The GOP debates were a fascinating, horrifying train wreck

The debates last night were every bit the catastrophes one would have expected them to be. Donald Trump got the crowd to cheer for him calling women “fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.” Mike Huckabee still wants to invade your uterus. Lindsey Graham’s economic, social and foreign policies all start and end with re-invading Iraq. The moderators made sure that discussion of racial and social justice was kept to a minimum, with the words “black lives matter” being uttered precisely one time.

It was great theater in the way that pro wrestling is great theater. It was awful politics in the way that pro wrestling is awful politics.

The kids’ table/junior varsity/happy hour/whatever we want to call it debate was odd in that there wasn’t any crowd (intentional on the part of Fox), so what would otherwise have been zingers and applause lines were met with crickets. It was also odd because it included Jim Gilmore and George Pataki, who used what little time they were allotted to remind everyone — with alarming earnestness — that they were governors of Virginia and New York, respectively, on September 11th.

It was most odd, however, because it had a clear winner. The men on stage set a pretty low bar, but Carly Fiorina cleared it easily, simply by stringing words together that made a remote amount of sense. By the time the primetime debate rolled around, Megyn Kelly was joking about how lucky the higher-tier candidates were that she wouldn’t be on stage with them. Fiorina’s case was a reprisal of her entire candidacy, as has been previously documented in analyses of her online support: She’s performing well, and almost no one is paying attention.

The main event itself was two of the best hours of television you could ask for. That is, provided you switched from the beer you were drinking during the earlier debate to something stronger. Fox is clearly over Donald Trump, and went after him right out of the gate when Bret Baier used the first question to ask if any of the candidates on stage would not commit to supporting the eventual nominee. Donald Trump raised his hand, saying that he would only commit to supporting the eventual Republican nominee if that nominee’s name was Donald Trump, citing the “leverage” the threat of a third party bid gives him.

That exchange, along with Trump’s proud exploitation of our nation’s bankruptcy laws, repeated reminders (and in some cases fabrications) of all of the political contributions he’s made and open, unapologetic misogyny all highlighted what makes Trump a strong candidate in the Republican field. He’s got an odd message box, but it’s one that he has no trouble staying in, and it’s one that the base loves. He’s running as the pinnacle of conservative achievement; a decidedly un-elite TEN BILLIONAIRE who figured out how to beat the good ol’ boys at their own game. Every attack levied against him is reframed as just being part of the game the establishment is playing, a conspiracy trying to bring Trump down.

But Donald, you’re a shady businessman. Don’t hate the player, hate the game. But Donald, you’re violent and demeaning toward women. Jane, you ignorant slutBut Donald, if you ran as an independent you’d be throwing the election for Hillary. What part of “shady businessman” didn’t you understand? Threatening people who get in my way is kind of my thing.

Republicans' Next Top Candidate, via DonkeHotey / Flickr

Republicans’ Next Top Candidate, via DonkeHotey / Flickr

As for the other candidates, it didn’t seem like anyone did anything to distinguish themselves in a good way. John Kasich earned himself Jon Huntsman points from the press for saying that he’s proudly attended a same-sex wedding because his faith requires “unconditional love,” and that Jesus and Saint Reagan served as his guide for expanding Medicaid. Then again, what earns a nod of approval from me drives conservative men in Alabama to Second Amendment their TVs, so it’s hard to say that Kasich came out of the debate “ahead” with the people who matter.

Chris Christie and Rand Paul had what could have been the most substantive exchange of the night when the two sparred over government surveillance, but Christie ruined it by asserting that his hugging the families of 9/11 victims was all he needed to know about whether warrantless wiretapping and metadata collection were in the public interest.

Ben Carson shrank in the spotlight. His campaign had said before the debate that he was planning on going after Donald Trump’s comments that America wouldn’t elect another black president for a long time (because Obama) but he never did.

Scott Walker was predictable and boring, sticking to lines pre-cleared by the Kochs. Every time he spoke, I found myself pondering whether his hair is in fact weirder than Donald Trump’s, combed back and to the side to create a jarring asymmetry that is reportedly designed to cover a bald spot. Then I’d have to shake myself back into focus, take a sip of my drink and remember that Walker is boring by design. If he were more interesting, it would draw more attention to how destructive and awful of a governor he’s been.

