If you’re a Republican who follows the inner happenings of our party, then former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s somewhat new immigration stance with regards to illegal aliens may have been the highlight of the GOP national security debate.
At times, he almost he appeared presidential. He respected his colleagues and continued to, wisely, treat Ron Paul with a certain deference in an effort, I think, to reach out to part of Paul’s support base, mainly the libertarian wing of the GOP.
Yleem and I did not attend the Washington, DC based debate turned social scene with DC’s conservative literati. We watched from the comfort of our television room in Arlington. We are glad that we did. This was anything but a national security debate.
The highlight? Former Vice President Dick Cheney legal counsel and chief of staff David Addington asking the first well thought out national security question of the evening. Addington should have moderated the debate. The answers, however, left more to the imagination and viewers wanting more. Sarah Palin could have done a better job elevating the discussion yesterday. There was no vision thing. Nada.
As with most GOP and Democratic presidential debates these days, they seem mostly contrived, lacking depth. The moderators enjoy listening to themselves talk. Candidate answers mostly canned or, as yesterday, recycled talking points from the GOP foreign policy establishment (i.e., people angling for foreign policy and national security jobs, many in the audience at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitutional Hall).
The next debate should be on national security and foreign policy because this one, while there were some high points, was not. Subjects we need to hear more about include, but are not limited to: missile defense; China and Asia affairs; Iran (beyond the headline issues and hypotheticals discussed yesterday); AQAB, AQIM, AQI, among others; cyber threats (hat tip to Herman Cain for the mention); Russia and regional affairs; United Nations reform; the remaking of the Middle East; trade security; the reorganization of the intelligence community, did it work?; among many others.
Bar some “unknown unknown” in the global stage, and with the economy the way it is, national security and foreign policy are not going to be a major issues of concern for a majority of voters this coming cycle. But golly, if we’re going to host a debate on the subject they should go full steam ahead. This session left some of us wanting more, a lot more, from the field.
Can we bring back Vice President Cheney?