Libertarian Hawk


American Vipers

February 06, 2013 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Gun Control

2The tragic news story about Marine reservist Eddie Ray Routh shooting and killing Iraq War veteran/former Navy SEAL/American Sniper author Chris Kyle at a Texas gun range features every juicy element liberals salivate over:

  • Guns killing innocent people
  • Ex-military men demonstrating violent, unstable behavior
  • Ex-military men acquiring post-traumatic stress disorder and other emotional difficulties from wartime combat
  • Tacky Texan bitter-clingers causing mayhem
  • Gun owners dying in ironic ways
  • A tragic, one-in-a-million aberrance serving as fodder for pushing liberal policies on millions of people who have done nothing wrong and heretofore exercised their rights responsibly

Here’s the story: American hero Chris Kyle served his country for a decade in Iraq, completed four tours of duty, and earned 14 medals, including 5 Bronze Stars and 2 Silver Stars.  Kyle killed over 150 Iraqi insurgents, and, in his crowning achievement, successfully shot from 1.2 miles away a terrorist aiming a rocket launcher at a U.S. Army convoy.

Kyle fulfilled his mission with aplomb, despite living with a bounty on his head, and despite having twice been hit by enemy gunfire.  If there were a list of the top 10 Americans who helped bring the long Iraq War to a decisive conclusion, Chris Kyle would be just a couple of slots down from General David Petraeus.

In his civilian life, Kyle started a security and law enforcement training company and a nonprofit outfit offering physical fitness equipment to wounded veterans.  He wrote a bestselling book on his career and briefly starred in a popular, military-themed reality show.  Kyle offered counseling to emotionally troubled veterans, including his friend and eventual murderer Eddie Routh.

Naturally, those bundles of patriotic joy in the Huffington Post comments section had the following to say about Kyle’s death:

“This malignant Christian warrior can now battle Muslims in ‘Heaven’ for the right to rape virgins.”

“Hero?  I think not!  Not when he bragged about his kills!  He enjoyed his job just a little too much.”

“If only Chris Kyle had been armed this would not have happened…  What?  He was?  Never mind.”

“How many pro-gun rights advocates gotta’ die since Sandy Hook?”

“Justice has been served.”

In response to one comment’s defense, “This was no way for a warrior to die,” another poster replied, “Perfectly fitting.”

One reader weighed in:

“Merely being in the military doesn’t elevate a person above others or make a person noble.”

No, shooting 150 dangerous insurgents while evading a bounty on your head, serving four tours of duty, earning 14 medals, and starting a security training firm and a fitness company for wounded veterans makes a person noble.

The same reader contributed this envious rejoinder to those who would praise Kyle’s actions:

“Remember, the military is a CAREER, and a very good one at that.  The military offers benefits no other civilian job offers: money for college, retirement, pension, family benefits, medical.”  So does working for the federal government, though I don’t think paper cuts and Carpal tunnel syndrome are quite as lethal as land mines and insurgent fire.

Another aspect of the Kyle story that thrills liberals is the fact that Routh committed the shootings with a scary-sounding “semi-automatic weapon”—or, as most Americans would call the actual weapon used, a “handgun.”  This detail is especially ideology-reaffirming for the Left after reports that the guns used in the Newtown, Connecticut shooting included an assault rifle were proven false.  (Note that, as with the Newtown shootings, a ban on “assault weapons” would not have outlawed the type of gun Routh used to kill Kyle.)

Meanwhile, failed presidential candidate and vicious asp Ron Paul, who thinks the United States should never, ever defend itself or its allies militarily against any country anywhere, for any reason, tweeted, “Chris Kyle’s death seems to confirm that ‘he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.’”  Yes, and he who runs the perpetual presidential campaign on an insanely, suicidally, autistically noninterventionist foreign policy loses the perpetual presidential campaign on said policy.

But wait: wasn’t it a group of Navy SEALS who used firepower to take out Osama bin Laden—Barack Obama’s one, overrated, loudly trumpeted foreign policy success in the War on Terror?  Isn’t Paul impressed with the SEALS and their firepower for that accomplishment?