The debate was as amazing as it was depressing, as fascinating as it was horrifying. A NASCAR race with not one but ten drunk drivers behind their respective wheels. When it wrapped up — with the last question being whether the candidates have voices in their heads — I was reminded of the question that led me to tune in in the first place:

 


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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81 Responses to “The GOP debates were a fascinating, horrifying train wreck”

  1. IdPnSD says:

    What can any person, including Donald Trump, do for people, when he becomes president? We have seen that no president, in recent past, could do anything good for vast majority of people in USA. We have the most dysfunctional government in the world. Poverty, unemployment, wars, terrorism are all increasing. So why even vote? Our government is controlled by lobbyists, our elected representatives cannot use secret ballot in their decision making process. Thus there is no democracy. There is no dictatorship either. The central bank, the originator of money and money power, is the king. So Trump does not have any trump card. Take a look at https://theoryofsouls.wordpress.com/category/g-ch7-economics/ to see how the central bank operates and runs the economy.

  2. FLL says:

    Thanks. I never really bother saving my comments although I know that Americablog has its own archives.

  3. Moderator4 says:

    We hope it solves the problem, as well, and we are sorry that you had all this trouble.
    Your deleted comments, at least the last thirty days of them, are in our “deleted” folder, although they are showing as coming from “Guest” with an unknown email.

  4. FLL says:

    OK, technical Disqus problems solved. I’ll briefly mention the naming conventions for the Democratic Party (which I think started the all the fuss a couple years ago).

    (1) “Democrat Party,” which is the typical Fox News/Tea Party usage. This contribution comes from Bill. timncguy (along with 4 “likes”) mentions his dissatisfaction with this usage, and I have to smile because it is a vast improvement over the situation of a couple years ago. (Read on.)

    (2) “Democrap.” This contribution comes from karmanot. Creative, and still a vast improvement over the naming convention of a couple years ago. (As I said, read on.)

    (3) “Republicans in drag.” Ah, here we have the problem which may have led to our current confusion. This was Bill’s contribution from a couple years ago, repeated many, many times, and I thought it was a little overboard to suggest that men who vote Republican are “real men” while men who vote Democratic are drag queens. I suggested, a couple years ago, that Bill might be projecting based on past life experience (using a family/relative-based example). Well, it worked and Bill dropped that naming convention, which improved his writing style. My strategy was entirely appropriate, based on the circumstances. However, I’ll admit when I use something inappropriately. If I have not explicitly said so, I am explicitly saying now that I was wrong to extend that family/relative based logic to one of Nicho’s comments recently.

    In summary, the current naming conventions are hardly offensive at all, compared to the one from a couple years ago. I’m satisfied with that progress and won’t raise the topic of naming conventions again. All we can reasonably expect is improvement, and please believe me, the current situation is a vast improvement over the situation of a couple years ago.

  5. FLL says:

    Jon,

    I think I fixed my Disqus account problem. See my reply to Moderator4 below. I’ll check out the Disqus links that Moderator4 provided also.

  6. FLL says:

    I think I finally fixed the problem. I was able to log into my old account (the one that was hacked). I deleted that account (which deleted old comments under that account). I am now left with only the new account (the one I created within the last 12 hours). Of course, the new account will still have the same IP address since it’s coming from the same computer. I hope that solves the problem.

  7. DoverBill says:

    Who doesn’t like a good train wreck every now and then?

  8. Don Chandler says:

    But did the user (imposter) still link to FLL’s other posts? You see, names are not unique but the content under the name is unique. So the imposter should have a new history if they created a new user name, FLL. Not the case here. So I think it’s a hack on the real FLL’s acct….

  9. FLL says:

    Thanks.

  10. Moderator4 says:

    After spending an inordinate amount of time searching the Disqus website (which is really unnecessarily complicated and full of unhelpful pages), I did find out that, indeed, “Guest users can post under any name, as display names do not have to be unique.”
    You can see more information about what to do if someone else is posting using your account here: https://help.disqus.com/customer/portal/articles/466225-is-someone-else-posting-using-my-account-
    Disqus wants users to go to their “Discuss Disqus” page with any problems. I have never found it to be particularly helpful, but that website is here:
    https://disqus.com/home/channel/discussdisqus/discussion/channel-discussdisqus/discuss_disqus_101/?utm_campaign=form_referral&utm_content=publisher_form&utm_source=disqus_support&utm_medium=website

  11. FLL says:

    Yes, I don’t think I’d call it a “feature” of Disqus. I’d definitely call it a flaw of Disqus. Could I possibly be right about how easy it is to impersonate someone on Disqus? It just sounds too easy to be true.

  12. Moderator3 says:

    I would call it a terrible glitch.

