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Paul Hayden

Republican Glass Jaws

December 3, 2007

When I was a boy, my dad would make a point about someone acting weakly or against their self-interest by sticking his chin out, pointing at it and derisively saying, "Here it is." Seems like the Republican candidates for president were sticking out a lot of chins the other night in their "YouTube" debate.

It's bad enough that the Republicans never seem to learn that when the "moderator" is a member in good standing of the drive-by media, they are dealing with someone who, at a minimum, will not be fair to them. Not to mention that the Clinton News Network, aka CNN, was televising the debate. To compound their self-infliction, the candidates acquiesced in taking questions from the YouTube site which is hardly dominated by a Republican-leaning crowd.

With those ingredients in the mix, it certainly came as no surprise that the lion's share of the questions were "left jabs" designed to put the candidates on the defensive and sound "controversial" or just befuddled.  To the exclusion of issues of strength including the recent successes in the Iraq conflict, most of the debate centered on the subjects that could cause trouble for the candidates-such as illegal immigration. And instead of taking a few moments to jab at Hillary Clinton's monstrous flip-flops on this issue, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney took the gloves off and jabbed at each other. The result was what CNN wanted-a fight among the top candidates that was largely needless but that nevertheless made both of them look bad.

For starters, Giuliani bluntly accused Romney of turning his official residence when he was governor of Massachusetts into a "sanctuary mansion" for undocumented workers. Romney fired back that Giuliani's remarks were "offensive" and accused him of wanting to force homeowners to demand official papers from casual workers with a "funny accent." Romney also had some choice words about Giuliani's "sanctuary city" for illegals when Giuliani was mayor of New York.

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee joined in and chided Romney for the latter's opposition to taxpayer-funded educational benefits for children of illegal immigrants. Huckabee's position is more Democrat-like than the others, at least on this issue. That didn't look too good for the Republicans, either.

Unfortunately, all of the sniping took the focus off a potential Republican strength and one that distances them in a good way from President Bush-the willingness to enforce our borders and actually enforce the existing laws regarding illegal immigration.

However, the biggest left hooks of the night involved questions from Democrat activists who of course did not divulge their identities as such during the debate. Chief among these was a former senior military officer, Keith Kerr, a gay man who has lobbied for years to allow gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military. It turns out that Kerr is a Clinton supporter and has been asked to work on her campaign but, as always, the Clintons' spin machine sprung into action and denied any knowledge of Kerr's participation. Kerr of course spouted a similar denial that the Clintons had anything to do with his appearance at the debate. But CNN certainly did. The left-leaning network made sure that he was invited, paid his travel expenses, and knew full well what he planned to grill the candidates about.

Kerr stated that he had been a Log Cabin Republican for a long time and recently changed from Republican to Independent, saying that he had supported the GOP but "these guys are just partisanly (sic) homophobic." Never mind that Senator Clinton falsely accused the honorable four-star general in charge of the surge of lying and that she and her husband were openly contemptuous of the military during Bill Clinton's presidency. Nope, none of that matters when the all-important gay agenda is at stake.

While most of the candidates gave reasonable responses to Kerr's challenge to "don't ask, don't tell," they also left some ammunition on the table. For one thing, that policy was established under Bill Clinton's watch, not that of some "homophobic" Republican. No one pointed that out.

If this debate was any indication, the Republican candidates have a long way to go to toughen up their chins for the Clinton machine's attacks which are sure to come the winning candidate's way in a few months. We can only hope they'll spend some extra time sparring in the gym to get ready, as "Eye of the Tiger" blares in the background.

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Copyright ©2007 Phil Perkins