Oh, right—Paul wouldn’t have ordered the bin Laden killing, out of respect for “international law,” and believes we brought 9/11 on ourselves with our belligerence.  So I guess guns, Navy SEALS, and courage don’t really have any use for liberals or Paulnuts.

Just as with their barely suppressed glee a couple of weeks ago over a sprinkling of minor firearms accidents at gun rallies (rallies instigated in response to the Left’s move to restrict and ban hundreds of categories of guns), liberals have shown that they don’t really care about bravery, compassion, or life, only about exploiting every tragedy and misfortune to push their insane agenda.

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Five Surprising Super Tuesday Predictions

March 07, 2012 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Elections: 2012

Here are five surprising 2012 Super Tuesday delegate predictions, based on my analysis of Real Clear Politics polling averages, public opinion polls, straw polls, and recent events in the ten states voting tomorrow.

(The takeaway: Non-Romney candidates will have their moments in the sun… and then the Romney juggernaut will continue crushing everything in its path.)

Prediction #1: In almost every primary state, the candidate who wins the most delegates will win more delegates than all other candidates combined in that state

In other words, in each of the seven primary states (not the three caucus states, where anything goes), one candidate will almost always win more than 50% of that state’s delegates.  This may seem surprising, given the fractious nature of the 2012 GOP primaries, dispersed support for the remaining candidates, and the proportional nature of delegate allegation.  However, these states’ apportionment systems are quasi-proportional, which means that large numbers of delegates end up going to the top two (occasionally three) candidates, and none to those who fail to meet a minimum threshold of 15% or 20% of the vote.  An even larger haul goes to the first-place winner, even if he beats the runner-up by only a small percentage.

Prediction #2: Rick Santorum will win only two states, Oklahoma and Tennessee

Santorum leads the polls in these two southern states, but Romney’s ahead of Santorum in the other eight.  Ohio’s too close to call but has been trending toward Romney since his Michigan victory.  Santorum failed to submit complete paperwork for nine Ohio districts, which makes him ineligible for 18 state delegates.  This means that recent polls showing him and Romney neck-and-neck may overpredict Santorum’s delegates relative to Romney’s.  If Santorum takes Ohio, the deciding factor may be Operation Hilarity.

Prediction #3: Only Romney will win delegates in all 10 states—and he’ll win at least 10 in each state

Romney is second in the polls to Santorum in two states, second to Newt Gingrich in one, and on top in the other seven.  Vermont has only 17 delegates, but Romney is heavily favored to win there.  Ron Paul will do better in caucus states—Idaho (32 delegates), North Dakota (28), and Alaska (27)—but Romney should do well enough to pick up 10 delegates each.  Second-place Santorum will win nothing in Virginia, where he’s not on the ballot, and possibly none in Idaho, where he received 0 votes in a Tea Party Straw Poll.  For about half the states, Paul and Gingrich will pick up no delegates.

Prediction #4: Paul will win more delegates in Idaho than in the other nine states combined

Paul does better in small caucus states, where his well-organized operation is more influential (i.e. where his fanatical supporters can rig the vote).  Santorum will likely be eliminated in early rounds of voting in Idaho, where candidates are dropped in successive rounds until one has at least 50% of the vote.  Outside of the three caucus states, Paul should win at most five delegates, all in Virginia.  Paul cleaned up in early caucus states, but he won’t be able to replicate that success in the proportional allocation states.  He will likely be the only candidate who doesn’t win more delegates on Super Tuesday than he has won to date.

Prediction #5: After Romney’s rout on Tuesday, Santorum will still have at least half the number of Romney’s delegates and a quarter of all delegates awarded to date

Romney’s likely to clean up on Super Tuesday; Gingrich is far from his December polling highs; and Paul never had a chance of winning the nomination; but the race isn’t over, if only because the three also-rans are too stubborn to quit.  It’ll be virtually impossible for Gingrich or Paul to reach the required 1,144 delegates to win—either would have to win about 75% of the remaining delegates.  Santorum’s not likely to quit soon, even though he’d have to win two-thirds of the remaining delegates, which would be possible only in the event of a major Romney scandal or sudden shift in public opinion.

