Giuliani, McCain, Romney and the Seven Dwarfs

While watching the Republican presidential debate last night, there were several things worth observing, and a few not worth observing that will be written about anyway.

First of all, who the heck is Ron Paul? I know the late Pope John Paul, and there is a rastafarian named Sean Paul who sings a great dance song called “Temperature (the lyrics are incomprehensible, but he does say several words that loosely rhyme with Obama).” Apparently he got lost on the way to the democratic debate.

The biggest winner of the debate was Ronald Reagan. The man remains beloved, and every bit of that love is deserved. Some may see the praise given to him as sycophantic, being that the debate was at the Reagan Library, and Nancy was sitting in the front row. Make no mistake about it. These men genuinely admired him. He was a giant among leaders. Presidential candidates do not want to just get the job to do nothing (well not republican candidates anyway). They want to change the world and shape history, and the Gipper did just that. He is still missed.

The main thing I noticed was how civil and polite the debate was. Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment of “Thou shalt speak ill of no other republican” was clearly on display. The debates will get nastier as time goes by, but the candidates did not want to take the few Americans who are paying attention this early and tune them out. The spirit of the Reagan Library played a role, but in general nobody wanted to be accused of taking cheap shots. The democrats on the other hand are already in a circular firing squad. Unlike liberals, who despise those who disagree with them, conservatives showed last night how one can be forceful about ideas, but still be respectful of one’s neighbor. Last night was a love fest because republicans genuinely respect people, and tolerate opposing ideas.

As for the candidates, nothing changed. Giuliani, McCain and Romney are the three big dogs. Fred Thompson and Newt Gingrich were not there, and time will tell what they do. The remaining seven dwarfs provided some comic relief, but at some point the idea that all men are equal will be quickly swatted away.

Tommy Thompson is a non-descript former midwestern Governor. Yawn. Mike Huckabee is solid by Arkansas standards, but not by republican party standards. Jim Gilmore is bald, and in the race only because George Allen went macaca awhile back. As for congressmen running, comic relief is a pleasant diversion from the rigors of a serious campaign trail.

The most vital aspect of the debate was that while there were disagreements over issues such as abortion, there was virtually unanimous support for the Iraq War, and its central role in the War on Terror. The bottom line is candidates will always get something wrong at some point. Even the sainted Ronald Reagan raised taxes in 1982. He gets a mulligan because he did everything else in spectacular fashion. So if Reagan was mortal, nobody else running will escape one mistake from time to time.

The goal is not to get everything right. The goal is to get the big things right. Rudy Giuliani is Pro-choice. So what? To me being Pro-Life is preventing Islamofacists from murdering us. Rudy is Pro-life where it counts. Mitt Romney is religious, but makes it clear he will not impose his beliefs on others. John McCain supports embryonic stem cell research, and he will not be dragged down for this. The big 800 pound elephant in the room (besides Ronald Reagan) is the War on Terror. The candidates agreed on the defining issue of our lifetime. Disagreeing about inconsequential matters is fine.

Any one of the big three of Giuliani, McCain or Romney would provide fine leadership, certainly better than the troika of surrender offered by Hillary, Obama and Edwards. If I am wrong, sue me (actually don’t tell Edwards that, he just might).

The Gipper must have been proud last night. I know I was. We will be fine in 2008 as long as we remain right and upright and resolute on the War on Terror. Small debates are healthy. The republican party continues to be right where it counts.


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