Thursday, December 17, 2015

Quote of the day - and more about the GOP debate with transcripts and commentary

The quote: "But I will tell you this, when I stand across from King Hussein of Jordan and I say to him, "You have a friend again sir, who will stand with you to fight this fight," he'll change his mind." - Chris Christie in the Dec 15 GOP Primary Debate (one among many horrific statements).

The thing is: Hussein has been dead for 16 years. Abdullah II is the King of Jordan.

And this is an example of the foreign policy creds of GOP contenders for the presidency?

And where are the clowns -- Send in the clowns -- Don't bother, they're here. -Judy Collins

You can get more from the transcripts of the debate. Here's one transcript from the Washington Post.

Amy Davidson at The New Yorker summarizes the debate as "The Republicans’ Principle-Free Presidential Debate."

Here is an interesting exchange between one of the moderators and Ben Carson.

... Hugh Hewitt, one of the moderators, tried to find out if Ben Carson had what it took to be President. Carson was a pediatric neurosurgeon and, people thought, a kind man, and that seemed to worry Hewitt. CNN had designed this debate—the fifth of the season and the first since the San Bernardino shootings—to be about protecting the country. “We’re talking about ruthless things tonight—carpet bombing, toughness, war,” Hewitt said, addressing Carson. “And people wonder, could you do that? Could you order air strikes that would kill innocent children by not the scores, but the hundreds and the thousands? Could you wage war as a Commander-in-Chief?”

Carson drew a parallel to brain surgery on children.

As an explanation of major surgery meant to save the lives of children, this was sound enough; as an answer to a question about killing thousands of children in the name of war, it was disquieting. In what sense would it be “merciful” to children in distant countries if Carson were to quickly “finish the job”? Or were they, in the analogy, the “tumor” that had to be cut out?

Hewitt drilled down.

Hewitt looked dissatisfied. “So are you O.K. with the deaths of thousands of innocent children and civilians?” he asked. Some members of the audience booed (“You got it,” Carson said, acknowledging them). ...

Got what? Scriber awards the candidates about a C- to D. Hewitt gets a B. The audience gets an F.

Of the 13 candidates speaking yesterday, there may have been just one bright spot of humanity.

Lindsey Graham showed that he knew how to speak in those terms during the undercard debate, when he thanked American Muslims in the military for their service and said of a Muslim sergeant who guarded him in Afghanistan, “He is the solution to this problem, folks. He is not the problem. Leave the faith alone.”

Those terms being "American values, or about the Americanness of American Muslims."

Although there were many contenders, the prize for ahistorical gobbledygook should probably go to Marco Rubio, who said, “In 2013, we had never faced a crisis like the Syrian refugee crisis now. Up until that point, a refugee meant someone fleeing oppression, fleeing Communism like it is in my community.” Are Syrians not fleeing oppression? Whatever Rubio thinks the essential distinction is, refugees fleeing wars have been arriving in America since before Marx wrote “The Communist Manifesto.” Many of them professed faiths, wore clothing, or spoke languages that at first set them apart. The story of the Syrian refugees is a very American one—the kind that, at the debate, seemed very much forgotten.

“So, they can kill us, but we can’t kill them?” Trump said at one point, sounding genuinely puzzled. Principles, whether involving the Constitution or the Geneva Conventions or simple fairness, were less important than security. To suggest otherwise was political correctness—“And political correctness is killing people,” Cruz said. Then he waited for Trump to praise him.

If the country really does get there - where security trumps (pardon me) principle, we will indeed be well on our way to a totalitarian state.

But back to Christie's quote of the day. There is a good chance that he will stand across from King Hussein - assuming that there is an afterlife common to both Muslims and Christians. Scriber thinks the probability of that is infinitely higher than Christie becoming President of the U. S.

Davidson's column is a short summary of the exchanges between candidates and the moderators and among the candidates. I'd start there and then dig into the transcript - if you have the stomach.

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