Debating Republicans

The Republican candidates for president held a debate at 8 a.m. Sunday — the theory being, we suppose, that people could get their politics in before church. Yonder readers are forgiven if they missed this made-for-ABC contest. We have reviewed the transcript, however, and are here now to report on what the candidates said about things particularly rural.

Okay, that’s it. The candidates were debating in Des Moines, Iowa, but there was no mention of “rural,” or “farm” or “agriculture” or “small town” or “development.” Rep. Duncan Hunter was the only candidate to talk about trade rules (an issue of great concern in farm country), and he was able to bring up that subject only in the last minute of the debate.

The candidates did manage to talk quite a bit about abortion. It was the first topic addressed by ABC’s George Stephanopoulus, and discussion of this issue consumed ten percent of the debate’s air time. There was a long back-and-forth about Iraq. And some talk about health care (including the idiotic insistence that some questions be answered “yes” or “no”).

There was a discussion about whether it might one day be appropriate to nuke Mecca, but no talk about the farm bill pending in the U.S. Senate. Rep. Tom Tancredo stood by his strategy of threatening to reduce the holy city to dust; former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson said that sounded like a bad idea. Nobody mentioned drug dependence in Appalachia, rebuilding the Gulf Coast or jobs in the northwestern timber country. There was discussion about the future of Pakistan but nothing about the years to come on the Great Plains.

Who was watching at such an early hour? Apparently, those who favored Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. The libertarian-minded anti-war Republican won overwhelming support from those who voted on

The vote after ABC debate

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