Thursday, September 8, 2011

Republican Debate Wrap-Up!

So, I watched the Republican Primary Debate on MSNBC last night and I found that Republican debates are a lot more interesting when they're hosted by a liberal news organization and co-proctored with Politico.  Listening to the aspiring nominees being asked actual pointed questions about their records, their statements and their professed beliefs and then being challenged on their responses was a refreshing change from the fawning, slow-pitch softball game that was the first televised debate on FNC.  There was a lot about last nights debate that I found interesting, none of it that I found improved or changed my opinions of any of the candidates and a few moments I found rather amusing.  I figure the best way to summarize my opinion of the debate is by summarizing my opinion of each candidate after hearing them talk.

First, a 45 second summary of the debate, courtesy of Buzzfeed:

Yep, that's basically all it was.

And now... The candidates!

Rick Perry

Since he was the newcomer to the debate, he got the first question.  Since he's already been propped up as the front-runner, he got the majority of the heat.  Since he's George W. Bush for Dummies (tm), he goes first on my list.  Where to even begin with Rick Perry?  He blamed the fact that Texas ranks dead last in the nation for the number of people in the state with health insurance on the federal government.  Just think about that for a second - he blamed the fact that 1 in 4 Texans do not have health coverage on Obama's universal health care plan, which is intended to guarantee coverage for all Americans.  That's like blaming your weight gain on the diet you refuse to stick with and the treadmill you don't use.  I can't wait to hear him blame the federal government for the out of control wildfires in Texas even though he's the one who cut fire dept. funding by 75% this year.  Perry is a riddle wrapped in an enigma covered in crap.  One of the most telling moments of the night was when Brian Williams read the stat that Texas was ranked #1 in the nation for executing criminals and it drew uproarious applause from the crowd of Republican spectators.  Gotta love Republican logic "YEAH, KILLING PEOPLE RULES! (as long as they're allowed to be born first!)"  But that's their values, who cares if you're sucking hind tit in education, employment, average household income, residents living at or below the poverty level or percentage of the population with a high school diploma, YOU'RE FIRST IN KILLING PEOPLE!  Also, Perry re-stated his affirmation that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and a "huge lie" perpetrated on the American people, which should give the liberal pundits tons of ammunition in the weeks and months ahead.

Michele Bachmann

What can you say about Michele Bachmann that hasn't already been said... about Sarah Palin, Christine O'Donnell, Sharon Engle or that lady at the end of the street with 20 cats who only leaves her house to yell Bible verses at people and get the mail?  Bachmann is a loon, not because she's a woman, but because she's a loon.  She's one of the great thinkers in the Republican party who believe eliminating the minimum wage would create a wealth of jobs and prosperity in the country.  Sure, being able to pay people any old crappy wage you want would create tons of jobs, but other than a 16-year old living with his parents, who can live off of an income that's below the current minimum wage?  All these anti-Keynesian Republicans who believe pumping up the supply side of the economy will fix everything and that somehow having a huge chunk of the nation that can't afford to buy anything will magically correct the free market are out of their minds.  You can't have classic, supply-side economics without strictly-enforced regulations that guarantee a truly free market, and since the last thing Republicans want to do is put restrictions of any kind on businesses or the markets, their economic plan basically amounts to the creation of wage slavery, "company towns" and modern indentured servitude for half the country.  I don't expect Michele Bachmann to know that, her husband didn't tell her to go learn about it, but surely someone as seemingly intelligent as Ron Paul should know better... right?

Ron Paul

Nope, Ron Paul is for eliminating the minimum wage too.  Not because he truly believes it's the best thing for our economy and the working class, but because he's against any mandate that comes from the government, no matter how effective or necessary it is.  I used to like Ron Paul the most out of all the Republican candidates, until last night's debate.  Listening to Ron Paul say that he thinks the private airline industry would be able to regulate air safety better than the FAA, that private food producers would regulate food safety better than the FDA and that factories would regulate pollution better than the EPA really made me realize that either Ron Paul is a complete idiot - which I doubt - or that he's perfectly fine with our country returning to the state it was in at the dawn of the industrial revolution, when smokestacks blackened the skies with soot, when rivers ran brown with contaminants, when food could kill you and when we were one step away from total lawlessness.  His belief is that the "Free Market" will regulate business, the government doesn't need to do it.  Sure, that's great logic!  "Hey, if you don't like finding metal shavings and rat parts in your hamburger, stop buying from the company that makes it!  What?  There are only 3 companies that make hamburger anymore and this is actually the safest brand?  Well... uhh... FREE MARKET!!!"  Seriously, being against common-sense regulation is like... well... voting for Ron Paul and thinking you're not going to get yet another corporate-coddling, conservative lap dog to the ultra-rich.

