GOLER: Senator McCain, the president's push for immigration reform failed mainly because of disagreements over your plan for dealing with the 12 million people now here illegally. You say you've learned your lesson, you'd secure the borders first. OK. Then how would you deal with the illegals?
MCCAIN: ...we will reward no one. They will have to get to the end of the line, pay a fine, learn English, and we will secure the borders first. And I know how to do that.
GOLER: Thank you, Senator. Brock...
Quick note here: I'm in the Hillary/Rudy camp on using my first name as my campaign name. It helps me rap with the kids.
GOLER: Brock, you were quoted recently by the AP saying that Governor Huckabee slathers oil on squirrels and roasts them over a popcorn popper. Would you like to clarify that statement?
BROCK: I was speaking metaphorically, of course. It was a bad joke and I retracted it on the spot.
But, I'd like to return to a point made by Senator McCain a few minutes ago.
I'm shocked that such a staunch defender of the First Amendment to the US Constitution would now feel it necessary to define what language he considers appropriate.
I suppose at this point we ought to caution those who may find themselves in front of Senator McCain not to use any big words that he many not understand. He's liable to have you incarcerated for it. Although I'm sure he'd at least tase you for using a Latin phrase, he'll probably let you slide with a stiff fine for a simple grammatical error.
You see, I've found that people respond much better to economic incentives than they do to government force. For example, if someone felt that they would personally profit from learning English, then they will learn English. By the same token, if someone felt they could profit from learning some Spanish or Japanese, I'm sure they'll take a class, listen to the tapes, or, in the case of a business, offer services in the language their customers choose to use.
But, when you point a gun at someone, the learning curve gets awfully steep. They tend to shut down their learning or even resist you.
I understand that Senator McCain can't imagine free, sovereign individuals making their own decisions without his permission, but, since the free market has automatic mechanisms to facilitate communication, the use of government force is not just inappropriate, it's downright sadistic.
GIULIANI: (derisive laughter)
Part II: The Health of the State
CAMERON: Governor Romney, as part of your universal health insurance plan in Massachusetts, you say it was necessary to include coverage for abortion services. Would you make that same decision if Congress were to suggest that mandatory abortion services would be part of a national health insurance program?
ROMNEY: Carl, the decision to include abortion services in health care in Massachusetts was required by the court, not by the legislature, and certainly not by me as governor.
My term as governor was decidedly pro-life. On every decision I could make as governor, I came down on the side of life. And that's why the Massachusetts Right to Life Association awarded me their leader-ship award after my term as governor.
CAMERON: Brock, a lot of your supporters think Harvey Firestein hired roller-skating ninjas to demolish his guest bungalow. Are you prepared to back up those allegations?
BROCK: No. But let me go back to the question that Governor Romney didn't answer.
The issue is not whether everyone can or does afford health insurance, the issue is whether everyone has affordable access to health care. If something is impeding Americans' access to health care, we should take immediate steps to remove that impediment.
Even a cursory glance at health care reveals that the impediment IS government. Given that, we can certainly come up with a better solution than the government FORCING everyone to purchase Mitt-approved health insurance.
For example, we could lower the tax burden on individuals so they could afford health care or health insurance as they saw fit.
Or, we could lower the tax burden on businesses so they could afford to offer health coverage as an employee incentive.
Or, we could buck Big Pharma once in a while. We could encourage people who sell health food and vitamins rather than harassing them. We could stop the protectionist embargo on imported pharmaceuticals. We could slash the bureaucracy at the FDA so that new drugs can be approved in our lifetimes and sick people can access potentially life-saving medicine that doesn't quite have the official blessing of 10 million bureaucrats.
You know what? Considering that no one has to be threatened with confiscation of their lives or property for any of those options, we could do them all! What's stopping us?
THOMPSON: Hmmm...let me get this straight. We get out of people's way and they'll just "go to the doctor" all on their own, is that right? OK. I just wanted to make sure I understood you.
