Most of you are probably expecting this website – which has offered an enthusiastic endorsement of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s presidential campaign – to try and spin his less-than-impressive performance in several recent Republican presidential debates (including one in Myrtle Beach, S.C. on Monday evening).
Well, we’re not going to do that …
Ron Paul has consistently proven himself to be something less than a politically-savvy debater – and there’s really no sugarcoating that assessment. Sure … he’s never flubbed as badly as Texas Gov. Rick Perry did during his train wreck of a performance in an early November debate in Michigan, but he’s clearly incapable of giving the neatly-packaged sound bites that audiences crave.
He doesn’t use “Words that Work,” in other words.
And Monday night’s debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C. very clearly wasn’t Paul’s finest hour (well, two hours). Part of the problem? The fact that the Myrtle Beach debate was focused almost exclusively on foreign policy – an area where Paul’s views are the most out of alignment with those of GOP primary voters (especially GOP primary voters here in South Carolina).
Does that mean Paul is wrong and the rest of the candidates are right? Absolutely not … in fact demonstrably not, we would argue. It does, however, mean that Paul would have to pull a real rabbit out of the hat were he to “win” a debate based on foreign policy issues – something he assuredly didn’t do in Myrtle Beach.
(To read our live blog of the debate, click here).
And while Paul flailed occasionally (okay, frequently) in defense of his principles, Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney scored points with a raucous Republican crowd with their tough rhetoric in defense of American interventionism.
“We go anywhere (our enemies) are and we kill them,” Romney said in describing his foreign policy.
Really, Mitt? That’s pretty tough talk coming from a guy who skipped the Vietnam War to serve as a palace-dwelling Mormon missionary in the south of France.
Nonetheless, though, there was no denying that Perry, Romney and to some extent former U.S. Speaker Newt Gingrich repeatedly scored points by appealing to the blood lust of the crowd rather than acknowledging the reality of America’s new place in the world.
“(Paul)’s answers on foreign policy were repeatedly booed and Perry even suggested that a gong should have been used to cut Paul off,” wrote Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post in declaring Paul the biggest loser of the debate. “While Paul-ites undoubtedly cheered their hero’s willingness to stand up for what he believes in when it comes to U.S. involvement in foreign countries, it’s just not a majority position — or anywhere close to it — in the Republican electorate of South Carolina.”
Cillizza is a absolutely correct in his analysis – although Paul was cheered when he (finally) got around to making his basic point.
“We don’t need another war,” he said. “We need to stop the ones we’re in. And we need to bring that money back here.”
Yet while Paul would wisely reduce American expenditures on foreign entanglements, Romney has proposed shelling out an extra $2 trillion that America doesn’t have on military spending over the coming decade (even though such spending has nearly doubled over the past decade).
Does such a financial commitment make sense?
Of course not … and certainly not given our nation’s current policy of starting wars based on sketchy intelligence with no declaration or congressional authorization and no clearly-defined objectives or exit strategy.
Nonetheless, that sort of principled opposition to the doctrine of “preemptive war” doesn’t sell well … especially when it’s contrasted with the masculine war mongering of a bunch of GOP candidates who might as well have been measuring their cocks onstage (something that’s apparently quite popular in Myrtle Beach).
“If Paul would deflect all foreign policy questions and turn every answer into something about his economic views, he could be a real contender for the nomination,” Cillizza continued. “He won’t do that, so he isn’t.”
Again, Cillizza’s analysis is hard to refute.
Accordingly, we won’t try and spin you into thinking that Paul “rocked out with his cock out” during the Myrtle Beach debate (he clearly didn’t). We would, however, argue that his rocky showing is a necessary consequence of his refusal to pander to voters on foreign policy.
Seriously … if you’re looking for a candidate who will further bankrupt this country by manufacturing a war against whoever is “next” (a.k.a. Iran, Pakistan), then Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum or Rick Perry will represent you well.
We would especially commend Romney and Gingrich to your attention if you’re looking for a candidate who will sound polished and presidential while pursuing such a disastrous policy.
In our endorsement of Paul, we wrote that we “often found ourselves cringing at some of Paul’s more off-the-wall comments. Not necessarily because what he said has been wrong … but because we could feel the air of electability seeping out of his candidacy with each offbeat syllable he uttered. But that’s sort of the point, isn’t it? Ron Paul has never been about getting elected – he’s been about getting at the damn truth.”
Four candidates on the Myrtle Beach Convention Center stage told the crowd what they wanted to hear. One told them the truth.