Thursday, November 29, 2007

I answer the CNN YouTube debate questions

I would be standing onstage in a blue suit, white shirt, bright red tie, and cordovan saddle oxfords. The red tie says bright personality!

1. Illegal aliens?

Answer: We must ease and smooth the process of becoming an American citizen.

That said: as much as we can, we must stop the influx of illegal aliens into our nation. A nation which cannot control its borders is imperiled.

2. Amnesty?

Answer: No, but... sigh... yes.

It would take a bizarrely large amount of resources to deport the millions of illegals who are here now. If we get to a point where we control our borders, we can then look at some type of limited, workable amnesty program.

Reagan agreed to amnesty in return for a promise to strengthen border enforcement. That promise to Reagan was broken. This time: border enforcement first; limited amnesty second.

3. Guest workers?

Answer: I like the idea. I am wary of Washington, D.C.'s implementation of it.

4. Would you support a federal law which would require states to give the same tuition discounts which illegal aliens receive to the children of our military members?

Answer: The federal government has no business dictating state university policy decisions to a state government.

5. Congressman Paul: do you believe the North American Union is a legitimate threat to become actual policy?

Congressman Paul:
And there is a move on toward a North American union, just like early on there was a move on for a European Union, and it eventually ended up.
Answer: zzzzz... ahem.... um.. what?

6. what measures will you take to tackle the national debt and control spending?

a. Grow the economy through tax cuts.
b. Encourage and support Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn 's efforts to stop pork spending.
c. Reform entitlements. Some entrenched government entitlements need to shrink. Others need to be completely eliminated.

7. What are the names of the top three federal programs you would reduce in size?

The President doesn't get to reduce federal programs, so I cannot make absolute promises. Social Security needs reform, or else the program will soon enough cease to exist. The Dept. of Education ought be reduced to a shell of itself. Beyond those two, I agree with Fred Thompson:

It's a target rich environment.

Get rid of the IRS .... Most people in this country are more afraid of an audit than they are of a mugging, and there's a reason why.
8. do you support the elimination of the federal income tax in favor of a national retail sales tax?

Answer: yes

9. Would you promise ... you will oppose and veto any efforts to raise taxes as long as you're president?

Answer: the Laffer Curve has proven itself legitimate. Accordingly: I will work to decrease taxes; and thus to aid our economic growth; and thus to increase our national tax revenue. I see nothing which could encourage me to raise taxes during this era of already-high taxation. Yet, I'm not comfortable making any absolute promise about policy.

10. This question asked by a Democrat who used to be an intern for Dem. Congresswoman Jane Harmon. Farm subsidies?

Answer: Let the free market rule --- with the caveat that foreign nations do subsidize their farmers, and we would have to look at that before acting.

There's been too much D.C. smoke surrounding the details of farm subsidies. Those details scream out for sunlight.

11. Note: this next questioner was one of at least 9 Democrat plants who asked some of the 32 questions directed at Repub candidates. This is completely fair to the Repub candidates! There's nothing unfair about Repub candidates answering any question! Bring on the questions! This does, however, point to CNN's reporting and/or editorial ... incompetence and/or bias.

This questioner is a prominent union activist for United Steelworkers - a union which has already endorsed John Edwards, btw. A clever girl, she subtly slipped three questions into her video. She used her two children, both under age 7, as props:

What are you going to do to make sure that these kind of [lead poisoned] toys don't make their way into our homes and that we have safe toys that are made in America again and we keep jobs in America?

Re: lead poisoning: the answer is to govern more effectively in many small areas. There is no one single band-aid which will solve the problem.

Re: Congratulations on working "Made in America" into your video.

Re: "keep jobs in America." America's workers do not need nannies. I will not dull America's competitive edge by promising our government will "keep jobs in America." Our competitive edge is what makes us great. America is not about equality of outcome. We are about freedom of opportunity - and all the messiness and greatness that implies.

Congressman Duncan Hunter(a righteous, white knight of a candidate!):

China is cheating on trade, and they're using that $200 billion trade deficit over the United States to buy ships, planes and missiles. They are clearly arming. And it's in the interest of the United States... (Applause) ... to stop China's cheating. My bill, incidentally, that's up right now would do that.
12. Second Amendment?