As Romney’s political director put it, Santorum’s showing on Super Tuesday will not “do anything to cut the delegate lead.  He is going to fall further and further behind.  It becomes a mathematical battle as much as it is a political one, and the math just doesn’t add up for Santorum.”  (As one Santorum senior strategist put it, “The argument that math is on their side is uninspiring and laughable,” which just proves that the Santorum campaign doesn’t understand math.)

Note: For these predictions I used RCP polling averages, recent polls where averages were unavailable, and straw poll results.  I made no firm predictions for fruity caucus state North Dakota, for which there was only a Tea Party straw poll last fall in which Herman Cain won and Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich didn’t even place; and nutty caucus state Alaska, for which there was only a poll from October 2010 with Mike Huckabee in first place.  Nate Silver and Intrade were not consulted for this article.

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Dear Newt: Please Stick Around as Long as You Like

February 01, 2012 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Elections: 2012

Much has been written about 2012 GOP presidential primary frontrunners Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich’s weaknesses as candidates.

Less has been written about how they stand up next to each other, and whom the comparison favors.  A close look at their records makes it clear that Romney can only benefit from Gingrich staying in the race as long as possible.

Gingrich will likely help Romney in two ways: first, by making Romney seem more conservative to hesitant members of the Tea Party wing of the GOP.  This will happen via Gingrich’s patchwork quilt of liberal positions on such issues as Romney’s role at Bain Capital (“Exploitive!”), Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity (“Right-wing social engineering!”), and Nancy Pelosi’s cap-and-trade bill (“Bipartisan!”).

Second, Gingrich may push Romney to the right on some issues, nudging his competitor to come out more forcefully for the conservative aspects of his platform and commit to them more unwaveringly as campaign promises.

(This is in contrast to the advantage Romney gains by Ron Paul staying in the race, which is for Paul to make Romney seem like a spring chicken with a manly laugh instead of an old goat with a girlish giggle.)

Newt’s attacks on Romney from the left will help Romney develop defenses against the charges the Obama campaign will inevitably fling at him in the general election.

And positions on which Gingrich is good—for example, his promise to repeal Obamacare on his first day in office—may spur Romney to take ever bolder stances.  If you have any doubts about Romney fulfilling his oath to issue a 50-state executive waiver, Newt’s upping the ante on Obamacare will make it harder for Romney to back down.  Newt’s grandiosity, however annoying and impracticable, will prod Romney to promise and act bigger.

(Give Newt credit, I guess, for proposing too many ideas rather than too few.  It’s just that voters get suspicious when the ideas include things like giving the moon statehood.)

Newt’s arrogance and intemperance will make Romney seem even-handed and statesmanlike.  Take Newt’s petulant refusal to debate Obama in the general election if the events are moderated by “the media.”  And they say Newt won’t help build party unity!

What of Newt’s endless, reckless assaults on Romney?  Won’t they hurt Romney in voters’ eyes?  I doubt it.  Being called fickle by Newt is like being called a blowhard by Al Sharpton.

But it’s not only Newt’s venomous attacks on Romney that will drive voters to side with the former Massachusetts governor.  Newt’s pathetic justifications for his dips in the polls and poor recent debate performances belie his claim that Romney is the forked-tongue prevaricator in the race.  My favorite Newt excuse, on his Tampa debate with Romney last week, is: “I stood there thinking, ‘How can you say these things you know are falsehoods?’  That’s why I was quiet, because there was no civil way to call him out on what was in fact a series of falsehoods that were astonishing.”  Because if there’s one thing we know about Newt, it’s that he’d rather be quiet than uncivil!

Or consider this half-baked zinger, which Gingrich offered as a rationalization for why Romney would win the Florida primary: “He can bury me for a very short amount of time with four or five or six times as much money, most of it raised in Wall Street from the guys who got bailouts from the government.”

