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GOP debate: No runs, no hits, some errors

Candidates must distance themselves from Bush's failed Iraq strategy

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A look at the Republican candidates and their performance on the campaign trail

Jack Jacobs
Military analyst

The President of the United States gets more media access than any other politician, and the reason is quite easy to discern: he is the only person who represents all of us.

To be sure, he is selected in a convoluted, indirect and abstruse way. And the majority of those we have chosen for this exalted position have been inept, corrupt, ignorant, negligent, foolish, or generally undistinguished. Approval ratings of more than 50% are rare…and fleeting. (Would you want surgery from a doctor who was rated as lousy by half the people he treated?)

But the Constitution created one office holder in whom is vested the spirit of the entire electorate, and so this person, for good or ill, gets more attention than anyone else in the government. Not surprisingly, we also pay quite a bit of serious attention to selecting candidates for the job, even though the process itself is something of a farce.

Like the Democrats’ debate a couple of weeks ago, last Thursday’s Republican face-off among presidential aspirants was notable principally for its entertainment value. After all, there are few things more amusing than encountering three politicians of national stature, people who want to represent the entire United States of America, who do not believe in evolution. Americans with even a modicum of education can relax, though: Brownback, Huckabee and Tancredo may be very nice people, but none will ever be president.

Most of the Republicans’ answers were predictable, and almost all their positions were the opposite of the Democrats’. But on one subject everyone seemed to agree: the Bush administration has made a hash of Iraq. Yes, there was the occasional, requisite, mildly laudatory observation about George W. Bush’s dedication and patriotism, but there appeared to be general agreement that the adventure has been horribly mismanaged.


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