Tuesday's CNN debate was supposed to focus on national security. However, with such luminaries in the room as Paul Wolfowitz, Frederick Kagan and Ed Meese it seemed more like a Bush administration reunion. After this debate, there can be no doubt that the Republican Party status quo is pushing for a repeat of its last performance, complete with multiple wars and a new and improved Patriot Act.
The debate was sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. An article at The Daily Caller points out that both Romney and Gingrich have strong ties to these organizations, with Gingrigh having served as a former senior fellow with AEI. The Heritage Foundation came to prominence during the Reagan Administration and supported both Bush presidencies in Desert Storm and the Iraqi War. They were also instrumental in developing Gingrich's "Contract With America" during the Clinton era. AEI's founding membership sounds like a roll-call for the 1% with such notables as Eli Lilly, Bristol Myers, General Mills, Chemical Bank, and Paine Webber according to Wikipedia.
What is more disturbing, however, is the connection to the Project For A New American Century or PNAC. Arguably, no one is more responsible for the Iraqi war than PNAC. With such members as Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, and Richard Perle leading the organization, they pushed for the ousting of Sadaam Hussein. The litany of fearmongering, accusing, posturing and flat out paranoia repeated by Santorum, Bachmann, Cain, Gingrich, Perry, Romney and sometimes Huntsman, came right out of the PNAC playbook. Romney even alluded to an "American Century" in his speech.
If there is a characterization of the Republican Party as pro-corporate, pro-military industrial complex, pro-fascism, these two organizations mirror that image. Ron Paul looked like a dove at a hawk convention against the likes of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. In stark contrast were Newt's allegations that if America had tougher laws Timothy McVeigh may have been stopped against Ron Paul's assertion that if that were true we would sacrifice Liberty and be living in a Police State. Santorum and Cain both suggested that "profiling" potential terrorist suspects was completely acceptable with no thought as to future implications on American civil rights. The last line of the debate, which was supposed to reflect each candidate's secret fear, sounded like drug induced paranoia with each presidential hopeful naming a different threat. As usual, Ron Paul remained the sole voice of reason in stating he feared "over reaction" against perceived threat.
Lest we forget, it was during the Bush administration that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were placed into conservatorship and the bank bailouts were begun. Haliburton received large, no-bid contracts after the Iraq war along with other corporations and private contractors. Trillions of dollars have been spent on a war against a country that had no ties to 9/11 and no alleged weapons of mass destruction. America's borders remain "insecure" as Cain pointed out, while we spend countless dollars and lives propping up third world countries.
Tuesday's debate revealed a political party that is completely out of touch with the 99%. Pushing its own agenda and lining its own pockets, this party uses fear, intimidation and ignorance to set the stage. One of the most candid moments during the debate was when Ron Paul honestly declared, "they are not cutting anything out of anything, all this talk is just talk". At that precise moment, Dr. Paul was channeling the frustrated voice of each and every American citizen.
Perhaps the real tragedy of this debate is the complicity of the American news media in this whole affair. The fact that CNN can host a "debate" sponsored by two organizations with direct ties to several of the candidates on stage reveals a blatant disregard for Truth. Of course, Ron Paul is no stranger to media bias and it is remarkable that he has the courage to persevere through such overwhelming opposition. If there were ever a candidate worthy of the title, "Commander In Chief" it is Ron Paul.