Friday, February 01, 2008


Another debate (this one the GOP Supertuesday debate from California) and another running diary. Just what you need! My thoughts and opinions of the whole debacle as they went down.
Let's see how it went! Enjoy!

OK. Let’s fire this thing up. Yes, I’m doing this running diary very non-live and a day late, but I think that’s fitting for this current batch of Republican candidates, so what the heck?
I have it on the Comcast DVR (SUCKS!) so let’s hope it recorded.

Notes before we begin: You may ask, why am I picking on the Republicans, and not doing the Democrats this week? Well, I figured that with 4 candidates, and all of them just a little unhinged, I thought the Republicans would be more interesting and comical and after watching the Democratic debate just now, I’m thinking that was a good call.

Giuliani is out of the race, which makes me sad, because I always root for the lisping guys, but it gladdens me that I won’t have to spell his last name any more. Too bad Rudy, but I’m sure the other candidates will pick up the slack and mention Ronald Reagan and 9-11 way too often for you.

(A note on Rudy’s exit. Stupid pundits keep pointing to the “Florida Strategy” for how Rudy went from polling 1st a year ago to 3rd today, and I haven’t heard anyone say the real truth, which is that he was just slammed hard from both sides in the party. You might have a chance fighting one tiger, but when there are tigers on the left, right, religious right and religious left of you, slowly picking you apart, the results are grizzly. By the way, I erred when I predicted, “the slow dismantling of Rudy Giuliani.” It was WAY more rapid than I expected.)

Speaking of last names, I’m going to use the first or nicknames for all the Republicans, because Mitt, Huck, are fun to say, and Ron Paul has two first names anyway. However, I just can’t bring myself to call McCain “John.” Can you? I’m thinking even his wife calls him Senator McCain. I think this is a problem for him. Look at the last presidents, W, Bill, George, and Ronnie. We like to elect guys we’re on a first name basis with.

This debate is taking place in the Ronald Reagan Library. So here’s my plan. Instead of just counting every reference to Ron, I’m going to chime in with a factoid about the Reagan tenure of office.

OK. Well, I’m sick as a dog tonight and may pass out at any moment, but what the heck? Let’s do this thing!

9:08 PM
Let’s start things off with Nancy Reagan. Why not? She still is hanging in there. What was she 50 years younger than Ron?

Oh God, they’re actually going to debate in front of Air Force One. Good god, how tacky. From the seating, it looks like some people actually have a wing obstructing their view. That can’t be fun.

9:11 PM
OK. The moderators are introduced, and they’ll be reading questions submitted by the great unwashed across cyberspace. But not really. They’ve been heavily filtered by CNN and so don’t worry.

9:13 PM
First question. “Are you better off now than you were 8 years ago…” Let the dodging begin!

Mitt talks about how great Massachusetts is. Not a good strategy for Republicans. Might as well talk about the nice furniture in hell.
Mitt gets into it with Anderson Cooper who says smarmily “Are you running for Governor. Or President?” What are the odds that one of these guys smacks Anderson tonight?

9:16 PM
McCain goes with “Straight Talk.” Unfortunately, my daughter has a toy that makes a revving noise that is exactly the same timbre and vocal tone as his drone, so I’m missing most of this.
Anderson interrupts him too. He is going to get really grating. I like Anderson Cooper, but I wonder if he’s going to interrupt every single answer in mid-sentence.

McCain makes the first Ron reference of the night about controlling spending.
Reagan Factoid: Reagan never submitted a balanced budget to congress! The Democratic Congress cut items out of his budgets, and they still had record deficits.

Huck: We’re not better off. He makes his populist appeal. He hasn’t learned that the first rule of Republican politics is NEVER MENTION THE POOR!

9:23 PM
Ron Paul makes it unanimous. Unless you live in Massachusetts, things are worse for you now. Oh, and apparently Ron thinks our whole system is messed up. Huh.

9:24 PM
New question to Mitt: Is McCain really “liberal?”
Mitt just lays on the attack. He’s rehearsed this diatribe. It’s right out of a Repub focus group. Oh, and he rips on the New York Times. My god! Why do these guys insist on trashing the most prestigious paper in the world? Oh, because most of their constituency are bitter about the fact that they can’t understand it.