  13. FLL says:

    No, this is my computer at home. It makes sense that the IP address is the same because both Disqus accounts were created on the same computer. At first, I just tried to change my password in Disqus, but my ISP email address (which I hardly use at all) wouldn’t receive the Disqus notification email for changing your password. Then I tested sending emails from my college and personal email accounts, and absolutely my ISP email address was unable to receive any emails at all. Normally, if you send an email to a nonexistent email address, you’ll get a mailserver error, but I didn’t even get that.

    So I thought the only thing to do was open a new Disqus with another email account. Disqus let me do it and even let me use the same username, FLL, and the same avatar. I would like to delete the old Disqus account, but in Disqus settings, there is only one button at the bottom to “delete account,” and I’m afraid that this would delete the current Disqus account (the one that works). Is there any way to delete the old Disqus account without deleting the current one I’m using now to send this reply?

    By the way, the problem with my ISP email might have nothing to do with any “hacker.” It might just be something that had to be reset, but I never noticed since I hardly use that email account. The “hacking” might be nothing more than someone creating a new Disqus account using any extra email address, using my username (FLL) and my avatar (since you can just copy the jpeg to your hard drive). It might actually be that easy to impersonate someone using Disqus. I wouldn’t call that hacking. I would call it child’s play. Isn’t that odd?

  14. Moderator3 says:

    Are you using a public computer or a computer someone else can use? The IP address is the same for you and the fake you.

  15. FLL says:

    Actually, now that I think about it, it’s strange that Disqus allowed me to do what I just did: create another Disqus account from another email address but use the same username and avatar. I mean, could I (or anyone) just open a new Disqus account with the username “Jon Green” and copy and use Jon’s avatar? That would be kind of strange. Just a thought.

  16. FLL says:

    Thanks. The email account I was using didn’t accept any notifications from Disqus, so I opened a new account with another email. Disqus allowed me to use the same username, FLL. I don’t think that means that anybody can just open a Disqus account using someone else’s username, copying their jpeg avatar and then posting under the other person’s Disqus account. That just sounds too chaotic. I think Disqus checks the email address. In any case, I’ll use my new account/email (same username and avatar) and see how that works.

  17. Moderator3 says:

    You may want to contact DISQUS.

  18. FLL says:

    Jon,

    The moderators removed both the comment that was maliciously placed under Nicho’s comment (as well as Nicho’s reply), but like a vampire, both the very determined hacker and the comment and Nicho’s reply are back (but now they are farther down on the thread than before).

    OK, Jon, it’s a relaxed Sunday, so I’ll change my Disqus password and see if that does the trick. Another strategy, if that doesn’t work, is (with your permission) to close the Disqus account I have under the current email address and open a new Disqus with the same username but a different email address. If the hacker persists after that, I will conduct a scientific test. (LOL.) I will limit my comments in a certain unnamed way for a while, and then I’ll post comments in the more usual unlimited fashion. I will then compare the results to determine if the two different “circumstances” account for the appearance of the hacked comments.

  19. 2karmanot says:

    He says ‘Democrat’, I say ‘Democrap’, let’s call the whole thing off. :-)

  20. 2karmanot says:

    FLL….probably hacked. About a year and a half ago, some AHole captured my avatar and published right wing troll spam under my name here. Maybe he came out of hibernation. Don’t get paranoid about the mods, you’ve been here a long time and must know how careful they are and how hard working. M

  21. FLL says:

    Indigo suggested that it was hackers too. That’s the most reasonable explanation. Agreed.

  22. FLL says:

    I would like to think it’s hackers. Thank you for mentioning that possibility. I’ll guess that it’s the most reasonable explanation.

  23. Indigo says:

    Yeah . . . things are getting wonky around here. I don’t know what it’s about, though. Hackers, maybe.

  24. Jon Green says:

    Hey FLL-

    I spoke with the other moderators. None of them have the ability to post comments under someone else’s account, and I don’t think I do, either. It’s possible that your account was hacked? I’m not sure what to tell you other than it really, really wasn’t us. Of course we want you to keep commenting here.

    No matter what the cause, sorry for the confusion and for someone being a jerk in your name. I’d be as if not more upset than you are if someone did that to me.

    I’ll double-check who has admin privileges, but again, I don’t think admins have the ability to do what’s been described.

    Jon

  25. UncleBucky says:

    OK.

    TRUMP POWER TOWER PARTY 2016!!!

    TRUMP/PALIN 2016!!! The TRUE Conservative Party!

    This is HUUUUGE!