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney has the distinction of being the only candidate in last nights debate who mentioned the term "middle-class".  He mentioned it one time, 1 hour and 28 minutes into the debate.  Of course, he knows as much about the problems of the average, middle-class American as Michele Bachmann knows about how gas prices are set, but at least one Republican in the entire debate was able to say the words "middle-class", and he didn't even burst into laughter!  While no Republican "won" the debate in my mind last night - they're all still completely wrong and hell-bent on a corporatist, plutocratic agenda that I simply cannot agree with - Mitt probably did the most to make me hate him less.  Not because any of his ideas won me over, like I said, all the Republicans running for president right now are terrible, but because of how he stood his ground against the schoolyard bully, Rick Perry.  When Perry tried to take credit for every good thing in Texas, Romney pointed out that the vast oil deposits, large size and population and wealth of resources in the state have nothing to do with Perry and claiming to have created those things would be "Like Al Gore saying he invented the internet." which drew laughter from the audience.  Then, when Perry attacked Romney's jobs record as Gov. of MA by saying "Dukakis created more jobs as Governor than you did, Mitt", Romney replied by saying "And George Bush created more jobs in Texas than you did, Rick!"  I think they're both completely out of touch and their visions for America are absolutely wrong, but at least Romney wasn't Perry's bitch and I had to give him some props for that.  Flustered by his inability to make Romney back down, Perry was then forced to assault and threaten an old man during a commercial break.

Jon Huntsman

I actually feel bad for Jon Huntsman.  Not because I think his ideas are fantastic - he's got the same "coddle the rich" attitude as the rest of the Republican camp, with the added ridiculousness of wanting to completely eliminate corporate taxes - but because he's the only guy out of the bunch who isn't an anti-intellectual or afraid to admit that he actually believes scientists and scientific data, unlike Ron Paul, who seems like he would too, but doesn't seem to have the guts to say so while he's within arm's reach of Rick Perry.  Huntsman has the distinction of being governor of a state that's actually #1 for something other than criminal executions, drop-out rates, people in poverty or job loss.  Huntsman's state of Utah is #1 for job creation, a pretty good stat to take credit for when you're running for president during a period of record unemployment.  Unfortunately, he's still stuck in the single-digits in all the polls and isn't getting anywhere near the media attention that Michele Bachmann does, even though he's actually polling ahead of her now.  I don't understand why the conservative media refuses to give any significant air time or coverage to candidates like Huntsman, who actually have good, proven track records when it comes to the issues voters care about right now, specifically job creation and who also have a wealth of foreign relations experience - Huntsman was ambassador to China - I mean... China!  The country that the Fox News propaganda machine is trying to push us into a second cold war with, and this guy has a wealth of diplomatic experience dealing with their leadership.  I get why the MSNBC's don't want to give Huntsman any run, he's the most reasonable and "center-left friendly" candidate in the race, which makes him the one most likely to poach dissatisfied moderates and conservative Democrats from Obama's camp.  I don't get why that's not a good thing for the Fox crowd though.  Ok, I understand, they want a candidate who heaps on the doomsday rhetoric and thinks global warming is a myth and God snapped his fingers one day and here we all are and Huntsman doesn't agree with that, but come on... are you trying to win the presidency or just the primaries?  Will Rick Perry really be able to beat Obama on the campaign trail?  I have a feeling Perry is going to slip up and say the "N" word during a presidential debate, he just strikes me as the kind of guy who still occasionally refers to black people as "colored".  But, that's what the Republicans want, a complete moron who supports Jesus, war and upper-class tax cuts and little to nothing else, so, a guy with an even halfway reasonable sense of logic doesn't stand a chance.  It's too bad, Jon, if you'd just stop sucking corporate dong and start really caring about the middle-class, you'd make a pretty good Democrat...

Newt Gingrich

I could have sworn he dropped out after the last debate.  I really wasn't even sure what Newt was still doing in the primary race until last night's debate and then it was crystal clear - Newt is there to be Rick Perry's cheerleader.  Even though he brushed it off at the beginning with his witty response to Brian Williams pointing out that he wrote the forward for Rick Perry's "controversial" book, trying to make it seem as though he wasn't just in the race to agree with Perry and make him look better, as the debate wore on it was apparent that Gingrich's role in the primary field is basically to root for the home team and remind everyone that the real priority isn't fighting amongst each other to see who's the best choice for the nomination, it's making sure that Obama loses no matter what.  He spent most of his time dancing around with the corpse of Ronald Reagan like it was "Weekend at Ronnies", which all of the candidates did to a varying degree so it wasn't just Newt, but Gingrich did it with flair.  I couldn't help but wonder what Nancy Reagan thought as she sat in the audience and listened to a bunch of people tell America what her husband's politics, policies and vision for the country were all about, many of whom had never even met the man.  At any rate, Gingrich alternated between putting on Ronnie's skin and flopping around in it and patting Rick Perry on the ass all while acting as though he was still a serious contender for the nomination.  Ironically, he also ranked higher than Bachmann in the post-debate polls, but then again so did everyone except Rick Santorum.