Part III: Inflated Expectations
WALLACE: Senator Thompson, I'd like to get your opinion, also, on whether or not we're in a recession or headed for one. And, as well, you have proposed a big tax plan, but much of it, including, for in-stance, extending the Bush tax cut, wouldn't help in the short run.
Do you support a short-run government stimulus package or should we just leave the economy alone?
THOMPSON: Credit is scarce. It's affected the consumer credit market in general. If you're talking about automobile loans or you're talking about credit card thieves or anything like that, the money is getting tighter and tighter.
We still have a bunch of two-handed economists in Washington. On the one hand, we may go into re-cession, and, on the other hand, we may not. Nobody knows. But I think that as we proceed, we need to count on the fed doing the right thing in terms of the interest rates and we need to look seriously at whether or not we should do things such as speed up depreciation schedules for businesses, those that create jobs, have a deduction for capital expenses instead of having to capitalize them, things of that nature.
WALLACE: Brock, how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie-roll pop?
GIULIANI: (derisive laughter)
BROCK: Three. But, I'd like to go back to Senator Thomspon's economic analysis.
Credit is anything but scarce. We are drowning in credit, both credit-worthy individuals and shady organizations like the federal government. What is scarce is new credit; everything is all loaned out and all the poor loans that have been made in this decade are defaulting.
Now, the Fed Chief has promised to inject new money this month, just like he did last month. In doing so, he has provided warnings that if businesses raise their prices his cunning plan to ameliorate - oh, sorry, Senator McCain - ease the cash-crunch will be defeated. In other words, he blames producers and consumers for price inflation, not the Reserve Bank for inflating the monetary base.
The Fed Chief who made those statements was the Zimbabwe Reserve Governor Gideon Gono, currently presiding over an unofficially-estimated inflation rate of 150,000%. What's interesting to note is that the methodology and rhetoric used by Gono is EXACTLY the same as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
It's easy to dismiss the economic situation in Zimbabwe as a different situation than we face in the US. But, it's important to understand that just a few, short years ago, Zimbabwe was a wealthy nation with a vibrant economy. They came to their current situation following the exact prescription that Bernanke has given us.
I can accept that, as an actor, Fred has no time for economics - he finds the subject boring. But, throughout the history of governments, blind faith in the Central Bank has always led to economic ruin. It's not a matter of placing the right person at the helm of the Fed and trusting their judgment. The truth is, there is no right "man for the job" because central economic planning DOES NOT WORK.
(Horrified gasps from audience)
Part IV: Taking the Wind From Their Sails
HUME: Governor Huckabee, did the American commander in the Strait of Hormuz the other day make the right decision by responding passively when approached aggressively by Iranian fast boats believed to be from the Revolutionary Guards? He also received, as you know, a warning that said that the American ships might be about to blow up.
Did he make the correct call, sir?
HUCKABEE: I support them having that capacity. That's what we train them for and they have lives of Americans at stake on those boats. And they ultimately have our lives at stake if they take the wrong decision and give the Iranians or anybody the idea that America is a nation that you can kick sand in our eyes.
I think it's very important that we make it crystal clear that we will have the most powerful, the best trained, the best-equipped military on the face of the planet that has ever existed. And we hopefully will have one that no one wants to engage in battle, but we'll make it clear that if they do, there'll be a severe price to pay for engaging us.
HUME: Brock, a related question, what would you do if the main sheet came loose on a tack into the wind?
BROCK: I'd throw a sheet bend on the spinnaker and lash it to the mizzen mast. But, I'd like to go back to Pastor Huckabee's answer.
As a military economist and troop commander, I know that the military maintains a reserve account filled with experience, skills, and equipment. We draw on this account in wartime and replenish it in peacetime.