Answer: Love it just as much as the First.

13. Mr. Giuliani ... why do you believe [as you said in March, 2000] that citizens should be required to pass an exam in order to exercise their right to protect themselves and their families?

Rudy Giuliani:

reasonable regulations would be about criminal background, background of mental instability, basically the ones that are outlined in the opinion of the judge who wrote the Parker decision, Judge Silverman. And if those regulations go beyond that, then those are unconstitutional.

I think states can have a little bit of leeway. New York could have a somewhat stricter rule than, let's say, Kentucky. Texas might have different rules than Ohio. But generally, you've got to comply with this rule.

Now, the Supreme Court's going to decide this. The Supreme Court's going to decide this, probably within the next six months. The Parker (ph) case has been taken to the Supreme Court. They're going to decide whether it's a right that pertains to the militia -- which I don't believe it is -- or is it a right that is a personal right. I believe that it is.

And I will live by that. And people will be allowed to have guns. I'm not going to interfere with that. Generally, decisions are going to be made on a state basis. And they're going to have to comply with the Constitution.

Answer: The End Zone agrees with Rudy, while continuing to watch him with a wary eye.

14. want to tell us about your gun collection, roughly how many you own, what your favorite make, model and caliber is, if any of them require a tax stamp?

Answer: This is a friendly question, yet my answer is: no. I don't want to stand on a stage with a true American hero: Senator John McCain, and even accidentally get into a pissing contest over who owns what guns.

I do think it is fun to shoot at targets for sport. And everyone I know of who has ever shot at a target, for sport, has enjoyed it.

15. But what about the war going on in our country, black on black crime? Two hundred to 400 black men die yearly in one city alone. What are you going to do about that war? It feels like the (inaudible) is right outside.

Answer: First, it's a compliment to the American military that you would compare living conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan with living conditions in an American city.

Second, from a government perspective, what Mayor Giuliani did in NYC - his "no broken windows" offensive, and his micro targeting of the toughest neighborhoods - ought be encouraged in other city governments and police departments.

Third, a President must lead and inspire churches and social agencies in their already declared fights against immoral, antisocial behavior. In turn, churches and social agencies must lead and inspire grassroots community leaders in this fight. These are grassroots problems. They exist right at street-level ... right at the gut level of American society. The fight will be won or lost at street level - from the ground up.

I will lead. Yet I will not pretend that I am the one who will win this fight. You, young man, are the one who will win or lose this fight. Godspeed to you.

16. (This question is from a John Edwards supporter. Yet, it is an excellent question, and one which I have seen raised in other venues. I am glad this question was asked.)

In the event that abortion becomes illegal and a woman obtains an abortion anyway, what should she be charged with, and what should her punishment be? What about the doctor who performs the abortion?

Answer: Abortion law should not be a federal issue. This question ought be left up to the states. As the states considered such difficult issues, I would remind that forgiveness is a virtue.

Fred Thompson:

I think it should be fashioned along the same lines it is now. Most states have abortion laws pertain and prohibit abortion after viability. It goes to the doctor performing the abortion, not the girl, or the young girl, or her parents, whoever it might be. I think that same pattern needs to be followed. It could just be moved up earlier, or much earlier in the process if the state so determined.
17. If hypothetically, Roe v. Wade was overturned, and the Congress passed a federal ban on all abortions and it came to your desk, would you sign it?

Answer: I would not sign it. Abortion is a question which is properly left for states to decide. I would not contribute to further federal grabbing of the states' proper power.

18. This question is from a Democrat plant:
The death penalty, what would Jesus do?

If Jesus had advocated against the death penalty, you can be assured America's Founding Fathers - a group largely comprised of deeply religious Christians - would have known about it, and would have outlawed the death penalty in the American Constitution.

