GOP South Carolina Debate: "I Love Reagan More Than You!" [VIDEO]
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I admit it; I have an acute case of debate fatigue. Over the last eight months, I've watched every single debate for the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, most of which were largely the same. In an apparent bid to drive political observers to tears, news outlets and state parties have apparently decided to crank things up a notch, scheduling a barrage of debates all at once.
Last night, believe it or not, was the fourth debate in the last six nights . I mean, really. I live for this stuff, and even I have my limits. So, I skipped it. (I feel especially comfortable missing Republican debates because, well, they're just so darn similar -- "Hillarycare," "Islamofascism," "Reagan." Rather, rinse, repeat.)
So, how about this -- I read a bunch of news stories about debates so you don't have to?
From what I gather, Fred Thompson showed some signs of life for the first time in recent memory, and focused most of his attention on Mike Huckabee, whom he no doubt sees as his principal rival for the support of the far-right GOP base. As far as I can tell, this was the line of the night:
"On the one hand, you have the Reagan revolution. You have the Reagan coalition of limited government and strong national security. On the other hand, you have the direction that Governor Huckabee would take us in. He would be a Christian leader, but he would also bring about liberal economic policies, liberal foreign policies. He believes we have an arrogant foreign policy and the tradition of, blame America first.
"He believes that Guantanamo should be closed down and those enemy combatants brought here to the United States to find their way into the court system eventually. He believes in taxpayer-funded programs for illegals, as he did in Arkansas. He has the endorsement of the National Education Association, and the NEA said it was because of his opposition to vouchers. He said he would sign a bill that would ban smoking nationwide. So much for federalism. So much for states' rights. So much for individual rights. That's not the model of the Reagan coalition, that's the model of the Democratic Party."
Salon's Mike Madden responded, "That was just the beginning of the night for Thompson, who was so vibrant, so energetic, so... awake that it almost made you think he was running for president."
Steve Benen is a freelance writer/researcher and creator of The Carpetbagger Report. In addition, he is the lead editor of Salon.com's Blog Report, and has been a contributor to Talking Points Memo, Washington Monthly, Crooks & Liars, The American Prospect, and the Guardian.