So Tuesday night was the fiftyleventh (it’s a number look it up!) GOP presidential debate. The GOP hopefuls descended on Sin City with all the focus on new front runner Herman Cain, who’s 999 tax plan is sweeping the nation! (Or is it a $9.99 plan for a medium pepperoni on Tuesdays? So hard to remember the details…)
But seriously — and I say this as a Democrat who supports President Obama’s re-election — is the Republican party serious with this slate of candidates? The GOP knows they have to win a general election right? A general election electorate includes people who may support a women’s right to choose, people who believe in science, and those who believe that undocumented immigrants are people too. You know — very radical positions.
I’d like to highlight a particular key moment of the debate for you (in case you were out doing things much more productive than watching people who will never be president talk about issues which they know nothing about, like Herman Cain on foreign policy). In this clip, Willard “Mitt” Romney and Governor Rick Perry fought over who’s the bigger bigot on the issue of immigration:
First of all, I need people to stop referring to human beings as “illegal.” Second, it seems spectacularly short-sighted to try to out-do your opponent on the issue of immigration in the primary only to have to court the Latino vote in the general election. And let’s not forget that the Obama administration (to my great dismay) just reported to have deported a record number of 400,000 undocumented immigrants over the past year, nearly 10 percent higher than Bush administration levels. So sadly, that issue would be his in the general election. (Which will lose him votes in the end.)
In the end, I think the slew of debates will be remembered not for anything that these candidates said or did not say, it will be for the debate audiences which cheered executions, boo’d a gay soldier, called for an uninsured terminally ill man to die — and this week, cheered the idea that the unemployed are to blamed for not having jobs.
Rick Perry: You stood here in front of the American people and did not tell the truth that you had illegals working on your property and the newspaper came to you and brought it to your attention and you still, a year later, had those individuals working for you. The idea that you can sit here and talk about any of us having immigration issue is beyond me. I’ve got a strong policy. I’ve always been against amnesty. You on the other hand were for amnesty.
Anderson Cooper: I’ve got 30 seconds, then we move on to another issue.
Mitt Romney: You wrote an op-ed in the newspaper saying you were open to amnesty. That’s number one. Number two, we hired a lawn company to mow our lawn and they had illegal immigrants that were working there. When that was pointed out to us, we let them go. And we went to them and said—
Rick Perry: A year later?
Mitt Romney: You have a problem with allowing someone to finish speaking. And I suggest that if you want to become president of the United States you have to let both people speak. So first, let me speak. So we went to the company and we said, ‘Look, you can’t have any illegals working on our property! I’m running for office, for Pete’s sake, we can’t have illegals!’ Turns out that once again, they hired someone who had falsified their documents and therefore we fired them. Let me tell you, it is hard in this country as an individual homeowner to knew if people who are contractors working at your home if they hired people that are illegal. If I’m president we’ll put in an e-verify system, which you oppose and crack down on people who come here illegally.