The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler


Posted on | January 26, 2012 | 68 Comments

CONCLUSION 1 a.m. ET: Excuse my long absence. Had to go to the spin room for the post-debate action, then write a column for The American Spectator. I was hesitant to say this earlier but, did Rick Santorum kick butt or what?

Because I wanted to believe he did well, I felt that maybe I was prejudiced. But then I saw Guy Benson’s post at Townhall:

What a night for the former Pennsylvania Senator … he definitely made a very serious case that he might be the best Not Romney in the race.

No argument. Newt was off his game tonight, and I’d score Romney the winner — that is to say, I think Mitt did what he needed to do to win here Tuesday. But I suspect a lot of people watched that debate and said to themselves, “Hey, that Santorum kid’s pretty feisty.”

9:30 p.m. ET: Newt talks about the “Romney attack machine,” defends his claim to being a latter-day Reagan.

9:25 p.m. ET: Admit it: Rick Santorum won the Best Wife competition.

9:16 p.m. ET: Rick Santorum wants Marco Rubio in his cabinet. Newt wants Rubio as VP. Romney recites the names of lots of Latinos who haven’t self-deported.

9:12 p.m. ET: Mitt Romney: “We’re insisting on personal responsibility.” This is good for Santorum to be able to go back-and-forth with Romney, thus ending the Mitt-and-Newt Show. Also, he name-checked Scott Plakon.

9:07 p.m. ET: Rick Santorum slams Newt and Mitt for their records on health care.

9:03 p.m. ET: Lynn Frazier is unemployed and wants health insurance. Ron Paul blames government for inflating medical costs.

8:59 p.m. ET: Newt accuses Santorum of being “cheap.”

8:58 p.m. ET: Mitt says, “You’re fired.” Accuses Newt of pandering. “We’ve got to say no to this kind of spending.”

8:57 p.m. ET: Newt warns of Chinese dominance of space.

8:55 p.m. ET: Ron Paul wants to send Newt to the moon.

8:50 p.m. ET: Question about NASA and manned space flight, because all politics is local. And galactic.

8:49 p.m. ET: Wolf Blitzer asks Ron Paul, age 76, if he’s willing to release his medical records. Paul makes a joke about age discrimination.

8:48 p.m. ET: Ron Paul talks about currency. Sound money.

8:46 p.m. ET: Santorum on 28% top tax rate: “If it’s good enough for Reagan, it’s good enough for me.” Get’s a laugh with, “I wish I made as much money as Mitt Romney.”

8:45 p.m. ET: Newt says he’s “the opposite of Obama.”

8:43 p.m. ET: More talk about personal finances. Newt gets caught trying to say he didn’t say what he said. Newt’s in a hole, but won’t stop digging.

8:36 p.m. ET: Ron and Rick get to have their say about Fannie and Freddie. Santorum draws cheers for demanding that they “focus on the issues.”

8:34 p.m. ET: Newt defends himself ably against the lobbying charge. But what was he paid $1.6 million for?

8:33 p.m. ET: Mitt stings Newt on mutual funds, draws cheers.

8:31 p.m. ET: Newt says Romney “has been attacking me inaccurately, and he knows it.” It’s getting nasty again.

8:30 p.m. ET: Mitt Romney gets a question about Fannie and Freddie, and starts talking about Newt Gingrich.

8:28 p.m. ET: Now it’s the Ron and Rick Show. These guys really don’t like each other.

8:25 p.m. ET: Rick Santorum talks about Honduras, accuses Obama of supporting Marxists in Latin America.

8:24 p.m. ET: A lady named Vasquez has a question about trade with Latin America. Ron Paul loves him some free trade.

8:22 p.m. ET: It’s turning into the Mitt-Newt Show again.

8:21 p.m. ET: Newt wants everybody to learn English.

8:20 p.m. ET: Mitt: “Our problem is not 11 million grandmothers.”