Herman Cain

My first impression of Herman Cain was based on a creepily-filmed interview he did for Dick Morris's web program.  In this interview, Cain completely lost me with his rhetoric.  First, he made a big point about how he "has never and will never play the race card" as a difference between him and Obama - as if Obama is running around blaming everything on the white man and racism or something - only to follow up that statement with 10 minutes of talking about how he had to overcome so much more than anyone else because he was a black man in America.  Contradict yourself much?  Then, after that impressive display of immediate hypocrisy, when Morris asked Cain what was it that caused him to switch from being a liberal Democrat to a conservative Republican, Cain's response was literally "Well, I started to make a little money..."  You think so, professor?  That's why every rich Republican became a Republican, they just don't come right out and admit it like that.  Kinda makes it hard to claim that you support working-class Americans when you flat out admit that the reason you became a Republican is because you finally got rich and wanted to make sure you had to give as little of it back as you possibly could.  As for his performance in the debate, Cain demonstrated the same apparent lack of basic math and economics skills as the rest of his competition when he proudly promoted his "9/9/9 tax plan".  According to this plan, Cain wants to lower the income tax to 9%, the corporate tax rate to 9% and implement a 9% national sales tax.  This, apparently, will fix everything.  What Cain and other "more tax cuts for rich people, let the poor pay for it" Republicans don't realize is that, due to the obscene wage disparity in this country and the extreme hoarding of wealth among the richest 2%, taxing the bottom 50% who Fox News loves to remind us don't pay any income taxes won't even generate a fraction of the revenue that taxing the rich even at the current 32% level does.  In other words, taxing a millionaire 9% and taking a guy who makes $10,000 a year 9% will generate less total revenue than taxing a millionaire 32% and the poor guy nothing.  Hell, even taxing a millionaire 18% (9+9) will generate more revenue than Cains "9/9/9" plan.  Also, the sales tax thing is a great idea, except when half the country can't afford to buy anything...

Rick Santorum

I saved the last for last.  Rick Santorum has the distinct honor of being the only candidate who polled below Michele Bachmann in MSNBC's post-debate poll.  He has consistently pulled 1% for pretty much the entire run so far.  Tim Pawlenty destroyed Santorum in the Iowa straw poll and he dropped out of the running afterwards because his numbers were so terrible.  Why Rick Santorum hasn't hung it up yet is beyond me, but he hasn't.  Even Newt Gingrich is like "Dude, just stop already."  Santorum is an idiot and I mean that in the nicest possible way.  He's got all the hyper-religious justified bigotry of Bachmann and Perry, all the terrible economic policies of Cain and Romney, all the charisma of a gorillas shaved private parts and a last name that is now synonymous with... well... see for yourself.  Then again, that's what happens when you base a majority of your political aspirations on hating gay people.  Karma, she is a bitch.  Rick Santorum was terrible in last night's debate and when I say terrible, keep in mind just how weak and awful the entire panel of candidates is to begin with.  He's literally the worst of the worst.  I can't stand Herman Cain and I would vote for him before Rick Santorum.  Hell, I would vote for GW Bush again before Santorum.  I would vote for the slang definition of "Santorum" before I voted for the actual Santorum.

And that's it, America.  That's your Republican presidential candidate pool.  Yes, there are other guys in the running, like Buddy Roemer from Louisiana - who has made an impressive tour of the "lefty" news outlets recently to say some pretty sensible things about campaign finance reform and who is running his campaign on a self-imposed ban on Pac funding and a $100 individual contribution limit - but they aren't going to get any conservative news coverage, won't get invited to any debates and, even though Roemer is polling ahead of Santorum right now, they won't be taken seriously as candidates.  So, we're stuck with these clowns - A Texas cowboy schoolyard bully, a hyper-religious cat lady, a ridiculous anti-government conservative libertarian mutation, a fake plastic political chameleon, a moderately sensible turd with a creepy eyebrow, an old douche who keeps reliving the 80's and 90's like Al Bundy's high school football years, a proud token black guy who capitalizes on his race whenever possible while saying he won't play the race card and a completely homophobic douchebag who bears an ever-increasing resemblance to his vile rectal namesake every time he speaks.  That's some set of choices there, Republicans.  It's amazing to me that this is the best you guys can do.  Either you really think Obama is going to be easy to beat, so you aren't wasting any of your "heavy hitters" on him, or this is what the Republican party has come to - a parody of the Republican party.  Seriously, the current Republican party looks like an SNL parody of the Republican party, you couldn't write more buffoonish commentary for these people, nor could you find more ridiculous-looking actors to play them.  Damn, it's going to be a long election season...

No comments:

Post a Comment