conscience as we are, who make a different choice about abortion.

And I think in a country where you want to keep government out of
people’s lives, or government out of people’s lives from the point of view of coercion, you have to respect that.

There are things that you can oppose, things you can be against, and then you can come to the conclusion, in the kind of democracy we have, the kind of society that we have, and the kind of society we have
where we want to keep government out of people’s personal lives, that you can respect other people’s view on this.

And I think everyone on this stage, including most Democrats, could probably very, very usefully spend a lot of time figuring out how we can reduce abortion.

GIULIANI: It’s going to take a while for the courts to figure out what to do about this. And while we’re looking at that, we should do what I did in New York, which is to try and reduce abortions as much as
you can, try to increase adoptions.

GOLER: Governor, has the mayor persuaded you?

HUCKABEE: He has not. I have great respect for the mayor, and let me tell you why I have great respect. He’s been honest about his opinion. He’s been honest about his position. And I think that’s a healthy thing for our party and for this debate.

But I’m pro-life because I believe life begins at conception. And I believe that we should do everything possible to protect that life, because it is the centerpiece of what makes us unique as an American people. We value the life of one as if it’s the life of all.

And that’s why we go out for the 12-year-old Boy Scout in North Carolina when he’s lost. That’s why we look for the 13 miners in Sago, West Virginia, when the mine explodes. That’s why we go looking for the
hikers on Mount Hood. Because we value life.

And it’s what separates us from the Islamic jihadists who are out to kill us.

HUCAKBEE: They celebrate death. They have a culture of death. Ours is a culture of life.

Now, if something is morally wrong, let’s oppose it. The honest argument is, I don’t think it’s morally wrong, and someone could take that position and then justify abortion. But if it’s wrong, then we ought to be opposed to it, and we ought to find ways to find better ways to deal with our respect for human life.

Discussions - 25 Comments

I would like to know why a practice he thinks is morally wrong (he does so personally, no?) is good for public policy.

Ron Paul said that we would not like it if China built large military installations in our country. He said that Usama bin Laden liked having our boys nearby so he could kill them more easily. Rudy Giuliani then accused him of saying that we invited the attacks of 9/11. That's a leap, to say the least.

I think it's difficult to argue that Ron Paul was wrong. We would not like it if China were building bases and large installations here. Our boys are being killed by terrorist insurgents with relative ease. Less than concluding that this is a statement about 9/11, we might ask about the best way forward, and that setting up garrisons around the world to protect our happy motoring lifestyle may be utter folly. Better to spend the billions we're wasting in Iraq weaning ourselves from their blood oil than sending our boys to die in the desert.

Giuliani does a disservice to the validity of the argument by invoking the bathetic personal appeal that "he lived through 9/11." We all did, so get over yourself. But, then again, that's all he has to run on. He's a pro-choice, pro-stem cell research libertarian multiple divorcee. I say, if the Republicans want to nominate him, I'll just vote for the real Democrat, or better yet, stay at home.

Ron Paul once again proves that he is a nutjob that is a statistical outlier in the Republican Party. A Republican Dennis Kucinich, the crazy aunt that you keep locked up in the attic. And he has the support of about 15 people plus his relatives.


A "nutjob?" That's real mature. When asked, Ron Paul said he wanted to cut "whole departments" instead of programs. Tommy Thompson could only name one paltry program. There was a time when conservatives would have cheered on Ron Paul's answer. They would have supported it rhetorically even if they never really did expect it to happen. I agree Ron Paul is an outlier, but that is an indictment of the Republican Party and the "conservative" movement, not Ron Paul.

"And he has the support of about 15 people plus his relatives."

So why does he keep winning the online polls? Paul clearly has the deepest, not the broadest, support.

From the New York Times article:

"All the candidates once again offered strong affirmations of their support of the war in Iraq, reflecting the general consensus among them."

NO THEY DIDN'T. And this came right after discussion of the Rudy v. Paul exchange. Does no one edit the NYT?

Here is another huge "slip" from the Fox story.

"Rudy Giuliani won the strongest applause of Tuesday night's first-in-the-South Republican primary when he lashed out at Texas Rep. Ron Paul for suggesting that the United States' non-interventionist policy invited the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001"

What? Ron Paul suggested non-intervention was the problem? Again does no one edit this stuff? Is someone just that dumb? This almost makes a conspiracy believer out of me.

Would the NLT staff please link to distinguished Ashbrook partisan Robert Alt's devastating takedown of "America's Mayor" running on National REview online today? The points he raises deserve to be widely known and widely discussed.

Robert Alt on Rudy vs Ed Meese

"Not only did he play to his strengths, reclaiming the mantle of America’s mayor by shaming Ron Paul for his “blame America first” comments,"

He "shamed" Paul? Paul "blamed America first?" I submit this as just the type of simpleminded demagoguery I am talking about. You can not have a serious debate on foreign policy in a climate like this. Paul has nothing to be ashamed of unless you are supposed to be ashamed of consistency and sticking to principles.

In the exchange above, Giuliani sounds like Stephen Douglas and it was an excellent Lincolnian question to ask him. His answer was already provided in the question, "I wouldn't personally own a slave, but who can say if its right or wrong for someone else to own one." We don't need a Republican president who's a moral relativist.