8:19 p.m. ET: Romney: “I am pro-immigrant. . . . I want them to come here legally.”

8:18 p.m. ET: Romney accuses Newt of “over-the-top rhetoric,” invokes Marco Rubio twice, gets a big cheer from the audience.

8:17 p.m. ET: Newt Gingrich won’t answer a direct question about his accusation that Romney is “anti-immigrant.”

8:16 p.m. ET: Ron Paul panders to the Vaguely Incoherent.

8:14 p.m. ET: Mitt defends self-deportation. Did you know his father was from Mexico? It’s true. Look it up. Anyway, Romney’s answer is long and complicated.

8:12 p.m. ET: Newt is in favor of a “guest worker” program.

8:11 p.m. ET: On immigration, Rick Santorum wants to enforce the law. This is radical extremism!

8:09 p.m. ET: Candidates say a few words. Rick Santorum introduces his 93-year-old mom, who’s a senior citizen, kinda like Ron Paul.

8:04 p.m. ET: The candidates have been introduced.

8:02 p.m. ET: That was some good pre-debate hype, huh?

8 p.m. ET: And we’re LIVE!

* * * PREVIOUSLY (7:29 p.m. ET) * * *

We’re on the scene here at the University of North Florida where, at 8 p.m. ET, the four remaining Republican presidential candidates will debate on CNN. A few quick headlines for discussion:

Angry Newt Gingrich Attacks
Mitt Romney in Florida

ABC News

Romney paints Gingrich
as mentally unstable

Washington Post

4 Sentences: Why Tonight’s Debate Matters
National Journal

Santorum guarantees he’s
a candidate ‘for a long time’


I’ll be live-blogging tonight and I’ll back with more in a bit.

UPDATE: When I walked up tonight, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was being interviewed outside the filing center:

And here’s video of the media walk-through at the debate hall today:



  1. Zilla of the Resistance
    January 27th, 2012 @ 9:35 am

    Best comment in this whole thread. 

  2. Rick Santorum’s Stellar Debate Performance
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    January 27th, 2012 @ 9:53 am

    […] Stacy McCain live-blogged from the site. Read it here. […]

  4. ThePaganTemple
    January 27th, 2012 @ 10:16 am

    Santorum was right on. The problem? Not one person out of ten knew what the hell he was talking about.

  5. richard mcenroe
    January 27th, 2012 @ 10:39 am

    12 terms?  You mean 12 Presidents.

  6. Pathfinder's wife
    January 27th, 2012 @ 11:13 am

    And that of itself is a problem.

    Santorum’s foreign policy chops are arguably the best in the race — yet he gets no love for it. Probably because we all crave the slick sounding platitude over real competency, which we shouldn’t.
    Nobody educates themselves, therefore nobody recognizes when somebody else is saying something deeper than slick platitudes.

  7. Pathfinder's wife
    January 27th, 2012 @ 11:21 am

    Although, let’s be honest: Paul’s slick platitude about sending some politicians to the moon was probably one of the best lines of the night.

  8. SignPainterGuy
    January 27th, 2012 @ 11:27 am

    Just referring to what RP said; “I`ve represented Texas for 12 terms”.

    Regardless of his own elected terms or the terms of 6 to 8 or 12 presidents, he has fed at the public trough too long already. He is a career politician. We need statesmen !

  9. Anonymous
    January 27th, 2012 @ 11:35 am

    They are more focused on his votes for Medicare Part D, and NCLB.  Even Michelle Malkin today had to mention it. It seems his work on welfare reform is also dismissed.

  10. WyBlog - Friday Fratricide, the GOP Debate Circular Firing Squad edition
    January 27th, 2012 @ 11:36 am

    Friday Fratricide, the GOP Debate Circular Firing Squad edition…

    Stacy McCain says Santorum “kicked butt.” I’m not so sure. He comes across to me as angry, petty, and mean-spirited. Plus there’s that whole “lost his last election by 22 points” thing. Not exactly a ringing endorsement from his home state, eh?…

  11. ThePaganTemple
    January 27th, 2012 @ 11:59 am

    Unfortunately for Paul, this was a Presidential Debate Forum-Not a Booger-Eating Contest. If it was the latter, he would have had the nomination sewed up a week ago.