Let’s unpack this obfuscating, run-on defense, which sounds like something a Democrat would say.  Under normal circumstances, we tend to accept that candidates who raise lots of cash have many passionate supporters.  Gingrich himself has been bragging about how much cash he raised after his unexpected South Carolina victory.  Now suddenly campaign cash is bad?

“A very short amount of time” implies that Romney will best Gingrich in the polls for just a few days, maybe a few weeks—a mere blip in the unstoppable wave of his opponent’s gathering momentum.  Um, wait—doesn’t that precisely describe Gingrich’s standing?

As for Wall Street: Which former GOP Speaker of the House supported the September 2008 bank bailout?  Why, that’s right—Newt Gingrich!

Gingrich has threatened to stay in the race until the 2012 Republican National Convention in August.  I say bring it on.

Romney doesn’t give the GOP exactly what it wants as a candidate, but what he gives us is better than what any of the remaining candidates gives us—and Newt’s presence in the race makes Romney an especially appealing contrast.  Rick Santorum obsesses over social issues and is an unreliable fiscal conservative.  Ron Paul is terrible on foreign policy.  But Newt is in a category of his own: erratic and reckless, bombastic and bloviating, he alienates independents, many conservatives, and probably his own dog.

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Why Are We Still Diddling Around With Iran?

November 09, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Israel


Image by Scott Spiegel via Flickr

Iran’s leadership is working feverishly to develop nuclear weapons, and has been doing so for the past two decades.  President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei have repeatedly pledged to use whatever means they have at their disposal to wipe Israel off the map.

Just about everyone except Israel’s right-wing politicians and John McCain has been denying, distorting, or downplaying these hard truths for years.  Even though the U.S. State Department has listed Iran as the biggest state sponsor of terror for decades, and even though evidence has been piling up that Iran is working to acquire weapons, President George W. Bush did nothing to encourage military strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities during his eight years in office, even after the attacks on 9/11.  President Barack Obama is not likely to deviate from this course.

Israel has been undermining Iran’s progress via indirect channels, including deploying the sophisticated Stuxnet worm, which sabotaged Iran’s uranium enrichment centrifuges and set their capabilities back a year or two; and authorizing a covert assassination program to take out top Iranian nuclear scientists.  These strategies have been helpful, but they only buy so much time.  They are not enough to prevent Iran from succeeding at its ultimate goal.  Economic sanctions are also not enough to halt Iran’s work.

The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is about to release its most detailed report yet documenting Iran’s secret nuclear weapon development at a site near Tehran called Parchin, its uranium enrichment at a facility in Natanz, and its installation of centrifuges at Qom.  All of this activity has been going on, despite Iran’s lies that its technology will be used only to generate electricity.

The IAEA’s report includes evidence that Iran is in the final stages of assembling and deploying nuclear weapons, including developing an atomic bomb trigger device, altering long-range missile warheads to fit nuclear payloads, setting off test explosions, and running computer simulations of nuclear explosions.  All of these experiments are, of course, just essential for the benign task of keeping Tehran’s hairdryers operating.

The IAEA’s unequivocal evidence incorporates satellite photographs and detailed plans obtained by U.S. spy services revealing technological expertise offered by nuclear states hostile to the U.S., including Russia, Pakistan, and North Korea.  Iran has repeatedly denied UN requests to inspect Parchin to verify Iran’s putatively peaceful intentions and to interview Iran’s top nuclear scientists.

Despite the impending release of the IAEA’s report, the otherwise useless and softheaded agency is not expected to condemn Iran for its activities or directly accuse Iran of developing nuclear weapons.  China and Russia, as permanent members of the UN’s Security Council, are likely to oppose new sanctions against Iran, never mind military strikes.