    {snicker}

  26. FLL says:

    You’re on to something here. The Republican Party is, at this point, a rump party. The “base,” such as it is, has a large percentage of crazies, and those crazies will follow The Donald. That’s why the RNC is so terrified of Trump. The shrinking Republican base will follow Trump right over the cliff.

  27. mark_in_toronto says:

    Correct. It was actually a “press conference” . . . one where the candidates rarely answered the actual questions.

  28. FLL says:

    I am being completely honest here. I didn’t post that, although I might have written it about a half a year ago, and I don’t even remember who I was replying to. Please accept my apologies for any misunderstanding.

  29. nicho says:

    It confused me because I didn’t think I was trolling and your purported “response” didn’t seem to make sense. Hence my “meds” reply.

  30. FLL says:

    Americablog readers:

    I posted a comment that criticized a comment in which Bill Perdue drew an equivalency between the Republican debates and discussion between the Democratic candidates (Clinton, Sanders, etc.), even though there have been no Democratic debates as of yet. Well, folks, someone with administrator privileges apparently took offense at my criticism of Bill’s comment and decided to take matters into their own hands. They dug up an old reply of mine from a thread from quite a while ago and cut and pasted it underneath one of Nicho’s comments from today’s thread (ignoring the fact that the reply doesn’t logically follow Nicho’s comment and also ignoring the fact that I posted a “like” on one of Nicho’s other comments on this thread). That is no way to run a blog.

  31. FLL says:

    Cutting and pasting old replies of mine from threads from quite a while ago? Just for fun? Really?

  32. FLL says:

    NIcho, I did not post the reply that you see below. That is a completely different reply from a thread from a while ago. I asked the moderators to figure out how that happened and to then remove the reply.

  33. FLL says:

    John Green and Moderators: An old reply of mine from a thread from quite a long time ago has wound up on this thread from today. Could you check that please. I didn’t reply to Nicho on this thread from August 7, 2015. How did my reply from a while ago wind up on today’s thread

  34. BeccaM says:

    Somehow I do not think Miss Marple would have referred to a political candidate as having performed body modifications for the sexual stimulation of his financial backers… ;-)

  35. Bill_Perdue says:

    People will judge me on my steady opposition to the racsim, warmongering and union busting of the Democrat (sic) and oligarchic Republicans parties and my refusal to pretend that one is better or worse than the other. They’re the same.

  36. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    No, grammatical rules don’t have the force of law, but people do judge you by your ability to follow those rules. Many people will not pay attention to someone who can’t follow those rules. I’m not certain how that makes the distinction that you want it to make.

  37. 2karmanot says:

    Daaaahm….when you are good, yas are so bad. Well done Becca!

  38. Bookbinder says:

    Trumpet has the Archie bunker vote all locked up. So, what happens when the Archies finally find out he’s Jewish? Don’t run out of popcorn.

  39. Bill_Perdue says:

    Grammatical rules don’t have the force of law.

  40. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    You’re also expressing your disdain for the English language. You don’t seem to have a problem expressing your opinions, so why stomp on the English language?

  41. Bill_Perdue says:

    Sorry about your brain.

    I do use the term Democrats on occasion but not when I’m pointing out their faults, I try to differentiate between the owners of that party and those who merely make the gross error of voting for them.

    You can’t do that and say ‘Democrats”. It’s not exclusive.

    And finally I want to express my disdain for the Democrat party and it’s leaders because they’re warmongers, racists and union busters. They don’t deserve any respect.

  42. timncguy says:

    It just hurts my brain to hear/see a noun used as an adjective. You can fix it by writing it like this…
    “There is nothing in the internal life or the political life of Democrats to justify calling them democratic”.

  43. emjayay says:

    Spoken almost like Miss Marple. PBS is running the old BBC Miss Marple series originally seen here on Bravo (I think) with the awesome Joan Hickson as Miss Jane.

  44. Bill_Perdue says:

    The leaders and owners of the Democrat party, along with their brothers and sisters in the oligarchic Republicans and the wolf eat wolf Libertarians are racist enemies of working people and the fight for peace.

    They should be criticized, but not subtly.

  45. emjayay says:

    When someone points out a grammatical or pronunciation mistake I am making, I thank them and correct it. “Democrat party” is what the Tea Party types use, either from ignorance or to subtly demean the other party.

  46. Bill_Perdue says:

    The central question, which you don’t dispute, is political and not grammatical.

    There is nothing in the internal life or the political life of the Democrat party to justify calling it democratic.

    Nothing.

  47. timncguy says:

    Well, there is always grammar. Democrat is a noun. Democratic is an adjective. Your use is as an adjective. You would have been fine if you just didn’t use the noun “parties” in your sentence.

