If you will allow me the “audacity of hope,” it is my hope that every voting-age American who did not watch the GOP debate last night will sit down and give it full attention when it re-airs on CNN Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.
Watch it, then remind yourself: one of these men might be the next president of the United States.
While the candidates themselves had no control over the questions, and CNN and YouTube vetted them, they were posed by Americans via YouTube video.
It is apparent that, contrary to what I had thought, “God, gays and guns” are still main concerns of those who will vote Republican.
So prevalent was the issue of “illegal immigration,” I found myself thinking of Charlton Heston, staring down at the Statue of Liberty protruding from the sand, and screaming, “You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you!”
Other questions were primarily about God (“Do you read and believe the Holy Bible?” and “What would Jesus do?”), gays, the 2nd Amendment and guns, abortion, torture and 9/11 and the Islamic Jihadist threat to America.
They were about a mindset.
The loudest booing came when Ron Paul attempted to explain jihadists hate us because of our policies toward the Middle East for the last several decades, and when Rudy Giuliani dared to suggest some gun ownership must be regulated.
The one question on Iraq – shouldn’t the U.S. establish permanent bases and remain there indefinitely to protect the region? – created a verbal tap dance onstage.
At times, Ron Paul seemed the only voice of reason, then he had to go and say we have to get government out of our lives, while pointing out the necessity of things only a federal government can do – such as “rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure.”
As one post-debate panelist said, “What you didn’t hear was the name George Bush. They are trying to distance themselves from him, yet, with the exception of Ron Paul, they agree with him on almost every issue.”
These issues did not come up: education, health care, energy, global warming, the economy, Iran.
During the post-debate coverage a group of “undecided Republicans” remained undecided, could not pick a debate winner and expressed interest in one overriding criterion: who can beat Hillary Clinton.
I don’t have a problem with that, as I support the one person I believe can defeat this less-than-illustrious field – and restore this nation’s soul.
Watch Saturday night. If you are conservative and Republican or liberal and Democrat, ask yourself if what you see represents your own ideals, your own hope for your country.
This might just be the most important two hours you will spend before Election 2008.
Watch it like your future depends on it.