George Graham

The Real News from that Depressing “Debate”

You’ll hear that the headline from last night’s debate featuring eight of the current crop of Republican presidential candidates was Texas Governor Rick Perry’s blustering reiteration of his “Ponzi scheme” attack on Social Security. And you’ll also get various pundits’ views on who “won” the debate.

But Perry’s Ponzi nonsense wasn’t new (it’s in his book), and no one won the debate – if that’s what it was.

Click here if you missed it.

Bickering and one-upping aside, the presidential wannabes were remarkably unanimous.

First, they would all repeal “Obamacare” on “Day One” of their presidency. According to Michele Bachmann, it’s “Obamacare” – not George W. Bush – that plunged America into the worst recession since the Great Depression.

They all opposed taxing corporations and the rich; the question was which candidate opposed it most. And they all seem to hate any and all social programs – even Mitt Romney, despite his claim that he wants to “save” Social Security.

Right. As he has made abundantly clear, Romney’s idea of saving Social Security is to give your money to Wall Street in hopes you get some of it back when you get old. But Romney says a lot of things and you can’t take any of it to the bank. He’s the world’s champion flip-flopper.

They all seemed eager to put convicted murderers to death, and the crowd was with them on that. The biggest cheers of the night greeted Rick Perry’s defense of his death penalty record – which is No. 1 in America. He asserted that he hasn’t lost a night’s sleep wondering whether any of the hundreds of people he executed might have been innocent.

And when it comes to trashing the environment, they climbed all over each other in their eagerness to be the most pollution friendly candidate in the room. Everybody except Jon Huntsman pooh-poohed the idea that we humans are contributing to climate change by fouling the air. And Perry said even if we are, he’s all for trashing the environment for the rest of the world as long as it boosts the American economy.

Somehow, they figure pollution brings jobs.

That’s their jobs plan.

Let the Koch brothers trash the earth at will, and let’s drill baby, drill.

And, of course, get rid of taxes – except on the poor and middle class; they don’t pay nearly enough now.

There was disagreement on a few topic s- American adventurism abroad, for one. Ron Paul wants to bring the troops home – the whole kit and kaboodle, from military bases everywhere. But they all agreed that President Obama is wrong, whatever he does. Bachmann doesn’t think the president had any business intervening in Libya, and Rick Santorum thinks the president was chicken not to get involved sooner.

I got the idea that John Huntsman favors troop withdrawals in Afghanistan and Iraq, but it’s hard to tell with that guy. He seems pretty easy going about everything. What he really wants to do as president is give a speech in China – in Chinese, since he speaks the language. Romney, on the other hand, wants to tell China (in plain English) to quit devaluing their currency. China has heard that one before, of course, but maybe, if a rich guy like Romney tells them what’s what, they’ll listen. And then again, maybe not.

What I heard last night was basically a rejection of decency, enlightenment and compassion – and common sense.

Who on earth would vote for any of those candidates?

But, hey, if people can actually cheer for capital punishment, who knows how they’ll vote?

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for