McCain rebuts with that cold, quiet “Oh shut up you, I’m a war hero” tone. He sullies right back. I love that they go to the two shot, so we just see Mitt smiling and nodding as McCain rips on him. It has this whole feel of “He’s so right, I do suck.” It’s weird, but if he scowls, or god forbid, sighs, people will talk about what a grump he is.

Mitt fires back smiling while berating McCain and essentially calling him an incompetent liar.
Side note about Mitt: Have you seen that the Colbert Report portrays him as Guy Smiley from Sesame Street? It’s spot on, hilarious and brings back tons of nostalgia for me.
(Guy Smiley is the name of the game show host Muppet btw)

9:36 PM
Mitt’s still wrapping up refuting the assertion that, god forbid, his health care plan cost money. Apparently, it did not.

9:38 PM
Huck is asked about a Rush Limbaugh quote slamming him. Huck claims to love Rush Limbaugh. He just lost my vote, and the vote of anyone capable of reason. That and evolution, and well, being crazy takes him out of the reason vote. He does seem like a nice guy. I wouldn’t mind him being the designated driver for me after a drinking binge. But I get to pick the radio station.

9:40 PM
Mitt’s asked about raising “fees.” Man I’m tired of “Fees.” What a non-issue.

9:42 PM
McCain’s asked about greenhouse gasses and Schwarzenegger’s environmental policy. (Arnold in the house! Only Hollywood type there) He makes the obvious “Oh, he might beat me up” joke. Even Arnold is tired of that one. Huck made a similar joke once about Chuck Norris. Is it too much to want a president like Harrison Ford in Air Force One? (Bad movie btw.) Hillary could kick Chuck Norris’ ass, why can’t these guys show some backbone?
Oh, and McCain gives a reasoned answer about greenhouse gasses but the camera is too obsessed with shots of Arnold to notice.

9:46 PM
Same question to Mitt: So far, there’s a clear bias in moderation. These two guys (Mitt and McCain) each get the same question like they’re the only ones there. It’s totally media manipulation. CNN sucks.

Mitt reminds us that it’s “Global warming” not “America Warming” Thanks Mitt!

Huck has to interrupt to chime in about federalism.

Ron Paul is allowed to speak. Not sure why. But then Anderson Cooper cuts him off. We have heard 12 seconds of Ron Paul in this debate. I was starting to wonder if he was still there.

9:50 PM
Huck comes out against the tax rebates, further killing his chances at winning.
He’s right about infrastructure, sort of, but it’s hard to pay attention because while he is speaking, Mitt makes a smarmy little aside comment to McCain to the effect of “who is this guy, and what’s he doing in our debate with each other.” That’s probably not what he really said, but it seemed very rude. Are you not happy getting 90 percent of the debate time Mitt? Got to talk during other guy’s time too? Manners!

9:53 PM
Mitt chimes in on infrastructure with big dig news. He basically laughs at Huck’s plan.

Ron Paul somehow connects all of this to foreign policy and why we shouldn’t have one. He’s a tad predictable don’t you think?

9:55 PM
New topic: Foreclosures

McCain’s answer to most questions I just realized goes like this, “well I think we’re doing a pretty good job, but I think there’s still a long way to go.” Iraq, the economy, sub-prime mortgages... Sadly, I think this is how he truly feels about everything.

10:07 PM
I took a break to make some soup. I’m really really sick and doing this diary now is a bad idea. I don’t think I’m going to be able to sit through much more of this economic squabbling. Ugh

Reagan Reference! Factoid: When Reagan took office, the USA was the world’s biggest creditor nation. When he left, we were the biggest debtor nation! USA! USA!!

10:10 PM
I’m going to enjoy my soup now. I’m only going to comment if someone punches somebody.

10:12 PM
We’re onto immigration. All the real immigration nuts are out of the race now, so I’m expecting a hate-off to see who gets the Latino-hating vote.

Mitt says he’ll allow immigrant children in schools to finish the school year they’re enrolled in because somewhere deep down, Mitt has a teeny bit of a soul. See it? It’s way down there under the… Oh, that’s some mustard from lunch… But the soul’s in there. Trust me.