By the way, if his stance is it should be "legal, safe, and rare" tell me why it should be rare. If it is a perfectly acceptable moral practice, then we should celebrate its practice not say it should be rare. We want morally impermissible things like murder and rape to be as rare as often. But if it is wrong and taking lives, then it should not be permitted by law.

Due to a huge volume of complaints, FOX has changed the error they made that I reference in #6.

So why does he keep winning the online polls?

Fifteen people keeping voting and voting and he does have a lot of relatives. But in any non spamable poll, he gets a rounded up 1%, which is about the 15 people.

Not surprised to see that Gmax hasn't evolved past "nutjob" as an analysis (on a personal note, Gmax, I'm submitting testimony on monetary policy to Congress tomorrow). Dr. Paul annunciated the analyses of the 911 Commission, the CIA other intelligence agencies, Pat Buchanan (publically on Sept 12, 2001), Jerry Falwell (for very different reasons) whom Rudy praised effusively and every other reasonable person that understands that actions have consequences.

Rudy claimed in the debate to have never heard of the blowback theory after studying Islamo-fascism since the 1970s--but says he refuted the blowback theory when refusing the multimillion dollar check from the Saudi prince after the tragedy. Seems as though Rudy will learn what blowback means soon enough.

"Seems as though Rudy will learn what blowback means soon enough."

I agree. At first there was a lot of pro-War backslapping going on, but Rudy's statement was so manifestly ignorant, I think it will come back to haunt him.

I dont need to evolve, that what progressives do. And nutjob is such a prefect description for Rep Paul that there is no need to change.

BTW, he has now drawn a primary opponent from his own party, the guy who used to be his chief of staff and got him elected. Aren't you two tired from all those text messages and repeatedly voting in online polls?

The Nation magazine that far left magazine has announced today that they totally agree with Ron Paul. That should reddened his face if anything will.

On second thought perhaps you both are right. I want to withdraw nutjob, and instead I will cede my two minutes to the gentleman from Dean Barnett :

99% of the people who know the real Ron Paul story agree that he’s cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

That about does it.


Would you please try to engage in a little thoughtful analysis if you are capable. Saying someone is cuckoo is school yard. What Ron Paul is is consistent and principled. That, unfortunately, makes him a danger to the status quo. Hence the smear campaign.

Are you referring to Dondero? Is so, what an ingrate.

Dan, Gmax explained in post on previous Ron Paul topics here that he is a "nutjob" because he of his monetary policy views that no one else shares today (this was before the May/June 2007 Foreign Affairs journal came out with an article calling for getting rid of central banks).

He also promised that would never engage in postings with me again (name calling deleted) because I know nothing of these issues.

We should cut Gmax some slack, he's already using all of his capabilities and apparently doesn't know the Ohio Taft Republican tradition (or thinks our most former governor represents it!). Perhaps not John Ashbrook either.

One thing Ron Paul is most certainly not, is any kind of THREAT to anyone. He got no votes to speak of when he last ran for President on the Libertarian ticket. He is getting at best statistical noise in any properly taken national poll. And now he has shown his lunacy on national tv that will draw him a challenger in the primary, so he may well be citizen Paul in about 15 months, unless he decides to chuck it all sooner.

And many of his supporters ( present company notably excluded ) are not convincing anyone of their rationality either. Go look at the hate mail outpouring at LGF if what an indication of how Paul supporters seem to think its ok to act.

More on the thoughtful representative from Sugarland:

An amendment to the defense authorization bill, introduced by Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.), a member of the armed services panel, failed Wednesday night by a vote of 216-202 with six Republicans voting in favor of the amendment together with 196 Democrats.

Guess who one of the lonely six was, and I bet you dont need three guesses.

So you think Nick Lampson (D-TX) is thoughtful?

What specifically about Rep. Andrew's amendment do you oppose (premised on the ability of independent thought)? I don't know what the amendment did (you give no information), but I know that he was co-leader of the anti-corporate welfare coalition with Rep. Kasich (R-OH).

Care to justify the "lunacy" comment in a rational debate?

"And now he has shown his lunacy on national TV"

Seriously Gmax, take a deep breath. Are you saying that simply taking positions "outside the mainstream" is de facto evidence of lunacy? So only centrists and moderates can be sane?

Could someone sanely take a position against central banking, for the gold standard, for strict Constitutionalism, etc.? Or is taking those positions alone sufficient evidence of lunacy?

Like I said, take a deep breath. A thoughtful answer would be appreciated.

Recent Gallup poll of Republican contenders taken May 10-13. Ron Paul gets a big fat ZERO. Not an asterisk meaning under .5% but a Zero. Probably less than the 15 people I said ( and maybe his mom and uncle are waivering too ). I am sure Paul supporters en mass will want to send hate mail to Gallup for how they rigged this poll to cover up his overwhelming support among the voting populace:

Gallup Poll

Gmax, you didn't answer the question.

Ron Paul is popular because he talks in terms of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. I like that, and wish/hope the other electable candidates (Romney, Giuliani, ?) would do the same. I think Americans like discussing such things, which is probably why Obama is doing so well (he frames everything in some vague Declaration/Lincoln/civil rights rhetoric). I don't think Paul's a kook, I just think he's completely unpolitical in the sense that he really has no grasp of the proper way to discuss and accomplish his goals. He's a hyper-constructionalist, which is silly and unrealistic.

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