I was live-blogging live-bloggers on the Republican debate yesterday. After a fitful sleep, some reflection, some ibuprofin, and reading some of the coverage, I updated the post with some additional thoughts:

Watching alpha dog Rudy Giuliani snap at Ron Paul, followed by the rest of the Republican presidential wolf-pack tearing his carcass to shreds was bad enough. But then came the “Jack Bauer 24” hypothetical questions carefully scripted to elicit support for torture. With the notable exception of Ron Paul and John McCain, the wolf-pack ripped into the chunk of raw meat tossed on the stage by Brit Hume with nauseating relish. I am dating myself here, but watching that spectacle was what the late, great gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson would call a “vicious bummer.” Forget the candidates, they don’t actually believe what they are saying. Who were the people in the audience? The strongest reaction of the night was huge applause for supporting “waterboarding” and torture. They cheered for the expansion of off-shore prisons to hold people on suspicion without trial or protection of the law. This actually happened. I was stunned. Who are these people? Do they call themselves Americans? Do they have the slightest concept of what this country is about?

Other reactions of note:

Andrew Sullivan reviewed the “Palmetto Punditry” at The Daily Dish:

“For me, the moral question of torture in many ways settles this race. Just hearing Brit Hume curl his lips around the phrase “enhanced interrogation techniques” was a brief moment of insight. I was glad that McCain called these hideous methods by their proper name, and that Paul described Hume’s weasel words as “newspeak.” I was surprised to see Romney so aggressively embrace torture and Gitmo.”

Joe Gandelman on John McCain at The Moderate Voice:

“His stance on torture, including torture renamed so it isn’t called torture but is still torture, was strong: “There’s more to war than the battlefield,â€Â? he noted and noted that most politicians and officials who have military background agree with his position. That may not matter to primary voters, who may feel McCain is too wobbly in a terrorism-filled era.”

David Weigel wonders about the Republican field at Reason’s Hit & Run:

“Basically, it was a question about how the candidates would behave if they were president in an episode of 24. Tom Tancredo cleared that up with his answer: “I’d be looking for Jack Bauer at that time.” Please note that this was perceived in and outside of the debate hall as an awesome answer… Guys, I hate to be the one to break this to you, but Jack Bauer is a fictional character. He’s played by Keifer Sutherland, star of such classics as The Lost Boys, Young Guns, and Brotherhood of Justice. He can’t save us and neither – again, I’m sorry – can Green Lantern. Michael Brendan Dougherty tried to get at the GOP’s Bauer obsession in a recent, brilliant American Conservative cover story, but here’s the short version: too many conservatives fantasize about the war on terror in lieu of studying the actual war on terror and making morally uncomfortable decisions about whether we can “win it.” What’s it say about the GOP field that they’re more comfortable answering hypothetical questions about a terrorist plot on a TV show than answering questions about the Iraq War – which, you know, actually exists? Nothing good.”

… continued at “Divided We Stand United We Fall

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