Huckabee ducked the Jesus question with a cute quip that Jesus was too smart ever to run for public office. I probably wouldn't have won any points, but I would have answered it directly, saying I believe God mandates capital punishment in the Old Testament not as a denigration of life but as an affirmation of it. Precisely because God made us in His image, we do not have the right to murder, and the murderer must be punished with his own life. Though Christians believe God revealed Himself progressively and more fully in the New Testament, the immutable God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New Testament. Since God's capital-punishment mandate wasn't retracted in the New Testament, I believe it's fair to assume Jesus would approve of the practice.
Another question included the assumption that our invasion of Iraq had hurt America's image in the world, especially the Muslim world, and asked what the candidates would do to repair it.
The question implied the invasion was wrong. I wish the candidates had rejected the premise, defended the invasion and added that if our image has suffered, it is largely due to disgraceful Democratic slander against President Bush and the invasion. Incidentally, are Democrats ever asked what would happen in Iraq if we were to follow their blind demands to precipitously withdraw our troops?
Another question suggested that since candidate John McCain was the only torture victim on the stage, the other candidates had no right to disagree with his opinion opposing waterboarding. I wish the other candidates had challenged this "typically liberal" assumption that firsthand experience imputes inerrancy on a subject and the lack of it disqualifies. As a bonus, I wish they had also corrected McCain's self-described "straight talk" on this subject in implying that Romney's prudent failure to publicly define torture constituted an endorsement of it.
Another rhetorical question suggested President Bush had given Vice President Dick Cheney too much power. This ongoing liberal myth wrongly implies that with many decisions the buck has not stopped with Bush but with Cheney. Insiders I know and trust flatly refute that notion, saying that President Bush has been absolutely in charge. It also contradicts the other liberal idea that Bush is a dictator who won't listen to anyone.
Finally, the questions about the confederate flag and gays in the military were crafted not to elicit information or distinguish the candidates' positions but to make Republicans look bigoted -- period. And what could be more unprofessional than CNN encouraging the disgruntled retired gay general to lecture the candidates for failing to give the answer he preferred to his loaded, self-serving and mostly irrelevant question?
The candidates answered the questions far more directly than Democrats ever have in their debates, but, overall, we witnessed a barely disguised CNN propaganda spectacle.