  48. DCinDC says:

    The GOP debate was great entertainment. A true reality show with no substance. The candidates were more like cartoon characters than principled knowledgeable candidates for the US presidency. Vote for one of these guys? Nawwwww! Great entertainment? Yessss!

  49. Bill_Perdue says:

    She seems to have the Dixiecrat and the Republicrat votes tied up.

  50. Bill_Perdue says:

    Hillary won the race to the bottom by:

    being the Senator from WalMart – “Clinton served on Wal-Mart’s board of
    directors for six years when her husband was governor of Arkansas. And the Rose
    Law Firm, where she was a partner, handled many of the Arkansas-based company’s legal affairs.”
    Common Dreams March 12 2006

    being best buds with Santorum and Brownback (2), “Through all of her years in Washington, Clinton has been an active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as the Fellowship. Her collaborations with right-wingers such as Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) grow in part from that connection. ” … Clinton’s prayer group was part of the Fellowship (or “the Family”) … The Fellowship believes that the elite win power by the will of God, who uses them for his purposes. Its mission is to help the powerful understand their role in God’s plan. …With Santorum, Clinton co-sponsored the Workplace Religious Freedom Act… http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2007/09/hillarys-prayer-hillary-clintons-religion-and-politics?page=3

    by keeping her mouth tightly zippered about Bill Clinton’s NAFTA, his deregulation, his DADT and his DOMA,

    by using Bill Clinton’s lies about WMDS as the basis for her rabid support of George Bush Jr’s invasion of Iraq, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWT587vW5E4 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkS9y5t0tR0

    by not lifting a finger to stop the murder of hundreds of gay youth in Iraq during the US occupation (to be precise, she wrote a memo),

    by being the opening shot in the racist reaction to Obama’s election – “Hillary Struggles Against Sexism But Regularly Plays Race Card – In the face of raw, media-driven misogyny, Clinton resorts to playing the race card and loses some women’s support in the process. “Yet what is most troubling is that the Clinton campaign has used her rival’s race against him.” http://www.thenation.com/article/race-bottom-0

    by being a tool of the rich until she and Clinton Inc. became part of the 1% – http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/more_2016_candidates_embrace_the_donald_trump_zeitgeistincluding_hillary

    and by being the last Democrat/Dixiecrat anti-gay politician of note to reband – “Hillary Clinton evolved on same-sex marriage within the first 72 hours of her presidential run, as her campaign said Wednesday that the former secretary of state now backs marriage equality as a US constitutional right. … The about-face … represents a significant – if not completely unexpected – shift from her previous statements that same-sex marriage should be legislated state-by-state rather than on the federal level.” http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/apr/15/hillary-clinton-gay-marriage-presidential-campaign?CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

  51. Bill_Perdue says:

    It he got money from it he’d be as vile as the Clintons. All the Democrat and Republican candidates are in a race to the bottom and the winner gets to be President.

    “As Secretary Clinton presided over our nation’s foreign policy, her husband continued to rake in millions of dollars for the couple from domestic and foreign corporations. In particular, foreign firms in favor of the Trans-Pacific Partnership paid her husband $1.5 million.

    After departing the State Department, Hillary decided to join the lecture circuit herself. Although we don’t have any comprehensive financial disclosures for 2013, it is telling that two of her first addresses were for the Goldman Sachs megabank, where she reportedly earned $200,000 per address.

    In 2014, the year Clinton was elevated to an all-but-certain presidential candidate, the power couple brought in enormous amounts of money from Wall Street. Bill Clinton gave an address to Bank of America in London that netted $500,000. Recall that this was a bank that netted $45 billion from taxpayers, thanks to a bailout package Hillary supported. That’s an 8,999,990 percent return on investment.http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/clintons-made-wall-street-richer-and-it-returned-favor

  52. benb says:

    Donald Trump was the star. He drew viewers that wouldn’t have watched otherwise. I would like to know—being that Trump is the big deal maker—what was his cut from the commercials Fox played during the debate? So, what did Trump get? What did the RNC get? Any news org would have jumped at the chance to handle the first debate so Fox didn’t have leverage. That being the case…who got the money?

  53. Bill_Perdue says:

    There is nothing in the internal life or the political life of the Democrat party to justify calling it democratic. Nothing.

  54. BeccaM says:

    Thank you, I appreciate it. You’re most kind.