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  13. AMartel
    January 27th, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

    Why is Debbie Downer the center of media attention at a Republican primary debate?  Yeah, I know, it’s a rhetorical question.

  14. Pathfinder's wife
    January 27th, 2012 @ 10:20 pm

    Ahem, cough, who is the canidate who has brought up moon bases and real live Jurassic Parks again?
    Who is the canidate who refuses to denounce his state’s forerunner to Obamacare or demand the complete dismantling of the same (the thing that will turn us all into “units” rather than patients — more like onto hogs in a confinement operation than human beings — and make paupers of most of us in the process)?You sure you have the real booger eater correctly pinned?

  15. ThePaganTemple
    January 28th, 2012 @ 8:55 am

    What are you saying, that Newt and/or Mitt are actively seeking support from 9/11 Truthers who think the government might have been behind 9/11, or who believe even that there is proof to that effect, or maybe it was dem Jooos? Please elaborate. Because that’s what I mean by booger-eaters.

    I’m all for a permanent moon base. There’s nothing grandiose about it, its well within the range of our capabilities. After so long it can even be self-sustaining to a point. The idea that its so controversial is just a sign of what big fucking pussies the American people have turned into.

    FYI, most of the technological advances we’ve enjoyed over the last four decades are either directly or indirectly traceable back to the moon program.

    To say nothing of the fact that Gingrich is talking mainly about private investment into space research and exploration, not an entirely government funded boondoggle. Fuck Romney anyway, he’s probably against it for some stupid ass religious reason, if he really is against it for any reason aside from politics. He’s bitching about the financial aspects when he knows good and well he won’t do a god damn thing to reduce the size and scope of the federal government other than, at best, reducing the size of growth. Fuck that bastard.

    And what the fuck is wrong with having a Jurassic Park? I’m pretty reasonably sure it would work out better than in the movie. They might soon clone a wooly mammoth. What’s wrong with thatl?

  16. Pathfinder's wife
    January 28th, 2012 @ 9:13 am

    The moon base, much like the Jurassic Park thing, sound all wonderful and adventuresome.  

    But I’d prefer to hear about how we plan on fixing and improving our infrastructure, paying down our deficit, and disentangling ourselves from these little military actions we have gotten ourselves bogged down in.  I’d rather hear about how we can address the societal problems that are helping to create these messes as well.

    I suppose I would prefer “some dull Cincinnatus” to a great and glorious leader.

    And I won’t even go into the ethical and practical ramifications against a damn Jurassic Park! 

  17. Pathfinder's wife
    January 28th, 2012 @ 9:26 am

    As for elaborating on the 9/11 Truther stuff — why should I have to?

    I’m suddenly a Truther and an anti-semite because I happen to note that the two front runners, while not engaging in such things, are not exactly confronting pressing fiscal and societal issues which are just as dangerous to us as any outside threat?  That they are being, imho, rather unserious about such things?  That only two canidates are even appearing to take actual issues to heart, no matter what their other negatives might be, and that this is getting them both little traction with many people?

    Sorry, but I just don’t see the connection.  But I will say this: if we do not address these pressing issues, if we fall for the slick pander, and the status quo, if we go on our merry way kicking the can down the road, we (or more likely our grandchildren) will not be able to confront threats like 9/11, and we will not be able to come to the aid of a long time ally if she needs us, or worse yet we become something dreamt up in our founders’ worst nightmares (which is the ultimate in hurtful things we could do for us and for our ally, don’t you think? to leave the people ultimately in a lurch, huh?).
    If that makes me by inference a booger eating anti-American and anti-semite, then I will wear those names with honor.

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