Debate Highlights From Myrtle Beach

Here are my personal favorites from tonight’s Republican debate:

Ron Paul repeatedly insisting that no one understands his positions. 

Newt Gingrich pulling a Pawlenty and not having the guts to really go after Romney to his face about his record at Bain Capital.

Rick Perry declaring that “South Carolina is at war with this federal government.” Maybe not the best imagery to invoke in a debate being held 50 miles down the road from Fort Sumter, my friend.

Newt Gingrich suggesting that Andrew Jackson is a great role model for the use of military force.

Mitt Romney seemingly having no clue that someone might ask him about his income tax returns, leading to this astonishingly weaselly reply:

You know, I looked at what has been done in campaigns in the past with Senator McCain and President George W. Bush and others. They have tended to release tax records in April or tax season. I hadn’t planned on releasing tax records because the law requires us to release all of our assets, all the things we own. That I have already released. It’s a pretty full disclosure. But, you know, if that’s been the tradition and I’m not opposed to doing that, time will tell. But I anticipate that most likely I am going to get asked to do that around the April time period and I’ll keep that open….I think I’ve heard enough from folks saying, look, let’s see your tax records. I have nothing in them that suggests there’s any problem and I’m happy to do so. I sort of feel like we are showing a lot of exposure at this point. And if I become our nominee, and what’s happened in history is people have released them in about April of the coming year and that’s probably what I would do.

Translation: I’m not going to release my tax records in time for any primary voters to see them. However, I might release them after the primaries are over but early enough that they’ll be old news long before the general election. Then again, maybe I won’t release them at all. In the meantime, I’m going to pretend that this is the first I’ve ever heard about this peculiar “tradition” you earthlings apparently have.

Full confession: these are my favorite bits because that’s about all I heard of the debate. If I’d watched more of it, I’d probably have more favorites.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.