One of my big surprises, upon seriously reading the Bible, was the Biblical support for the death penalty. Sister Helen Prejean, an anti-death penalty activist, is commendably honest enough to note the Bible does not condemn the death penalty:

"It is abundantly clear that the Bible depicts murder as a capital crime for which death is considered the appropriate punishment, and one is hard pressed to find [anything] in either the Hebrew Testament or the New Testament which unequivocally refutes this."
Jesus lived in an era in which the death penalty was common - yet Jesus did not condemn the death penalty. In a series of non-related statements about other matters, Jesus, arguably, repeatedly implied agreement with the death penalty's legitimacy.


there are those who say, "How can you be pro-life and believe in the death penalty?"
Because there's a real difference between the process of adjudication, where a person is deemed guilty after a thorough judicial process and is put to death by all of us, as citizens, under a law, as opposed to an individual making a decision to terminate a life that has never been deemed guilty because the life never was given a chance to even exist.
19. Do you believe every word in this book?(holds up the Bible)

Answer: This gentleman's actual question is:

Do any of us agree with his interpretation of every portion of the Bible?

I can give a short answer: no. Even Bible scholars cannot agree on the meaning of everything in the Bible. I am confident not a one of us on stage interpret everything in the Bible in the same way this gentleman does.

20. This question was asked by a former CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) activist. CAIR is a notorious apologist for all things terrorist; and a notorious accuser of America for all wild allegations of wrongdoing. What would you do as president to repair the image of America in the eyes of the Muslim world?

Answer: Win.

What we are currently doing - especially in Iraq - is doing wonders for the image of America in the Muslim world. Iraqis are working with America to improve their nation, their government, and their national infrastructure. Iraqis are fighting with Americans against Al Qaeda. These are wondrous occurrences: wonderful for America; wonderful for Iraqis; wonderful for the world.

Duncan Hunter:
to the critics of America I would say this. When you were faced with disease and starvation, the Americans brought food and medicine. When you had earthquakes and tsunamis and floods, the Americans came and helped you. And when you were threatened from outside, the Americans left the safety of their own homes to come and defend you.

I will never apologize for the United States of America.
21. Waterboarding?

Answer: It's not proper for me to take a position at this time.

22. In favor of long term military commitment in Iraq?

Answer: Yes. Our safest location is not distanced apart from our enemy, but drawn up tight against him - right up against his belt buckle. This is how we discovered the nuclear arms network of the Pakistani scientist Khan - among MANY other important intelligence discoveries since March 2003. Our intelligence capabilities are now exponentially greater than they were in Autumn 2002. Our sway with the intelligence branches of (alleged) friendly nations, and thus our sharing of intelligence information with (alleged) friendly nations, is now exponentially greater than it was in Autumn 2002.


let me remind you, Congressman, we never lost a battle in Vietnam. It was American public opinion that forced us to lose that conflict.
I think it's important for all Americans to understand the fundamental difference. After we left Vietnam, they didn't want to follow us home. They wanted to build their own workers' paradise. If you read Zarqawi, if you read bin Laden, if you read Zawahiri, read what they say. They want to follow us home.
Their ultimate destination is New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Phoenix, Arizona. This is a transcendent challenge of our time.
If Bin Laden follows us home, I think the climate near Phoenix would suit him best. He might settle near Sedona, or go further north and hide out in the Grand Canyon area. If he ran afoul of the National Parks Service, he might try hiding in the New Mexico badlands.

23. Rudy, how do you respond to allegations you are using 9/11 to propel yourself into the White House?


I would like people to look at my whole record.
I was United States attorney in the Southern District of New York. I prosecuted thousands of organized crimes figures. I prosecuted Sicilian Mafia members, never done before in an American court.

I was mayor of a city that was described as one of the greatest turnarounds of any city in the history of America. George Will said I ran the most conservative government in this country, most successful conservative government in this country in the last 50 or 60 years.
I've been tested in a way in which I ran the third-largest government in this country, the 17th-largest economy in the world, and I got very, very remarkable results.

And that is the evaluation of other people, not me.
24. Will you grant extensive Vice Presidential power?

Answer: Bloody hell straight at you, CNN.

25. This question came from a retired General who is a member of Hillary Clinton's Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered Steering Committee. Somehow, CNN used Google to fly the General from Santa Rosa, CA to St. Petersburg, FL; yet they didn't use Google to, you know, actually GOOGLE the General's political background.(stolen from Instapundit)

CNN allowed the General to rebut the candidate's answers to his questions. Overall, they gave the General over half as much speaking time - for his single issue - as Fred Thompson, Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo received to discuss all issues.

