Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Overdosing on Testosterone in S. Carolina

Anyone attending the Republican debate in South Carolina is in danger of having to kiss any future athletic endeavors good-bye. Most sports have banned the use of performance enhancing drugs, including testosterone. Anyone who attended the debate last night received well over the legal limit allowed to be present by most sporting associations simply by absorbing the excess testosterone exuded from the Republican candidates. Indeed, it is instructive that the biggest laugh of the night came at the expense of Democratic Presidential candidate John Edwards, casting him as a frequenter of beautry parlors. Funny stuff there... if you are a homophobic red blooded bare knuckled truck drivin' alpha Republican!

There was only one person who did not come across as a chest thumping Silverback Gorilla wannabee in the debate. Ron Paul hearkened to the roots of Republicanism when he said:
Well, I think the party has lost its way, because the conservative wing of the Republican Party always advocated a noninterventionist foreign policy.

Senator Robert Taft didn't even want to be in NATO. George Bush won the election in the year 2000 campaigning on a humble foreign policy -- no nation-building, no policing of the world. Republicans were elected to end the Korean War. The Republicans were elected to end the Vietnam War. There's a strong tradition of being anti-war in the Republican party. It is the constitutional position. It is the advice of the Founders to follow a non-interventionist foreign policy, stay out of entangling alliances, be friends with countries, negotiate and talk with them and trade with them.
Of course such truth and logic from Paul makes him subject to ridicule by the hosts of the debate. Fox news anchors and White House correspondents aren't going to take any of that pre 9/11 thinking!
MR. [Wendell] GOLER [Fox News White House correspondent]: Congressman, you don't think that changed with the 9/11 attacks, sir?

REP. PAUL: What changed?
Ron Paul is a down the line libertarian, and for that I respect him a great deal... but his response to the 9/11 change question was sorely lacking. Rather than asking "What changed?" Paul would have been better served by denouncing the notion that Republican history, which was Pauls original point in this, somehow changed. History is freaking history! It is mindboggling that 9/11, in the mind of the Fox White House correspondent, changed the course of events which had already occurred. I guess it turns out that Taft did want to get into NATO, Republicans were not elected to end Korea and Vietnam, so on and so forth, because 9/11 happened in 2001...

I have focused thus far on this particular example of a non hostile or overly aggressive Republican in the debate as instructive of the response Paul got from the hosts and his fellow candidates, who commence to berate him for supposedly not understanding the causes of 9/11. Paul touch of sanity was definitely misplaced on that stage, surrounded as he was by patently absurd chest thumpers of the first order.

Let us examine the rest of the gang. They (except Paul, who having that 'sane' pre 9/11 mindset was excluded from answering the following) were presented with a scenario certain to bring out the best manufactured rage we could expect... from baboons in rut.
Three shopping centers near major U.S. cities have been hit by suicide bombers. Hundreds are dead, thousands injured. A fourth attack has been averted when the attackers were captured off the Florida coast and taken to Guantanamo Bay, where they are being questioned. U.S. intelligence believes that another larger attack is planned and could come at any time.

How aggressively would you interrogate those being held at Guantanamo Bay for information about where the next attack might be?
To paraphrase the answers, McCain thinks this scenario is a one in a million but evidently he would personally torture the detainees in the one very unlikely event. The rest of them would happily order the torture of the detainees, but would not call it torture per se.

I am particularly troubled by the response of Mitt Romney to this question. He wants to double the size of the prison in Guantanamo Bay. He also would authorize the use of "not torture but enhanced interrogation techniques". Mr. Romney uses his faith prominently in his campaign. I have a great respect for Mormonism. I don't happen to believe in much that Mormons believe in , but I respect their fundamental adherence to principles that are good and wholesome. Mitt Romney's chest thumping over gitmo, and mealy mouthed acceptance of torture by any other name than what it is, is objectionable. I would like to ask Mr. Romney... who would Jesus waterboard?

I have another question I would like to ask all these candidates. How would any one of them feel if Al Qaeda released video footage of the three service members they have captured in Iraq being waterboarded? Or piled into a naked pyramid? Or undergoing any of these "enhanced techniques" designed to coerce information via the infliction of bodily pain or psychological distress. You freaking KNOW each and every one of them would be positively outraged, full of righteous indignation and pushing to turn the next Al Qaeda base found into a radioactive glass parking lot.

So after finding out that all of the candidates were willing to torture detainees, (besides McCain unless the one in a million circumstance forced him to do it personally), Fox added a twist to the scenario guaranteed to evoke even greater scenes of rhetorical roid rage.
MR. HUME: Governor Thompson, let me enrich the scenario just a little bit. Let's assume for the sake of discussion here that we now also have additional intelligence that indicates with high certainty that the attackers were trained in a West African country hostile to the United States, in camps openly run by the terrorist organization that sent them. What kind of response would you agree to for that?
I am entirely serious here... My wife is my witness. When I saw this I immediately commenced my best imitation of the typical Republican candidate on display by acting like an ape, interspersed with proclamations like BOM DEM! STONE AGE!! etc etc etc... You will just have to trust me on this... it was hilarious! Unfortunately, my reaction was not far from the reactions given by the various candidates as they alternately peed all over their podiums, attempting to mark their territories as most manly numero uno chief alpha male.

The sad fact is that the Republican candidates MUST behave this way because of the voters they must appeal to. The most recent Gallup poll shows that the vast majority of Democrats and a strong majority of independents think that the decision to go to war was a mistake, but 3/4 of Republicans think that decision was not a mistake. Pushing the candidates further to the crazy rightwing fringe was the fact that the debate was held on Fox News... and the real world knowledge (as opposed to alternate reality 'knowledge' constructed from right wing fantasy talking points) of the average Fox viewer has been demonstrated to be sorely lacking time and again. The Republicans had to make an appeal for votes from an audience that still believes that Saddam and Osama were in cahoots over 9/11, and the WMD in Iraq were spirited to Syria in trucks... which somehow never were sighted by the surveillance aircraft swarming the Iraqi skies immediately prior to the invasion.

In the interest of not writing a book, let me wrap this up. Crazy macho b/s by President Bush has led us to the state we are in today. Republicans, still being overwhelmingly supportive of President Bush, may think that things are going swimmingly well (especially if they are glued to Fox and Rush for their daily input) but I'm not sure this is going to fly very well in the 2008 general election.

Who would have ever thought that we would hear a question about torture at a US presidential debate? That's how far down the tube this administration has taken our country. Seems the Repubs are envious of the terrorist and want to do the same things they do.

I believe bush won in 2000 because he used tax cuts as bait. Greedy Americans chose not to look at his record but instead to hold out their hands for money.

I completely agree with you.

Trying to crescendo the "debates" with a competition about who can be the toughest on fabricated, hypothetical terrorist attacks is really kinda twisted, tragic, and telling.

I was happy that McCain tried to backpedal a little, seeing as he's actually been imprisoned as an "enemy combatant" before.

But Ron Paul is quite the man. I had never ever heard of him before. I hope and pray they don't "ban" him from future debates. Having to deal with his brand o' clear-headed responses could be the best thing that has happened to the Repubs this century.

Not like you're rooting for 'em (I imagine), but since they do tend to elect a lot o' the ppl that go to DC these days it seems like any improvements would be very welcome. :]
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