Originally I had no intention of watching the alleged last of the GOP debates . It was held in Mesa, Arizona which meant the anti-immigrant rhetoric would be amped up to pander to the local audience which included Sheriff Joe Arpaio. I ended up watching the debate because my partner said we should watch it together (how romantic).Also, Arizona is where the next big primary will happen this coming Tuesday.
I was right about the hateful narrative used against immigrants but I also watched and listened to a group of white men who seemed to be against everything, including each other.
The whole debate, poorly moderated by CNN’s John King, had a strange air about it. The Republican hopefuls appeared on stage and introduced themselves in a manner that would have been appropriate in a bad comic book. For example, Ron Paul knighted himself the “defender of the Constitution.” Someone get that man a cape.
The rest of the very long evening consisted of the candidates talking about everything they hate like spending money. Rick Santorum responded to the first question asked, regarding the national debt, saying that the only thing he wanted to spend money on was the defense department, everything else should be cut : medicaid, medicare, food stamps, and of course Obama Care, I mean healthcare, and education.
Applause followed by Mitt Romney and Santorum going back and forth at each other for a while about who was more fiscally conservative.
Ron Paul gets in on the Santorum bashing (the candidate, not the sexual liquid) by calling him a fake and especially targeting how Santorum was once a backer of No Child Left Behind and now was against it.
Mitt Romney mentioned his experience as head of the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee so many times that I proposed a bobsled race instead of primary to determine the GOP candidate for president.
The most unsurprising portions of the night involved birth control and immigration, and within those topics, race.
All of the candidates made the issue of contraceptives one of choice, access, and liberties but for religious fundamentalists, not for people with a uterus. Access to contraception was blamed for the amount of children born out of wedlock, especially among “some people”. I wonder who those people could be?
:: looks around at her two kids with no daddy in sight::.
Oh wait. They mean me.
Those same some people,like me, are really poor, usually criminals,uneducated and a burden because of all the babies they had while not being married. Therefore the answer to poverty is marriage and no birth control. Sign me and my out of wedlock daughters up! Married people who use birth control are mythical creatures who must exist only in the realm of the liberal elites.
This discussion of the evils of birth control had one brief ray of light when Ron Paul clarified that the morning after pill is not the same as the abortion pill. I said that moment was brief right because then he entered into the bash Planned Parenthood portion of the evening.
Arizona, the home of SB 1070 and banned books, seemed to waiting for the four white men to unleash the anti-immigration vitriol. Governer Jan Brewer and Sherrif Joe Arpaio sat in the audience, almost as GOP guests of honor. All of the candidates spoke in favor of fences and more boots on the ground. All of the candidates lambasted Obama and his administration for suing Arizona and not doing enough to stop immigrants who were of accused draining the economy and coming for the welfare ride. Mitt Romney especially came down hard on the administration, which makes sense campaign wise, since the Democratic Party has been putting all of it’s eggs in the Latino vote basket hoping that they can keep or win support by making Romney the most anti-immigrant of all. Alternately, Florida GOP Senator Marco Rubio’s name was mentioned, as if to prove to any Latinos who were watching, that they were capable of acknowledging a Latino who they weren’t going to paint as the scapegoat for the U.S.’s ills.
Of course none of the arguments the GOP presidential wannabes presented are based in reality. No one mentioned how Obama has actually expanded Bush immigration enforcement policies and how thanks to those expansions there were more Border Patrol boots on the ground and record breaking deportation numbers. Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio’s name was mentioned, as if to prove that they were capable of mentioning a Latino and had some credibility. Newt Gingrich, who at one point was being praised for his “common sense” approach to immigration policy, which boiled down to saying that family unification was important for “good” undocumented people and proposing a limbo status of undocumented but not deportable, reverted back to the standard nativist arguments and when asked to discribe himself in one word, Newt Gingrich cockily answered, “cheerful”.