Friday, September 28, 2007


Republican Debate in Baltimore

I am writing this before reading any accounts of the debate by other bloggers and before hearing or seeing any news accounts or analysis of it. Last night at 6 PM I turned on the television to the Los Angeles PBS television station, KCET, expecting to watch and hear THE NEWS HOUR WITH JIM LEHRER. Instead, the station chose to show, in real time, the debate in Baltimore, that started at 9 PM Eastern time. The station aired a repeat of the debate later in the evening at 9 PM Pacific time.

I was tempted to turn to another channel in disgust and disappointment at not being able to watch my favorite TV news broadcast. However, I thought to myself, perhaps this debate will be a bit interesting. I persuaded myself to keep an open mind and listen, for a change, to what a bunch of Republicans had to say.

The big four among Republican candidates were not there. The implication was that they didn't want to waste their time speaking to an audience of largely black citizens, most of whom were going to vote for a Democratic candidate anyway. The others, who were there, and starting with Mike Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, made apologies for the absence of Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Fred Thompson. The others present were Ron Paul, Sam Brownback, Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter, and Alan Keyes. Tavis Smiley was the mediator. The reporters asking questions were Cynthia Tucker, Ray Suarez, and Juan Williams.

For most of the evening I thought that Governor Huckabee was the most reasonable and sane of the group. He recognized that health care, education, an unemployment are serious problems for Blacks in our country, more serious than they are for Whites. He had some useful suggestions for trying to solve these problems. However, he lost me on the question of what do do about the genocide that is taking place at present in Darfur, a province of Sudan. His response to the question was to change the subject to the "genocide" that occurs in this country when a million abortions occur every year.

I thought that Senator Brownback gave a compassionate and reasonable answer to the Darfur question. We should certainly do all in our power to help the people who are experiencing the genocide. The other candidates gave various responses to the question. One, I believe Representative Hunter, asserted that we have no responsibility for what happens in Darfur.

Representative Ron Paul has been celebrated among us liberal bloggers as a Republican who opposes the war in Iraq and wants the troops brought back post haste. He does indeed have that view. He also favor low taxes and letting people, especially small business people, keep all their money. In some ways he came across as a complete nut. Actually, he is a Republican of the 1930's in that he opposes everything the New Deal accomplished, including our involvement in a foreign war.

Messrs. Tancredo and Hunter believe that our greatest problem is that we aren't keeping all those Mexicans out. We're letting them in. We should enforce our laws regarding the hiring of illegal immigrants. If that were done effectively, the illegal immigrants among us would have to go home. In addition, we must build a fence with agents to patrol it to keep the Mexicans on their side of it. It would help the Black community greatly if we were to get rid of all the illegal immigrants; then the jobs that they take would be available to Blacks. Further, since the Blacks are citizens, they would be able to negotiate for higher wages and better working conditions than the illegal workers receive.

I thought that Alan Keyes were completely out of place among Republican candidates for office - any office. He speaks in the manner of the Baptist Minister to a conservative congregation. If government does anything, it should bolster the family. The welfare system tended to fracture the family in that it encouraged the father to live apart from the mother and the children so that they could more easily justify the welfare payments. He made up some history to support his point; he alleged that before the welfare reforms of Lyndon Johnson and earlier of Franklyn Roosevelt Black people lived in families and things were quite all right. He is another nut.

On balance, I thought that, at the end, the least objectionable of the candidates was Senator Brownback.

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