Thursday, November 29, 2007

YouTube Republican Debate: We Must Stay in Iraq

I've got lectures this morning, but until later, here's some quick thoughts on the GOP YouTube debate, starting with this awesome question from Buzz Brockway:

The Brockway question addressed the campaign's most important issue, at least for me. With the exception of Ron Paul (whose debate performance confirmed that he'd be a disaster as president), I'm confident that the other candidates will do what's best for America's interests in the Middle East and the war on terror.

I'm excited to read the morning papers to get some overview of the consensus on the candidates' performances. But I can say two things right now:

(1) Mike Huckabee really impressed. I've got a whole new perception of Huckabee. He's an incredibly genuine man, and while I don't support all of his positions, I think he held his own. His morality on the issue of immigration is something that conservatives should consider as we move forward on that debate. A Huckabee win in Iowa could really throw open the GOP race. (Huckabee's line on Hillary Clinton - she can be "the first on a rocket to Mars" - was also a show-stealer.)

(2) John McCain again demonstrated why I firmly back his White House bid. No candidate speaks with as much credibility on the war as McCain. His exchange with Ron Paul on Iraq and isolationism was dynamite. What McCain said to Paul had to be said, and I think Paul supporters have a burden to demonstrate more persuasively that - in the context of the current terror war - paleoconservative "non-interventionism" can realistically be separated from isolationism.

But McCain also made me think more about the use of torture and American values. I've taken a Machiavellian stance on torture, and I would not rule it out when American lives are at stake in the current conflict. But McCain's argument last night on how torture is un-American was extremely moving, and I'm going to go back and rethink my position a bit.

The transcript of the debate
is here. I'll have more commentary later.