In the early '90s, we HAD the most powerful, the best trained, and the best-equipped military the world had ever seen. Throughout the '90s, I watched as Bill Clinton taught the bureaucrats in Washington that they didn't need to bother getting out from behind their desks. They could just shine their seats because Clinton had this military that he could wield as a club around the world as he saw fit, constantly drawing from that reserve account.
At the end of the '90s, my concern was that, if the military were to find itself in a protracted engagement, that reserve account would be insufficient to maintain the fight. Well, guess what? It's 2008, we've been in a protracted engagement, and that reserve account is so depleted, our forces are spread so thin, that if US soil were to be attacked by a militarized nation - you know, one with an actual army, navy, and air force - we would be hard pressed to defend ourselves. Certainly, we could not defend ourselves without redeploying troops and assets from overseas.
Am I concerned about US prominence and terrorism? Of course I am. But, I also know that there isn't a damn thing the US military can do about terrorism. That's a police function - investigation, intervention, prosecution - those are all surgical operations. The military is not a surgical instrument, it's a blunt tool, a kinetic weapon.
If we, as a nation, feel that national defense is a proper role of government, we must, as a national priority, begin the immediate disengagement and redeployment of personnel and assets from throughout the world to US soil for retraining and reequipping. Since, through the last two rounds of BRAC, the commission and the do-nothing congress has lacked the intestinal fortitude to actually close and realign in any meaningful fashion, we have the domestic capacity to house the returning families and assets. The boon to the local economies surrounding our domestic bases will be immeasurable.
If, however, we continue along the same path of continual world war and leaving our states without the protection of their guard troops and aircraft, we are doomed to the fate of all empires throughout history. God help us all.
Part V: Elections Require, You Know, Voters
CAMERON: Congressman Paul, yet another question about electability.
Do you have any, sir? There's always the question as to whether or not...
... you are, in fact, viable. Your differences with the Republicans on the -- with the rest of the Republicans on this stage has raised questions about whether or not you can actually win the Republican nomination, sir.
BROCK: Carl, can I jump in here?
CAMERON: Go ahead, quickly.
BROCK: Despite the asinine questions this panel has directed to Congressman Paul and me, in reviewing my notes I've noticed that you have failed to ask ex-Mayor Giuliani any substantive questions and he, in turn, has not provided any substantive answers. It's hardly fair to the ex-mayor to exclude him from the debate in this fashion. I'm sure he's got something of importance to convey, don't you Rudy?
PAUL: Well, we've only had two little primaries so far. So it's pretty premature to decide which one is going to be the candidate.
But, you know, when you think about it, if you measured everything I've ever said, every vote I've ever taken against the Constitution, you know, I'm a strict constitutionalist.
Are you suggesting the Republicans should write me off because I'm a strict constitutionalist? I'm the most conservative member here. I have voted, you know, against more spending and waste in government than anybody else.
So you're suggesting that I'm not electable and the Republicans don't want me because I'm a strict fiscal conservative, because I believe in civil liberties? Why should we not be defending civil liberties and why should we not be talking about foreign policy that used to be the part of the Republican Party?
PAUL: Mr. Republican Robert Taft didn't even want us to be in NATO and you're saying now that we have to continue to borrow money from China to finance this empire that we can't afford?
Let me see if I get this right. We need to borrow $10 billion from China, and then we give it to Musharraf, who is a military dictator, who overthrew an elected government. And then we go to war, we lose all these lives promoting democracy in Iraq. I mean, what's going on here?
And you're saying that this isn't appealing to Republicans? Where did this come about? I think this is the Republican message. I defend the platform. It used to say we'd get rid of the Department of Education. It doesn't say that now.
We, as Republicans, went and doubled the size of the Department of Education, so where have we gone? I think we've lost our way. And then the insinuation that I am less Republican because of that?
HUME: Thank you, sir.
That is it for us tonight. Our thanks to the candidates and their staffs, to our debate partner, the Republican Party of South Carolina. And also to the good folks here in Myrtle Beach.