A couple of notes on tonight's GOP foreign policy debate:
1. Perry, good fundamentalist or imitation thereof, trusts to God to destroy countries he regards as accursed. Asked to name a major threat to the country, he named China, and said that it is destined for the ash heap of history because it is "not a country of virtue." Exhibit A: the millions of abortions the government countenances or encourages. He thus revealed a historiography akin to that of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was infamously reported to have said (citing Ayatollah Khomeini) that Israel should be wiped off the map. Literally, Ahmadinejad said, "The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time." That was part of a broader recollection that Khomeini predicted the destruction of four regimes, three of which have in fact "vanished": the Shah's, the Soviet Union, and Saddam's. Countries that are not "of virtue" get wiped off the record -- i.e., end up in the ash heap. Of course, that last image belongs to Marx, another theologian certain in his forecasts regarding history's inevitable course.
2. Gingrich, that calculating old fraud, drew immediate post-debate speculation that he had wounded himself as Perry had some weeks ago by expressing some compassion for "good" illegal aliens -- in Perry's case, those who had grown up in the U.S. and gotten into college; in Gingrich's, those who had raised families in the U.S. and proved themselves Good Christian Citizens. The buzz was that he too will get fried by the anti-immigration hordes who allegedly dominate GOP primaries.
But this was no gaffe. Perry was forced to defend his past action as governor. No one forced Gingrich to recommend a limited amnesty for a subset of worthies. He's obviously calculated that the political gain outweighs the loss - -that he'll get points for courage and compassion, that he'll come across as a statesman talking to all Americans, that he'll point a road back to attracting Hispanics to the GOP. Whether he's right I have no idea, but he plainly walked very consciously and deliberately into this territory.