  55. mf_roe says:

    Hillary has ideology identity issues, had she stayed a Republican she may have achieved more of the agenda that fits her true self. Sadly, she made a Faustian bargain when she traded for a ride on Bill’s Deception Rocket. She fools many Dems and maybe a few real progressives, but she leaves many others with a questionable aftertaste. Her ability to unite Repugs would work in her favor if she had always embraced the Party as well as its tenets.

  56. timncguy says:

    that would be Democratic

  57. Indigo says:

    Thing is, he’s right. This is the loudest, dumbest, most stupidist (sic!), richest, most Catholic (how did that happen?) crowd since divorced, devout pseudo-Catholic, B movie star Ronald Reagan, co-star with Bonzo the monkey, happened on the scene. All they need now is another speech by Clint Eastwood to complete the cast.

  58. nicho says:

    Take your meds. Or call an attendant. Hillary was leading in all the polls in 2007 — until some Mooslim from Kenya wiped the floor with her in January 2008. She never led another poll.

  59. FLL says:

    Hillary 2007. Remember? No, you don’t remember because you really don’t want to remember. Republican troll.

  60. Doug105 says:

    Ok, I was going to leave you out of it, mostly just post to annoy.
    Still its an awesome breakdown thank you for writing it, I wish I had your skills with words.

  61. BeccaM says:

    I’d rather not have exposure over there. There’s a reason I post on AmericaBlog and other progressive sites and not on the wingnut ones.

  62. 2patricius2 says:

    Chuck Todd is a dolt and a shill for his Republicant cronies.

  63. BeccaM says:

    Hey, Chuck Todd says it’s the strongest field of GOP candidates since Reagan. Literally.

  64. BeccaM says:

    Thanks Fixer. :-)

  65. nicho says:

    Meanwhile, according to the local rag, “conservatives” are beaming that they have so many perfectly qualified candidates from which to choose. It just proves that god is on their side.

  66. nicho says:

    You jusy wait until Hillary gets that halo adjusted just right. You’ll come around. You’ll see.

  67. MoonDragon says:

    The “debate” reaffirmed that, while what passes for the remnants of rational people in the Republican party and the corporatists (Chamber of Commerce types) are all duly horrified by the prospect of Trump, he’s the only clown that really generates enthusiasm. What gives them bloody diarrhea is the knowledge that that enthusiasm will follow him if he bolts the party.

  68. arcadesproject says:

    The ‘debate’ was an exercise in advanced decadence. Once upon a time, a Republic was fashioned by people who were among the best minds of their era. Said Republic was far from perfect but it was a grand achievement nevertheless. People pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to their creation. Now we get Donald Trump. Etcetera. People whose minds are shallow and vulgar and who have absolutely no frigging notion whatsoever of ‘sacred honor.’
    Thus have we devolved. Thus have we decayed.

  69. FLL says:

    The Donald has threatened to run as an independent, and I take that threat seriously. An independent run on the right always happens when folks know that the Republican brand is doomed, as happened with Ross Perot in 1992. The results from 1992 were Clinton 43%, Bush 37.5%, Perot 18.9%.

  70. The_Fixer says:

    Personally, I think the weird hairdo is because he’s had his scalp surgically altered to be ribbed, for their pleasure.

    Priceless!

  71. FLL says:

    The race to the bottom—at the moment—is on the Republican side. There have been no debates at all on the Democratic side, as yet. Don’t you think it’s obvious that some commenters are prejudging events that haven’t even taken place yet? Trolls or spammers? You decide. Personally, I think the first dozen such comments are trollish. However, the 10,000th such comment is spam. Can we describe a comparison between the Republican debates and events that have not yet occurred as false equivalency? Do ya think? Maybe? Duh.

  72. Bill_Perdue says:

    The race to the bottom by the Democrat and Republican parties and their candidates is gathering speed. It’s irreversible.

  73. Quilla says:

    All very well critiqued, BeccaM.

    But, seriously, tell us how you really feel. :)

  74. BeccaM says:

    At this point, it is my belief this is the most likely outcome, unless Trump’s polling numbers collapse and/or he’s beaten badly in the early primaries.

  75. Indigo says:

    I went to book club. We had an excellent discussion of ‘Swamplandia!’ by Karen Russel. Poignantly Floridian in the good sense, heart-breaking, an accurate picture of much of what the Sunshine State really looks like. Wonderful book! Then I got home and thought to check out the Game of Clowns, located the Fox News station after considerable search (I mean . . . when would I actually want to watch that?) only to find Christie and Paul shouting at each other. I gave it 45 seconds and moved on with my evening.

  76. Indigo says:

    It’d all be so much more fun if The Donald ran as an independent. Ross Perot redux.

