A Real Old-Fashioned Debate

Several years ago I watched a Canadian PM debate on TV. It bore no resemblance to an American Presidential “debate.” Two guys, a few feet from each other, actually debating — no moderator, no buzzers, just two guys arguing, vigorously. I remember a movie featuring the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Although I don’t know if it was historically accurate, a similar sight, two guys arguing about real issues with no real rules. I have seen similar clips in other countries, but rarely in the US.

The American version of Presidential debates resembles a game show or beauty pageant, where each contestant is called on to answer for a set two-minute response. Rarely any follow-up, and rarely any effort to actually confront real issues.

But last night’s Republican debate was different. Following Ron Paul’s response calling for complete US withdrawal from the Middle East, moderator Chris Wallace took off his journalist mask and revealed himself in full Bill O’Reilly costume:

So, Congressman Paul, and I’d like you to take 30 seconds to answer this, you’re basically saying that we should take our marching orders from al Qaeda? If they want us off the Arabian Peninsula, we should leave?

Ron hit back:

I’m saying we should take our marching orders from our Constitution. We should not go to war — (cheers, applause) — we should not go to war without a declaration. We should not go to war when it’s an aggressive war. This is an aggressive invasion. We’ve committed the invasion of this war, and it’s illegal under international law. That’s where I take my marching orders, not from any enemy. (Cheers, boos.)

Huckabee explained that we couldn’t leave Iraq because “we broke it and now we own it,” and turned to Ron Paul:

And on this issue, when he [McCain] says we can’t leave until we’ve left with honor, I 100 percent agree with him because, Congressman, whether or not we should have gone to Iraq is a discussion that historians can have, but we’re there. We bought it because we broke it. We’ve got a responsibility to the honor of this country and to the honor of every man and woman who has served in Iraq and ever served in our military to not leave them with anything less than the honor that they deserve.

Wallace then offered Ron Paul (who was standing to Huckabee’s immediate right) a chance to respond. This began a brief but awesome exchange between Paul and Mike Huckabee.

REP. PAUL: The American people didn’t go in. A few people advising this administration, a small number of people called the neoconservative hijacked our foreign policy. They’re responsible, not the American people. They’re not responsible. We shouldn’t punish them. (Cheers, applause.)

MR. HUCKABEE: Congressman, we are one nation. We can’t be divided. We have to be one nation under God. That means if we make a mistake, we make it as a single country, the United States of America, not the divided states of America. (Cheers.)

REP. PAUL: No. When we make a mistake — (interrupted by applause) — when we make a mistake, it is the obligation of the people through their representatives to correct the mistake, not to continue the mistake! (Cheers, applause.)

MR. HUCKABEE: And that’s what we do on the floor of the —

REP. PAUL: No! We’ve dug a hole for ourselves and we dug a hole for our party! We’re losing elections and we’re going down next year if we don’t change it, and it has all to do with foreign policy, and we have to wake up to this fact.

MR. HUCKABEE: Even if we lose elections, we should not lose our honor, and that is more important to the Republican Party.

REP. PAUL: We’re losing — we’ve lost over — (cheers, applause) — we have lost — we have lost 5,000 Americans killed in — we’ve lost over 5,000 Americans over there in Afghanistan and Iraq and plus the civilians killed. How many more do you want to lose? How long are we going to be there? How long — what do we have to pay to save face? That’s all we’re doing is saving face. It’s time we came home!

The Baltimore Sun‘s Frank James has a great write-up of the exchange. You can watch all the Ron Paul clips of the debate on YouTube.

20 thoughts on “A Real Old-Fashioned Debate”

  1. Ah wow! Dr. Paul does it again. Even in the midst of neocon bias and hatred toward the law of the land Ron Paul stood firm.
    Poor Huckabee to be lost in Woodrow Wilson’s nation building doctrine. I think the guy has a decent heart, but needs to understand American history.
    The media mocks Ron Paul and he comes out roses every time.

  2. I found it interesting the "well if you get rid of the CIA, what will we do then?!" question both during the debate and in the Hannity interview afterwards.

    That nobody mentioned abolition the CIA and FBI, and we'd still have a dozen intelligence agencies is kind of surprising.