Recently Israel has been hinting at its intention to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.  Any sane person who doesn’t want the craziest, most dangerous regime on the planet to have the most powerful, destructive weapons in the world in its arsenal should be cheering Israel’s attempt to prevent this Armageddon from arriving.  Instead, most of the free nations of the world—to say nothing of its dictatorships, quasi-dictatorships, and communist states who loathe Israel and the U.S.—will likely scream hysterically if Israel launches so much as a spitball into Iran.

Liberals at home and abroad will cry that Iran is another Iraq, that Iran’s nuclear program is as apocryphal as Saddam Hussein’s stockpiles of WMDs.  Regardless of the fact that there were legitimate reasons to go to war with Iraq besides weapons of mass destruction, the evidence of weapons development is much stronger for Iran than it was for Iraq.  In addition, Iraq is a small fry compared to Iran, which has been channeling millions of dollars to terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Gaza for decades.

Obama is not likely to do anything to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.  Certain Republican presidential candidates—i.e. Ron Paul—seem positively giddy over the possibility of Iran acquiring the means of defending itself against big, bad bullies like Israel.  The U.S. must elect a candidate in 2012 who understands the threat Iran poses and is willing to say so repeatedly, unprompted, in interviews and debates.

In the meantime, Israel remains the U.S.’s front line in the war on terror.  This means that Israel may fight some of our common enemies before these foes advance to our terrain—and that if we support Israel, we may spare ourselves American casualties.

But the longer this charade goes on of pretending Iran means what it says when it’s convenient—that they seek only peaceful uses for nuclear power—and doesn’t mean what it says when it’s inconvenient—that it doesn’t really want to destroy Israel—the more difficult it will be to destroy its nuclear facilities, and the more collateral damage will be racked up when the task is finally accomplished.  Iran’s position strengthens the longer we wait.  Iran’s mullahs are hoping to run out the clock.

The U.S., if it doesn’t have the will to take out Iran’s nuclear facilities, should at least provide any help it can—military, monetary, and moral—to Israel in its attempt to do so.  This is an existential crisis that affects Israel’s ability to remain a viable state in the short-term—and the U.S.’s ability to remain a credible world power in the long-term.

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A Conservative Who Can Talk

September 28, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Elections: 2012


FiveThirtyEight whiz Nate Silver recently asked whether Chris Christie is the anti-Romney or the anti-Perry.

The answer is yes.

Christie is the anti-Romney, because he genuinely and unapologetically embraces and enacts conservative policies, at least on fiscal matters—in particular entitlement reform, the most important policy realm our nation currently faces.

Critics charge that he’s not consistently conservative on issues such as global warming and gun control.  Yet Rick Perry critics complain that he’s not consistently conservative on issues such as immigration and the HPV vaccine, and most people wouldn’t call Perry a liberal.

Christie is the anti-Perry, because he knows how to identify, articulate, and justify his positions, using fiery, uncompromising rhetoric that doesn’t sound rehearsed, and isn’t afraid to say things that tick off hallowed interest groups.

Critics charge that he’s arrogant, has a temper, and insults people.  Yet his style has proven wildly popular with voters who are fed up with politicians who can’t or won’t stand up to bullying public employee unions that are bankrupting the nation’s most populous states.

If Mitt Romney held more consistently conservative positions on the major issues of the day, he’d be able to articulate them to voters.  But he doesn’t.

If Rick Perry were more articulate and had a better understanding of the issues, his positions would be conservative enough for most Republicans.  But he isn’t.

The other candidates still in the running all have their weaknesses, with most embodying one of the fatal flaws represented by frontrunners Romney and Perry.

Ron Paul is blisteringly conservative on economic issues but crazily isolationist on foreign policy, to the extent that he thinks Iran should be allowed to build nuclear weapons to defend themselves against the U.S., and to the degree that he approvingly quotes Osama bin Laden’s reasons for attacking us on 9/11.  Newt Gingrich led the Republican Revolution of 1995 and enacted welfare reform, but is prone to making insane statements such as claiming that repealing ObamaCare involves as much abridgment of people’s liberty as enacting it.