  77. nicho says:

    I’ll believe that was a “debate” if you believe that the local tittie bar is really a “gentlemen’s club.”

  78. Quilla says:

    Wait…that “debate” was on FOX? I thought it was Comedy Central.

  79. BeccaM says:

    Oh, I don’t know that I’d call last night’s horror-show a train wreck. The latter term implies the debates failed to accomplish what Roger Ailes and Fux Noise set out to do: Winnow down the field early so that the eventual nominee is coronated and can face Hillary Clinton (or, as might happen in a small percentage of the Earth multiverses, Bernie Sanders) in as strong a position as possible. Rather than what happened last time, which was a constant parade of This Week’s Not-Romney, followed by flame-out and replacement, until the Ur-Romney, Mr. 47%, was the only one left standing. Or rather, staggering, disheveled, and accepted only with resentful resignation by the GOP’s base.

    Trump remains the embodiment of the Republican Conservative Whackadoo Id. He doesn’t give a f*ck whether he offends people or contradicts previously stated positions or anything. He’s actually proud of being a corrupt rich bastard who’s repeatedly taken advantage of this country’s lax corporate bankruptcy laws. He’s like that old Jim Carrey movie, ‘The Mask’, where egomania is combined with unshakable delusions, only wearing a ferret and colored orange. And let’s face it: His greatest strength in today’s GOP is Trump’s egomania is made of an adamantium-vibranium alloy, utterly impenetrable. Reagan’s zombie corpse only wishes his proverbial ‘Teflon’ was this good.

    Jeb! (“Don’t Say My Name!”) Bush is the establishment GOP’s preference, because they love their retreads, reboots, and sequels. Bush would most likely govern just like his brother: Haphazardly, lazily, and with lots of vacations, but with eyes constantly on the conservative prize. But time and time again, he comes across as the one Bush brother with whom you wouldn’t want to knock back a few beers. He’s Dubya without the frat-boy pseudo-charisma. Plus a lot of people haven’t forgotten how badly his brother f*cked up the country…which set the stage for the current president. The only reason he’s a viable candidate at all — blatant nepotism — is the one thing he’s frantically hoping we’ll all forget. Double-plus, Terri Schaivo.

    Scott Walker is the Billionaires’ Boy, in the race primarily because he’s built his entire political career on doing exactly what he’s told–consisting mainly of attempting to roll back everything to the Robber Baron era. When the Koch Brothers tell him to jump, he pauses only to ask them please to unpucker their behinds so he can achieve maximum cranial penetration. Personally, I think the weird hairdo is because he’s had his scalp surgically altered to be ribbed, for their pleasure. Also, last night he basically implied that a woman with a dead fetus inside her can just f*ck off and die already because he wants to outlaw every single abortion exception. This position is popular among the far, far, far, far-right forced-pregnancy extremists, but even a significant portion of the GOP base will say, “Wait-wha? No no, that’s too much. Someone in my own family had or might need an abortion under those circumstances. I just don’t want other people’s wimmenfolk getting abortions.”

    Chris Christie, of course, is running to be America’s Bully-in-Chief and every word from him, every gesture, is predicated by his personal comfort in being a bully who offers his victims (who is everybody who isn’t Chris Christie) exactly two choices: Be my ‘friend’ and do everything I tell you to do without question, or be snarled at and pummeled. He’s the guy who steals your lunch money, then forces you to thank him for doing so (i.e., Social Security and Medicare cuts and/or repeal, a position he blithely has forgotten is unpopular even among the GOP base). He shares a problem with Walker: A better than even chance of failing to carry his own state in the general election. And then there’s the fact he failed to spit on President Obama after the Hurricane Sandy disaster… Plus, felony indictments over Bridgegate (and its associated patronage corruption scandals) aren’t totally out of the question yet.

    Rand Paul…well, at least he’s consistent when he tries, like with the NSA stuff. Unfortunately he’s caught between saying what his radical libertarian backers want him to say and the far-right conservative orthodoxy he’s forced to support if he’s to have any hope of being the GOP’s nominee. So consistency has to be jettisoned first, like the fat guy in a badly overloaded lifeboat. Basically, the party in which he’d probably like to run doesn’t exist. (Which is a problem he shares with Bernie Sanders…) Paul does seem to be comfortable abridging the liberties of women, non-Christians, and gay people, however. Also, the stoners don’t realize he’s already tossed them from the lifeboat, too.

