The Czar was interested to learn that tonight was the GOPs sixteenth presidential debate. Yikes.
Anyhow, the five remaining candidates generally did well. Santorum, Gingrich, and Perry were strong, forceful, and explicit in their views. Romney seemed a little faltering tonightat times excellent, but sometimes doddering and even a bit annoying. Paul was by and large a disaster, who suffered his longest boo of his career over his laissez faire views on terrorism.
However, for the Czar, the biggest item was the long-awaited discussion of the Second Amendment. No prior debate has substantively touched on this. Both Perry and Gingrich were excluded from the discussion, curiously: obviously, every American knows Perrys views (and Romney made a respectful and well-timed joke along those lines), but the Czar would have been interested to hear Newt Gingrich express his views.
The one the Czar was most interested in was Mitt Romney, who has a record as Massachusetts governor of defiling the Second Amendment. To our amazement, the question from Juan Williams was almost exactly that: given your powerful and numerous executive acts toward establishing increased gun control legislation in your state, how can you claim to be a supporter of the Second Amendment?
Romneys answer was squishy, even for him. He explained that he relaxed one or two laws, but hey, dont blame him: Massachusetts doesnt evidently like guns and he was just doing his job. He then went on a strange journey down his hunting experiences at the request of Williams. He failed to answer the question because, frankly, he knew he couldnt. Mitt Romney has a sad history of anti-gun support. And, if we can be blunt, his statement that he would not add a single new gun law as president is hardly reassuring: he should have said he intended to reduce the number of gun laws, and support legislation that requires the states to obey the same principles. Fewer laws sounds better than not one more.
Rick Santorum did well on his grilling; he admitted that he supported a small number of gun control bills, but did so in complete cooperation with the NRA. The Czar thinks, though, that Santorum needs to be really, really careful when touting his partnership with the NRA, because it sounds like he is a lobbyist for them. He should instead point out his membership and support of the organization, and that he intends to enforce our rights as a gun owner himself. That said, he was very wise indeed to cite his A+ rating from the NRA as proof of his sincerity.
At Santorums prompting, the questioners turned to Ron Paul, who voted against a piece of key pro-gun legislation. The issue is this: a current Ron Paul ad attacks Santorum for supporting legislation that would prevent an individual or a class-action from suing a gun manufacturer for injuries resulting from correct functioning of a weapon. Santorum supported it because he claims (correctly) that a common tactic of gun control groups is to find a shooting victimbe it accidental, the result of a crime, or of law enforcementand literally sue the manufacturer into bankruptcy. Chicagos Mayor Daley openly supported such an action, and one famous gun manufacturer (Colt) has stopped production of civilian weapons because of this tactic. You cannot stop the endless parade of lawsuitsunless of course legislation prevents you from doing so.
Paul counters that he voted against this bill because this should be a state issue. Santorum, in his response, said this was nonsense: you need a federal law to prevent people in one state suing the manufacturer in another state. The states cannot be otherwise forced to adopt universal legislation: it doesnt work that way.
Santorum is right; Paul is either misinformed, lying, or totally ignorant on this. Paul also doubted that such a tactic would work, but of course, we have evidence it does already. In this discussion, Paul looked like a total fool and he knew it.
And so Ron Paul decided to yank in an applause line. Heck, he said, he is the guy who wants to repeal all gun laws across the land! Thunderous applause, except he should have received laughter. The President cannot do that.
First, legislation needs to be written up by Congress to eliminate only federal gun laws; this is unlikely. Then, of course, President Ron Paul has to sign the bill into law. This will accomplish nothing, because each stateand below that, most municipalitieshave their own gun laws. Some of these are good laws: in Muscovy, we have only two gun lawsyou cannot fire a weapon in a public place without prior permission from the police in a non-defense situation (to prevent someone doing target practice at a playground, for example), and you cannot fire a gun from the inside of your home to the outside (such as shooting a gun out your doorway on New Yeas) unless you are protecting a person in immediate need of defense. Both are sensible.
And both states and municipalities would immediately ratchet up the local gun laws in response, and we would totally lose control of the Second Amendment. Santorum was right when he said Ron Paul would be disastrous for the Second Amendment.
For Ron Paul to suggest he can unilaterally remove all gun laws in the land is incorrect, undesirable, and totally stupid. He knows he cannot do this, but simply went for cheap applause. He is, as his entire candidacy has been, an ill-timed joke at reasonable peoples expense.
And Pauls wise-ass comments made Rick Santorum look like the most pro-gun candidate everwith an astonished and silent Rick Perry looking on from five feet away. Hell, Perry was probably packing right there in the debate.
The heat is on. And it will be interesting to see tomorrows primary polling numbers to see how tonights debate affected the standings. The Czar expects Romney will take it, but not with the numbers he had before tonight.