I didn’t watch the second Republican presidential debate, which took place Tuesday night in South Carolina, until late yesterday afternoon. I have been debating with myself if I should put the effort into blogging about it, but, as you can see below, my other blogging activities at work and other priorities have made it impossible up to this point.
The most noteworthy thing to come out of that debate, of course, was Rudy Giuliani’s confrontation of Ron Paul on the issue of terrorism and whether or not America’s actions abroad have at least contributed to the rage our enemies have for us. For my part, I will simply state here that 1) Dr. Paul was essentially correct in what he said (and has challenged Giuliani to read the 9/11 Commission Report and then acknowledge so) 2) he could have said it better and more tactfully, and 3) Giuliani scored big points with the pro-war crowd through his response.
But most importantly, 4) Giuliani single-handedly gave Dr. Paul more press coverage and did more to raise Dr. Paul’s profile in the conscience of primary voters than Paul could have ever hoped for. In other words, Giuliani won some votes, but Paul lost none of those votes he would have received and gained a whole lot more than he ever would have.
At least, that’s my two cents on the political ramifications of the exchange.
I’ll leave the big money response to my friend and former boss, Dan Flynn, who addresses the larger issue brought up in the exchange much more eloquently and persuasively than I ever could. Take note especially of the following passage from Flynn’s excellent post, “Ron Paul and the New Third Rail of American Politics”:
I wrote a whole book in response to the ugly, irrational response to 9/11 that blamed America for the attacks. The first chapter of Why the Left Hates America exhaustively examines the knee-jerk, blame-America response to 9/11. Ron Paul’s debate comments may be provocative, but they bear no resemblance to the reflexive anti-Americanism that greeted 9/11, particularly among intellectual morons and their campus camp followers. Had he said anything like that, I would withdraw my support for him. I just don’t see how any honest and intelligent person can say that Dr. Paul blames 9/11 on America based on his words in Tuesday’s debate. Nevertheless, that’s what people are saying. This is because questioning the president’s idiotic explanation that we are hated because we are free has become the third rail of Republican politics.
Call for an unpoliced border, for tax funding of infanticide, for an unconstitutional repeal of the Second Amendment, or for limits on political speech through reforms of campaign finance laws, and you will remain in the good graces of GOP insiders. Dare to suggest that invading Iraq was a mistake, or that decades of military interventions in Islamic lands has catalyzed Islamic hatred of America, and you become anathema. [emphasis is mine -- EL]
Do read the whole of Flynn’s post, because he nails the issue on its head.