Reactions to a Red State Debate

When Pajamas Media asked me to analyze the South Carolina debate, I thought they confused Charleston, W.Va., where I write for the Daily Mail, with Charleston, S.C.

Then I learned it was in Myrtle Beach. Shoot. Myrtle is as West Virginian as having a truck in the yard on blocks.

This was the first home game for Republicans, a debate in a Red State. It opened with the "Star Spangled Banner."

Chris Wallace began with a recession-is-coming question that everyone fell for. The latest quarterly report showed 4.9% growth.

McCain said he would make permanent the taxes he voted against.

Carl Cameron asked about Reaganism. Finally a Republican question in a Republican debate.

Huckabee thumped his Bible and then spewed John Edwards populism. That may work in Iowa, but you bring your big boy britches to the Palmetto State.

Fred Thompson set him straight. The audience cheered.

The rest love Reagan, well, except for Ron Paul.

So it went.

Guiliani pimped the corporate net income taxes he said he'd cut today. Fred thanked him for picking up on Fred's proposal from months ago.

Romney, McCain and Huckabee carry a lot of baggage from their public record. Romney said he has had a conversion on the road to the White House. That's acceptable.

McCain admitted his proposal on illegal immigration failed. He said the people lost faith in the federal government's ability to fulfill its promise to protect the borders. That's acceptable.

Huckabee bent the facts. That's unacceptable.

This was a very serious discussion handled with occasional light moments.

Brit Hume asked what I thought was a dumb question about the Iranian Navy's sparring with the American Navy in the Straits of Hormuz.

This gave everyone the chance to back the on-scene commanders for remaining calm and not taking the bait.

Then came Ron Paul, who went off the deep end about everyone wanting to go to war, war, war. Hume asked him what the hell he was talking about; everyone said the opposite.

Ron Paul then said he does not hear very well.

Yes, those voices in his head drown everything out.

Look, he's raising money for his Napoleon Party run in the fall. Whatever votes he will get are ones that Republicans don't want anyway. He is a poor man's H. Ross Perot.

Please, Texas, send us no more presidential candidates this century.

Arkansas too. Huckabee's Bible belting does not bother me as much as his populist bent. A chicken-in-every pot is unnecessary in a nation whose poor overwhelmingly suffer from obesity.

Who won? Some might say Fred Thompson. He's the one conservatives are rooting for. He seemed a little too sardonic for me.

Tonight was encouraging. One of the five men not named Ron Paul will be the nominee and the odds that he will be able to rally the supporters of the other candidates.

The debate showed that Republican differences are superficial. Everyone agrees on tax cuts, defending the borders and opposing abortion.

That some are election day converts should not bother anyone. Gov. Reagan raised taxes and signed into law the legalization of abortion.

That's my take on it.

Excuse me now, I must tend my truck. The flower growing through the hood needs weeding.