Friday, August 7, 2015

The GOP Debates: That's Entertainment

Yesterday, some 16 months before the next presidential election, the Republicans launched the first in a l-o-o-n-g series of candidate debates.  Four hours later, the second one took place.

Photo credit:  John Minchillo/AP
Because there are 17--count 'em--17 candidates already, Fox "News",the organizers of the event, decided to split the contenders into two debates.  The first one, at 5 PM EST, is being politely called "the Happy Hour" debate.  Others outside the media are calling it "the Children's Table" debate or "the Losers" debate, since the seven who polled last were relegated to a single hour in the middle of the day on a stage facing an auditorium filled with empty seats.  (They couldn't afford to hire audience members?  They couldn't use canned applause?  They couldn't at least keep the cameras from recording the sorry spectacle of a huge room devoid of real people?)

But the seven underlings gamely assembled on stage to make their case for being accepted as likely prospects for the highest office in the land: Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, Lindsey Graham, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, and some guy named Gilmore, who apparently was or is a governor of some state.  They were the warm-up act for the Big Boys Show but you wouldn't know it by watching them.  Each of the seven, bless their hearts, answered the questions as if this were a serious audition for a real part.

They all agreed that Planned Parenthood was evil and those videos, to the rest of us so clearly doctored to put PP in a bad light, proved it.  Continued government funding of that odious organization is reason enough to, yes, shut down the government!  (Jindal, Fiorina, everyone else.)

The consensus seems to be that Carly Fiorina won the first but least debate and it must be so:  She was the first to diss Hillary and say the magic word, "Benghazi".

Lindsey Graham attacked the attacks on the unborn and then went on to suggest that, if he becomes president, the already born should be prepared to serve his cause in a war of his making, even to the point of losing their, um, lives.

George Pataki says the PP tapes show "a hideous disrespect for life" but he's okay with Roe v. Wade.

(Staying with the sex theme, in the second debate Kasich drew gasps when he said some of his best friends are gay, and if his daughter said "she was one", he'd be okay with that.)

Rick Santorum wants to cut welfare and social programs and stick with the proven:  Trickle down.

If the Gilmore guy said anything, I missed it.  Sorry.

So 9 PM rolled around and the main event began.  All I can say is:  Donald Trump.  He stole the show.  First thing, he was the only one on stage who wouldn't pledge not to run as an Independent if he didn't win.  If he should win the primary, he said warmly, he would definitely run as a Republican, but if he doesn't win, he said coldly, all bets are off.  (The audience booed, but never mind--later on, when Megyn Kelly went after him over his piggish comments about women (see below), he had them at "Rosie O'Donnell".

I so wanted to hear his answer to "If God speaks to you, what does he say?",  but before it got to him, that line of questioning morphed, oddly, into the Democrats and the VA and their terrible treatment of patients.   (No mention of the terrible treatment of the military when Republicans push for more boots on the ground while under-funding necessary , life-enhancing veterans programs.)

Marco Rubio used his last few moments to sincerely say God has blessed the Republicans with candidates while the Dems can't even find one.

The night was big and there were a lot of words. Trump and Paul nearly got into a hair-pulling fight a couple of times.  Huckabee and Cruz, as comics go, were second bananas to Trump.  Jeb Bush was there.  They all agreed that their goal was to do in the Democrats and eliminate every single program or policy put in place during Obama's eight years. (Which should have sounded scary but didn't for some reason.)

But clear winners?  You're asking the wrong person.  I'm a Democrat; they're Republicans.  I don't care.  I only came for the laughs.

More on the show:

From Vanity Fair,  The 14 Wildest Moments.

Trump says of course he won the debate!

National Memo calls it The Debate The Republicans Deserved.

What Megyn Kelly said to Trump.  What Trump said to Megyn Kelly.  Priceless.


(Also seen at Dagblog and Liberaland.)

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