The Politico/MSNBC/Chris Matthews lightweight GOP "debate"

The Politico and MSNBC are holding a GOP debate tonight, moderated by super lightweight Chris Matthews; subject to other factors, a live discussion of the "debate" follows.

Summary: Tonight's debate was extremely lightweight and a complete waste of time. The questions were extremely general, largely pointless, and Matthews rarely had follow-ups. A fifth grade class could have asked better questions and done a better job at getting to what the candidates really support and the flaws in their arguments. If you want to help do something about this, sign the petition.

Two puffball questions on immigration so far: asking John McCain whether he's like to see Tom Tancredo heading up the INS (an agency that hasn't existed for four years), and asking all of them whether they would change the Constitution to allow Arnold Schwarzenegger to become president.

When candidates keep answering other questions in their answers, that's a good sign you're asking dumb questions.

Bush has a "centrist" position on immigration per one of the questioners who is, quite simply, a liar. His name to follow. (Jim VandeHei?)

Stupid question asking for a letter grade on Bush's handling of Iraq. Grade schoolers could figure out how to wiggle out of that question, as Huckabee just did. Reporters who wanted a real answer would have made it more specific.

Finally, something's happening: Tom Tancredo is asking for an immigration debate free of the usual BS (he was probably looking at Matthews when he said that).

"Do you believe in evolution?" What an absolutely idiotic question to ask.

Apparently Giuliani was told to be prepared for the "what's the difference between a Shia and a Sunni? question. He flubbed it, but not that bad.

Now Giuliani is promoting a national ID card and a database, which, as I discussed earlier would end up being for everyone, not just "guest" workers. And, Romney is joining the promoting, as is McCain. At least Brownback is opposing it.

Later - after Ron Paul gave an eloquent opposition - Giuliani and Romney clarified that the ID would just be for "foreigners". Chris Matthews sounded relieved. In fact, I already knew that was their position, but obviously Matthews did not. Then, he acted suprised and dropped that line of questioning.

A real reporter would have instead asked a follow-up, like this: "Due to racial profiling concerns - and probable ACLU lawsuits - wouldn't the ID card eventually be required for everyone in the U.S.? Won't some recent naturalized citizens with accents - who don't have theforeigner-only ID card - be refused work because they're unable to present their foreigner-only ID card, and won't that lead to suits, and won't that lead to the ID card being for everyone?"

That's certainly a complex question, but it would have revealed that Giuliani and Romney have not thought this whole thing through.

I note also that none of the several tough immigration questions I submitted were asked and, in fact, none of the second round questions concerned immigration matters. Yet, that's where almost all of the candidates are weakest, and discussing that topic would have revealed that Giuliani, McCain, Brownback, Huckabee, and most likely Romney are not qualified to be president. Instead, all we got was fluff.

Politico and MSNBC should be ashamed of being involved in such a disgrace.


I'm going with Ron Paul. The rest of them are mostly politicos.