  3. Multiple victories by Ron Paul tonight in Fox Republican Debate:

    Ron Paul wins Fox News TV viewer poll (phone text messaging)
    Ron Paul: 33% Huckabee: 18% Giuliani: 15% McCain: 14% Romney: 12%

    Ron Paul Photo, Headline and Story Featured on Cover Page of http://www.abcnews.com
    Ron Paul Makes Top Headline “In the News” on Cover Page of http://www.yahoo.com
    Ron Paul Headline is third headline on Front Page of Google News Home Page
    Ron Paul named in headline featured on Front Page of London Guardian Latest World News Online Ron Paul’s name mentioned on front page of http://www.cbsnews.com
    Ron Paul’s name mentioned in the first line of the MSNBC story on the debates.
    Ron Paul Wins MSNBC Online Poll by a Landslide
    Who showed the most leadership qualities? Ron Paul 70%; Giuliani 8%; Romney 7%.
    Ron Paul Wins World Net Daily Post Debate Poll with 37% of the vote.

    In summary, Ron Paul won this debate hands down, and Ron Paul has propelled himself clearly as a top tier candidate and serious contender for the Republican nomination.


  4. It is sad to say, but Paul is the only Conservative running. Most of the rest are so deep in AIPAC`s pockets that they deserve to be stripped of citizenship.

    Im really proud of Dr. Paul becasue he wiped the floor with the Neocon stooges, and the worst of the bunch like Giulinani and Romney actually were destroyed by their own bad behavior int heir lives, which the audience took note of, but its still sad that out of a field this large only ONE is a AMERICAN who is not wiling to throw american under a bus to serve the neds of their foreign masters.

  5. Come on you people. Let’s all make mistakes together now, let’s not change course or even talk of changing course or we will be the Divided States of Amerika. Huckster or Huckleberry or whatever you want to call him, he cracks me up.

  6. Chris Wallace makes contempt lenient treatment with the crack he made about al-Qaida. Reminds me of gas-bag, Lloyd Bentsen’s low-blow in 1988. You’ll recall Bentsen, perhaps, always emblematic of the most oily and detestable in public life, a real paramecium.

    Second on the list of pathogens, Mike Huckabee, weirdly sounding-out notes of “honor” among a group of the most uncontestably dishonorable. For him, the suitable emetic remains undiscovered.

    Paul, while right on the facts, argues awfully. He needs to be considerably less polite. When in a crowd of scoundrels, one needs to flatten a few noses. Sadly, Paul doesn’t seem up to that.

    John Lowell

    1. If Paul did flatten the noses of any of the other Republicans running for president, scoundrels all indeed, this jabbing would turn off as many people as turn on, so I think that he should continue making his great grand pointas truthfully and as fully as the time the ‘moderators’ allow, with the polite forcefulness which he feels appropriate at that moment in time. After all, his fabulous style did win the debate so I read above.

  7. God Bless Ron Paul. I truly believe he can shock the world.
    If he keeps gaining momentum we may very well see him run as an independant. (I do not think he can obtain the republican nomination)And win as an Independant by siphoning off both republic votes, as well as democratic voters.

  8. If you just have two guys with no rules, you get people talking over each other, and the person with the loudest voice wins. No thanks.

    What we need is a controlled debate that lasts longer than 2 minutes. My understanding is that the Lincoln Doublas debates lasted hours, and the people sat through them. Good for the citizens back then!

  9. “How many Americans have to die in this war before Mike Huckabee saves face? Answer: It doesn’t matter. We can’t care about them. We must have our honor back.”

    We never bought the line “either you are with us or with the terrorists” and we ain’t buying it now. Lives are on the line and all Mr. Huckabee cares about is saving face. Well, sir, what if we can never leave that country with honor? We certainly can’t do it now. What then? How many have to die before you are man enough to admit a mistake? Sir, you sicken me.

  10. to Jenkins:

    That is not what he said, but if you take the end of one sentence out of context you can make someone say anything. Ron says that he takes his marching orders from the Constitution, and he later adds that the invasion was a violation of international law. Here is what Ron said:

    I’m saying we should take our marching orders from our Constitution. We should not go to war — (cheers, applause) — we should not go to war without a declaration. We should not go to war when it’s an aggressive war. This is an aggressive invasion. We’ve committed the invasion of this war, and it’s illegal under international law. That’s where I take my marching orders, not from any enemy.

  11. After watching the debate I went to Ron Paul’s Website and donated $25.00. He earned both my respect and help.

  12. Ron Paul is the spark and we need to be the fuel. Let’s take our country back. Let’s get our troops back home. It is high time to start prosecuting those who sell our country out to foreign governments. AIPAC serves a foreign government and has no business running ours.

Comments are closed.