    Marco Rubio–the Not Ready for Prime-Time Candidate. The guy who repeatedly disavows the positions he supported and even the bills he’s co-sponsored. Desperately spinning to try to convince people he’s never violated the GOP’s current Torquemada-level conservative orthodoxy, he succeeds only in drawing attention to his many violations of it. Such as permitting a rape or incest exception in an abortion ban, or failing to vote to shut down the government because Obama. (People also haven’t forgotten Mr. Gulpy McThirsty.)

    John Kasich is trying to be the Kinder, Gentler Republican Candidate, the 21st century’s George H.W. Bush…only he’s arrived three decades too late for that. Today’s GOP wants people to suffer and die rather than have access to any sort of health care that can be traced back to that black guy currently in the White House, so he’ll never be forgiven for Ohio’s Medicaid expansion. He’s also been the Koch Brothers’ butt-boy there in Ohio, pushing for tax cuts and deregulation and fracking everywhere, along with the requisite voter suppression measures. He is indeed quite possibly the best candidate the Republicans have because non-Republicans would be likely to vote for him…but that’s not what the red-meat craving GOP base demands. Which is a 100% adherence to radical conservative “Let Them Die!” orthodoxy.

    Ted Cruz: Everybody with the means to help make him the GOP presidential candidate hates him. His own party’s leaders loathe him. He also just pissed off the gun fetishists by mistaking an AR-47 for a machine gun. He’s the kid desperately trying to be cool and liked, but inevitably alienating everyone because he can’t control his dickish impulses. He’s the guy running for Student Council President on a platform of imposing curfews, dress codes and teenage driving restrictions. Next.

    Ben Carson: Seems to forget why he’s running or even whether he is. Apparently up there on the stage just to field the one question about race and to provide the facade that the GOP isn’t solely a party for the benefit of rich white dudes. The only thing people will remember from last night was his enthusiastic embrace of torture in open defiance of the law and international treaty obligations. (Seriously and in all honesty, I am beginning to think the guy is suffering from some kind of neurological disease. Listening to him, he’s like a guy who’s no longer all-there.)

    Mike Huckabee: Wrapped in the flag and carrying a Titan-sized cross. Just sayin’. He’s the guy clearly itching to use the U.S. armed forces to impose martial law and his own New Gilead nightmare vision of American theocracy. All I can say is thank Cthulhu he doesn’t have the financial backing the other major candidates do. And that he’s up there at a Ted Cruz level of anti-charm.

    As for the JV squad, I do think Carly Fiorina is running for the Veep slot. But as soon as people remember again she’s the Fiorina who destroyed Hewlett-Packard…
    Lindsay Graham: “Oh my stahs and gahtahs, I’m so manly I would declare war IMMEDIATELY!”
    Rick Perry: “Still oops. But I also still really, really like having people killed.” Also under felony indictment.
    Piyush ‘Bobby’ Jindal: Lightweight from a state that probably never would’ve elected him governor if the GOP voters there ever realized his first name wasn’t really Bobby.
    Rick “Don’t Google My Name!” Santorum: Still can’t keep from obsessing about Teh Gay and the candidate most likely to be wearing barbed wire cilices around both thighs and his dick.
    Pataki and Gilmore, both: “Hey, Guiliani isn’t the only one who will compulsively blurt ‘9/11’ like an ill-trained parrot!”

    Like I said, the goal of Faux News and Ailes was to winnow down the field considerably. I think in coming weeks, it’ll be evident this succeeded, even if the zombies don’t yet realize they’re already dead as viable candidates. The single biggest problem they and the GOP have is the continued candidacy of Donald Trump, the guy who refused to rule out a third party independent run if he doesn’t win the GOP nomination. He’s their continued nightmare.

  80. The_Fixer says:

    I just could not bear to watch it. I saw pertinent clips, and that was more than enough for me.

    Local media here covered Walker, and it was the same old horseshit that he’s been spouting all along. Trump did what everyone expected him to do. Christie was his usual idiotic self, and Rand Paul is still out there in LibertarianLand.

    I think I was much more amused by the linked story about the idiot who took out his TV. Forgot to load his gun, and then when he finally did, he not only shot it once, but 3 times. Like the first shot wasn’t going to render an already shitty TV inoperable.

    You see, I repaired a huge number of that model TV about 10 years ago and I am willing to bet that his TV was already inoperable before he even shot it. That thing was from the early-mid 90s, and if it was still working, then he truly should be thanking his god for providing him with a miracle.

    Oh, and he risked a dangerous implosion of the picture tube if he didn’t shoot it right. Another imbecile escapes serious injury. “Hold mah beer and watch this!”

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