McCain is accused of treating illegals humanely. He counters. “Oh no, we’re gonna build us a wall they’d kill for in the old Soviet Union! Woo hoo!” I hate that these guys are turning our nation into exactly what we hated about the Soviets in 1980. We’re in Afghanistan, we’re building walls, monitoring our own citizens…

10:18 PM
Ah Abortion’s the new topic! Here we go.

Huck talks of the “Sanctity of Human Life.” Man, am I ever tired of that buzzword. Especially since it's almost always used by someone who has imposed the death penalty or started a war.

10:22 PM
Ron Paul is literally cut off in mid-sentence again. Anderson Cooper treats him like an annoyance.

Mitt uses the secret code “Strict Constitutionalist” which means, pro-life judges only. Um… Weird, but I’m pretty sure but Abortion isn’t mentioned in the Constitution anywhere…

Here’s where I sometimes get politically incorrect on abortion. Sometimes A part of me wishes that just one state would ban it. (Not mine of course) How long before the unmitigated disaster that would play out caused them to reverse that decision on a national level? How many kids running across the border from Arkansas to another state (or Mexico) for a procedure they should have gotten at home would set off a national outrage? As soon as one young girl died, or one doctor was sent to jail, this country would send in the National Guard just to rightfully slap that stupid state around. Have these guys never played out this scenario in their heads?
Abortion is a classic “Then What?” issue. (A term coined by ME! Winlar!) As in, “So we outlaw abortion in Texas… Then what?” Or: So we invade Iraq and get rid of Sadaam Hussein… Then what?” I guess what I’m looking for in these candidates is foresight.

10:30 PM
OK, we’re back from commercial break, and… we go to another commercial break.

10:31 PM
Peggy Noonan is quoted, ripping on Bush for killing the Republican Party. A big part of me despises Peggy Noonan, and I continue to do so. Yeah, the bad thing about Bush is he ruined the Republican Party. Never mind that he F-ed up the COUNTRY. No the party is his biggest crime. Peggy’s a mercenary plain and simple.

Mitt stands up for Bush. Why does he keep doing that? Cut bait and run Mitt.
Anyway, Mitt gets a smattering of applause for saying that Bush kept us safe. A pathetic smattering.
Then he talks about Iraq and says, “The Democrats say it’s more important to get out than to WIN. I want to WIN” What a great attitude… if you’re playing in the Super Bowl. But IRAQ ISN’T A GAME! We’re talking about millions of lives, displacing populaces, monumental fear and bloodshed. You don’t win these things Mitt. War is war. You don’t win you just survive. Idiot.

Reagan reference! “The house that Reagan built.” Factoid: Reagan gave guns to Osama Bin Laden and Sadaam Hussein!

10:37 PM
Now to Iraq. Question goes to Mitt. Mitt has gotten to talk more than all the other candidates combined tonight. What gives with that? Is he just long-winded? It’s morbidly unfair. Is no one keeping track of this?
Mitt makes a Reagan Reference! Factoid: National debt when Reagan took office: 914 billion dollars. (With a B) When he left? 2.6 trillion dollars! (With a T!)

10:42 PM
McCain looks like a hurt puppy after Mitt accused him of “Dirty tricks Reagan would have been disgusted by.” They’re haggling over timetables for leaving Iraq, because the enemy will just “Lie in the weeds until we leave.” Boy, wouldn’t it be awful if our troops didn’t get shot at until the date they left? Wouldn’t that just be awful? Yeah that would be terrible because… our… troops… wouldn’t… get… shot at… huh?

10:45 PM
The McCain-Mitt bickering has gone on so long that I’m wondering if Huck and Paul are still even there. Boy, do these guys ever look presidential right now I must say with dripping sarcasm.

10:48 PM
God! More Mitt! I’m almost ready to elect him president if he’ll JUST SHUT UP!
(I think I’ve hit the wall. Oh wait, I hit the wall a long time ago.)

Note: The Republican Candidates have officially changed the name of the New York Times to “Even the New York Times” as in, “Even the New York times said you lied.” Be sure to go out and subscribe to Even the New York Times today!