Michele Bachmann is a solid conservative, but is prone to gaffes and sloppy slips of the tongue such as her mindboggling insinuation that the HPV vaccine causes mental retardation.  Herman Cain is a successful former businessman with sensible ideas about the economy but a stunning, blissful ignorance about foreign policy.

Michael Barone correctly notes that just about the only remaining feasible Republican presidential candidates who both are conservative enough and know how to speak without sounding like idiots are Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan, and Chris Christie.  Daniels is concerned about his family’s privacy and has decided not to run; Ryan is young, early on in his career, and clearly has no intention of running in 2012.

That leaves Christie, who has certainly denied numerous times that he is running, but whose supporters and staffers seem to be leaking rumors that he may change his mind.  Christie has spent the past few months jetting around the country speaking at high-profile Republican fundraisers, giving speeches at prominent venues such as the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, and meeting with potential donors.

Elsewhere I have written at length about why we should encourage Christie in particular to run, including the fact that Republican candidates for governor did well in 2010 in part by emulating his substance and style; that he knows how to take the fight to his opponents; that his popularity among Republican voters is underreported; and that his electability among independents and Democrats is underappreciated.

Christie’s not perfect.  But where is the glaring RomneyCare albatross–whose defense Romney cheekily deleted from the paperback version of his book No Apology—in Christie’s past that will come back to haunt him in the general election, when voters are focused perhaps foremost on repealing ObamaCare?

Christie’s not perfect.  But where are the embarrassing misstatements—like Perry’s lame, botched attack on Romney’s flip-flopping in last week’s debate in Orlando—that lead us to fear Christie will flounder in debates with the supposedly golden-voiced Obama?

Contrast Christie, if you will, with the Republicans’ 2008 nominee, John McCain, who combined the worst aspects of Romney and Perry: liberal policies and inarticulateness.  Republicans should never again have to suffer the ignominy of a nominee who differs only a little bit from the Democratic candidate—or who can’t convincingly explain why he’s to the right of Barack Obama.

The conservative establishment prefers Romney to Perry because they believe him to be more electable.  Some commentators, such as columnist Sandy Rios, believe Republicans will break for Perry over Romney because people “prefer an honest hesitator over a slickster with all the answers.”

But why should Republicans have to choose between a conservative and someone who can talk?

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Presidential Debate Cliffs Notes: So You Don’t Have To Watch

June 15, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Elections: 2012


Image by Getty Images via @daylife

John King: Welcome to our 2012 Republican primary debate.  On stage are all the candidates who felt like showing up tonight.  Let’s skip the boring opening statements and have candidates introduce themselves.

Rick Santorum: I’m a former senator who nonetheless has experience making tough executive governing managerial ruling leadership decisions.

Michele Bachmann: I’m a businesswoman with 5 children and 23 foster children.

Newt Gingrich: Obama sucks.

Mitt Romney: I lost in 2008, but that won’t happen again, because Republicans are the party of “it’s his turn.”

Ron Paul: I am a senator who used to deliver babies and now champions liberty and libertarianism.

Tim Pawlenty: I’m a husband, father, neighbor, and lover.  Of America.

Herman Cain: I am not a politician and have no political experience.  I know pizza.

King: What would you do to create jobs?

Cain: Uncertainty is stalling this train that is our economy.  We need to lower taxes, which is like greasing the caboose, and then decrease interest rates, which is like putting the fuel in the tank of the train that is our economy.

King: Is it possible for the economy to grow at 5% a year?

Pawlenty: Our president is an anemic declinist who thinks we can’t have 5% growth like China or Brazil.

King: What are your views on Dodd-Frank?

Bachmann: I’m looking forward to answering that question.  But first… Guess what: I’m running for president!

King: What three steps would you take to repeal ObamaCare?

Bachmann: I introduced the first bill to kill ObamaCare and will not rest until it is dead and buried.  Take that to the bank and cash the check.

King: Governor Romney, how will you ever be elected, given that you passed ObamaCare in Massachusetts?

Romney: That’s not fair.  Massachusetts’ plan was different, because it abridged people’s liberties and introduced massive regulations on the state level, not the federal level.

