|Arizona conservatives follow Florida Tea Party debate via video.|
What's horrifying, really, is what the candidates are actually saying:
- The Republican candidates uniformly agree that Social Security is broken, and only they are "serious" enough to face up to that and "fix" it. How? They don't say.
- Government is the problem, not the solution. This they say while wanting to win the job of being the most important person in American government.
- Vaccinating girls so they won't get cervical cancer is a violation of American freedom. (Actually, they believe that "good" girls don't need the vaccine, only "bad" girls that want 'em some sexytime.)
- Austerity is the way to cure our economic ills, not taxing the wealthy the way most advanced nations do. That wouldn't be American. The American way is having 1 in 6 of our citizens living in poverty (new report just today from the U.S. Census Bureau).
- Rick Perry: "I said that if you allow the Federal Reserve to be used for political purposes that it would be almost treasonous. I think that is a clear statement of fact. I am not a fan of the current chairman allowing that Federal Reserve to be used to cover up bad fiscal policy by this administration." Michele Bachmann also dislikes Bernanke. Bernanke, of course, is a Republican appointed by George Bush, whose Federal Reserve is independent from the current administration. What does Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann want to do, abolish the Fed and go back to the gold standard? They haven't said.
- Ron Paul said, more or less, if a guy doesn't want to buy health insurance, that's his damn problem. Crowd agreed. Paul hedged, saying back in his day the religious hospitals took care of the uninsured. Crowd loved that, too. Boy, there's a health care policy if I ever saw one.
No, there's no joy in watching the GOP debates, unless it's to hope that we keep seeing how weak the candidates in the field are. One thing's for sure: there's a lot of wag-the-dog going on, with the audience just as big a part of the theater as the performers on stage. Another thing to hope for: that the Tea Party really wag them some dog. That'll give them a really sharp Republican candidate, I tell you.