10:50 PM
Wait, what’s happening? I don’t understand… Oh! Ron Paul is being asked a question! Hasn’t happened in so long I forgot that was allowed.
The question of course is, “Do you agree with John McCain?” Natch.
Poor Ron feels like he has to talk so fast that he seems a bit doddering. Still, he makes amazing points on Iraq. He scores more in one minute than McMitt did in the last 40 minutes they were allowed to carry on.
It’s sad when an anarchist is the voice of reason for your party…

10:54 PM
Huck chimes in about a 100 year involvement…. In this debate! (Rim shot please. That was my joke, not his.)

10:56 PM
Here’s a fun game! When McMittHuck talk about “It’s not about how long we’re in Iraq, it’s about winning” substitute the word Viet Nam for Iraq. OK, it's more of a poignant game, but it's a game. Unlike war.

10:58 PM
We’re promised “A barrage of questions” for Huck. Let’s see if by barrage they mean more than one.

Huck’s asked about Vladimir Putin and comes across as an intellectual lightweight.

Reagan Reference! Factoid: Reagan allowed his wife’s astrologer to influence policy!

Um, the barrage of questions was… one. Nice hearing from you Huck! See you after the debate.

My God. Mitt’s amping up hatred for Putin, China, and foreigners in general to build back the coalition of hate. He makes no sense.
Man, I lived through a world where we feared Russia. Let’s never go back there.

11:03 PM
We’re back to asking economy questions to McMitt again. This is the worst moderated debate I’ve ever seen. It has the organization and flow of a damaged CD.

Man am I hating Mitt Romney. Since when did being a rich asshole make you presidential material? Sure, presidents tend to be rich assholes, but that’s not what qualifies them for the job. You’re backwards there Mitt.

11:07 PM
Again a question for Romney! What the hell? OK, he doesn’t have military experience. Most rich assholes don’t. Why ask him about that?

11:09 PM
Now McCain is asked whether Mitt is ready to be commander in chief. When did we enter this Mitt-centric universe?

McCain looks tired. Not as tired as me, but tired.

Ron Paul gets to talk about the economy, and he’s on crappy footing here. All he can say is how he’s going to do things by doing nothing. Bashing our current economic system isn’t going to play when it’s made us so frickin’ rich. Well, some of us…

11:13 PM
Huck makes a good joke about the earlier “Barrage of questions” lie. Well, he did have a lot of time to think of one… I’m waiting for him to do a Glenn Close Fatal Attraction “I will not be IGNORED, Anderson!”
Uh oh. He mentioned the poor again. Millions of Republicans tuned out… (Such a cheap shot, but I’m proud of it.)

11:16 PM
Ok, the last question (I hope) is “Why would Ronald Reagan endorse you.”
There will obviously be a ton of Reagan mentions here so I won’t bother to put factoids to them. But let me just say something to you kids out there. I lived through the Reagan Presidency. I voted for the bastard. (Stop gasping. It’s a deep dark secret. I was 18 and stupid.) And let me just say unequivocally that Ronald Reagan was a HORRIBLE president. We lived 8 years in abject fear of nuclear war, homeless people were everywhere, the world hated us, and he bankrupted two nations, one of them our own. The only thing he did well was look good in a suit. So don’t let anyone convince you of his sainthood. The only reason that Republicans are slurping him so much is that Bush is somehow worse, and if they don’t sanctify Reagan they have to go all the way back to Eisenhower.

That being said, let’s hear why Ronnie Ray-gun would have loved Mitt Romney!

Wow, apparently Reagan had opinions on a lot of stuff that didn’t happen until after he died! And they all agree with Mitt’s positions! What a visionary!

Did Ron Paul just come out for the Gold Standard? What is this 1920? We must be very near the end now… (Of the debate, or the world, I’m not sure which)

And we’re out! Damn. Well, I’m glad we got the entire country's problems fixed with that 90-minute discussion. Who knew that Mitt and McCain calling each other liars would make the country a better place?

Tune in next week for my running diary of Super Tuesday. It should be up on Wednesday, and it should be… well… Just tune in damnit!


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