Pawlenty: Obama said he looked to Massachusetts as a model for his plan.  [Nelson Muntz laugh and finger-pointing at Romney]  Ha-ha!

King: Speaker, should there be an individual mandate, as you have passionately argued hundreds of times in the past before it became unpopular?

Gingrich: In addition to the presidency, we also need more Senate seats.

Audience member: Do you support right-to-work laws?

Pawlenty: Yes, even though I and most of my family have been in unions most of our lives.

Gingrich: I hope New Hampshire adopts it.  Why would you want to be stupid like California when you could be smart like Texas?

King: Every time we go to or come back from a break, I’m going to ask a pointless random personal question.  Leno or Conan?

Santorum: Leno.  Conan is too edgy.

King: And we’re back.  Elvis or Johnny Cash?

Bachmann: Both.  I love “Christmas with Elvis.”

Audience member: What assistance should government give to private industry?

Paul: None, duh.

King: Stop applauding, audience.  We know you’re Republicans and love their answers, but you’re taking up too much time.  Mr. Cain, why did you support TARP?

Cain: I actually supported TARP before I opposed it.

King: “Dancing with the Stars” or “American Idol”?

Gingrich: “American Idol.”

King: BlackBerry or iPhone?

Paul: BlackBerry.

Audience member: How will you keep Medicare solvent forever?

Paul: It is not solvent, will never be solvent, and was never designed to be solvent.  That’s why we need to cut our military.

Pawlenty: I have a plan that’s better than Paul Ryan’s.  I’m not going to show it to you.

King: Speaker, why did you call Ryan’s plan “social engineering”?

Gingrich: I put my foot in my mouth.  But the question was too narrow and the answer was taken out of context.

Audience member: How do you feel about separation of church and state?

Pawlenty: It was designed to protect religious people from atheists.

Paul: Congress should make no law abridging the right to express your faith, especially if it’s Christian.

King: Deep dish or thin crust?

Cain: Deep dish.

King: Spicy or mild barbecue?

Romney: Spicy, of course.

Audience member: Gay marriage is legal in New Hampshire.  Would you interfere with states’ rights on the issue?

Bachmann: Marriage should be between a man and a woman, because children need a mother and a father.  I come from a broken home, and I was raised by a single mother, and I turned out great.

King: Should Congress pass a federal marriage amendment, or should states deal with it?

Cain: States.

Paul: Get government out of marriage.

Pawlenty: Amendment.

Romney: Amendment.

Gingrich: Amendment.

Santorum: Amendment.

Bachmann: Oh, are all the real candidates in favor of an amendment?  Well, let me jump in and say that I am too, but let me also remind you that I don’t favor trampling on states’ rights, even though I’m totally contradicting myself.

Audience member: What are your views on immigration?

Gingrich: We are not a heartless nation.  We can kick 20 million people out of the country without being cruel.

King: Coke or Pepsi?

Pawlenty: Coke.

Audience member: Should we get out of Afghanistan?

Romney: We should bring the troops home quickly, assuming the Afghan military can defend the country against the Taliban, which it obviously can’t.

Paul: I would get us out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Pakistan, because we have no national security interests there, or anywhere else in the world.

Pawlenty: That’s crazy.  I favor defending the nation against outside threats.  Hello, it’s called “Commander in Chief”?

Cain: To paraphrase my grandmother, Libya is a mess.

King: Who made the worse vice presidential pick in 2008—Obama or McCain?

Pawlenty: Biden is a horse’s ass.

Romney: I have bad blood with Palin, so I’m going to avoid the question and just reiterate that Obama sucks.

King: What have you learned in the past two hours?

Santorum: Nothing.  If I’m delusional enough to think I have a chance of winning, do you think I’m capable of absorbing new information about the candidates or my prospects?

Bachmann: I’ve learned about the goodness of the American people.

Romney: New Hampshire loves the future.

Cain: It’s all about the children and the grandchildren.

King: Good night.  God, I feel old.

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