Fox News later reported the General said CNN "Didn't ask" about his political affiliation, therefore he "Didn't tell." You know: because of the irony.(blatantly stolen from Protein Wisdom)

The General's question:
Why [do] you think that American men and women in uniform are not professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians?

Answer: Based on everything I know at this time: gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military.

There is an argument that gays serving openly will hurt recruiting. I don't believe recruiting will be affected in significant measure. Do you want to serve with the finest military in the history of the world, or do you want to avoid being around openly gay people?

I have confidence in the American people, and I have confidence in American military personnel.
26. (this question is from a Dem Obama supporter)
Why should Log Cabin Republicans support you?

Answer: I am reaching out neither to gays, nor to any other identity group. I am reaching out to conservatives. If you believe in limited government, and in strong national defense: I ask for your vote.

27. This question asked by Democrat Adam Florzak, who quit his job at Catapillar to work with Democrat Senator Dick Durbin on Social Security reform. National debt? How will you deal with $2 Billion raiding of Social Security trust fund?

Answer: A raid which was vastly conducted by Democrat controlled Congresses, I might point out.

The only solution has already been alluded to: shrink taxes, grow the economy; shrink pork spending; shrink entitlement spending.

Though the raid of the Social Security Trust Fund is a scandal, the U.S. national debt is demagogued way too much. As a percentage of GDP, our national debt is not out of whack.

Note: Again - the hard questions are nice opportunities. They are gifts. Yet - I'm incredulous about CNN's role. Does anyone at CNN take a moment to wonder why and how they whittled five thousand question entries down to forty entries ... thirty-two of which got asked during the debate ... nine of those which were generated by Democrats? Answer: Nah.

28. Human space exploration to Mars by 2020?

Answer: Yes - but I don't know about the timeline. Like a great structure, space exploration calls to us, and reminds of greatness. Further, we gain scientific value from it. However: no blank checks. Public/private investment partnership would be good.

29. This question asked by a Democrat who is an aspiring screenwriter, and a big John Edwards fan. Many African Americans hold fairly conservative views. And yet, we overwhelmingly vote Democrat in most elections. So my question to any of the Republican candidates here is, why don't we vote for you?

Side note: Can you see the obvious answer/subtext of this question? The only possible answer is: because African Americans believe Republicans are racists.

CNN has selected a question which pre-supposes Republican guilt: either of racism, or of creating the insensitive appearance of racism. Either way, the question implies Republicans are guilty.

Nevertheless, I'm glad CNN selected the question. Let the sun shine! If you have nothing to hide, the tough questions are the best questions, as they allow you to get the truth out.

Answer: I am soliciting votes neither by skin hue, nor by geographic heritage. I am soliciting votes according to belief in free markets, and in limited government. If you believe in these, I ask for your vote.

30. What does the Confederate Stars and Bars flag represent to you?

Answer: Bloody hell! This is why no one wants to run for President.

Grumble... grumble... sheesh...

Okay, here we go:

Possession of a Confederate flag does not mean a person is a racist.

If you are moved to engage in a societal nicety: forego the flag. There are lots of other things to be involved in. There are lots of other ways to honor history and heritage.

Conversely: if you are moved to assert your independence and freedom: you've every right to display that flag. Go right ahead. Let no one tread on you.

31. Repairing American infrastructure?

Answer: sheesh... someone is against this?

32. This asked by a Democrat Bill Richardson supporter who had previously participated in the Democrat YouTube Debate. It's hard to believe CNN did not know where these questions were coming from. Ron Paul: are you going to run as an independent?

Ron Paul: (non denial denial)

And that's the end! The debate was raucous. I had fun participating in it. I'd like to thank all the little people!

I close with this, from pollster Frank Luntz, about the issue which might define this election:

I can't overestimate just how much Republicans are against illegal immigration, nor how much they want their candidate to stop it.

Update: Michelle Malkin informs about the specific Democrats who asked questions.

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