The Republican debate: random notes

McCain stands up against torture; Giuliani stands up for regularizing illegal immigrants, on national-security grounds; Paul sounds exceptionally silly even for a libertarian. Other than that, it’s ninety minutes of base-pandering (or base pandering, as you choose).

1. Mitt Romney wants to double the size of Guantanamo and endorses “not torture but enhanced interrogation techniques.” Giuliani says, “I would tell the people who had to do the interrogation to use every method they could think of. It shouldn’t be torture, but every method they can think of.”

2. John McCain, who said after the 2000 South Carolina primary that it had been cowardly for him to duck the Confederate Flag issue, ducks it again.

3. Giuliani flips the nativists the bird:

We’ve got to be sensible about immigration. If we do the kinds of things that some of the people here are talking about, this country’s going to be in greater danger; it is going to be more insecure; we’re going to face a situation in which terrorists like the Fort Dix people, three of whom were illegal, can find a big underground to hide in.

So we need a fence. We need a technological fence; we need a tamper-proof ID card. And we need a way that people who are working in this country can come forward, sign up for the tamper-proof ID card, get in the database and start paying their way.

4. The Fox News crew doesn’t ask any of the candidates about the U.S. Attorney scandal or the Congressional corruption scandal.

Transcript here.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: