I watched the second debate between the Republican presidential hopefuls. What most shocked and amazed me? Other than Ron Paul, no one seemed to distance themselves from Bush's approach to Iraq. McCain called it mismanaged, but he's as eager to stay as anyone.
The problem? The Republicans have wed themselves to this war. Ron Paul points out that this isn't necessary: the Republicans were brought into power to get us out of the Vietnam War. True conservatives are more skeptical of the power of the state to create a society - whether it be LBJ's Great Society here or GWB's Light in the Arab World over there. Yet nearly all of the Republican candidates have decided to stand behind Bush even as voters are abandoning him in record numbers. They all pledge allegiance to Reagan but show no distinction from Bush. With Bush's approval ratings run below 30%, it is hard to imagine that this strategy will win.
There are three possible explanations for this. One, the Republicans are banking on Americans being more biased against women and minorities than people in Muslim countries (who have elected women presidents and prime ministers). Two, Karl Rove has pictures of these guys. Three, the Republican candidates are savvy enough to realize that cleaning up after Bush is quite possibly going to lead to the most thankless presidency in the history of country and they are doing everything they can to avoid winning.
On a lighter note, the truly interesting debate would be between Republican Ron Paul and Democrat Dennis Kucinich.