By: Dan Abramson
Hey! Welcome to the post in which someone with a cursory knowledge of how our country works breaks down a Presidential debate. Luckily most of the people on stage in Las Vegas are not real people, thus there's no need take them seriously. Let's begin.
Oh, also, I'm new to watching these live so I've got a quick question: Do all debates start like this? With Ryan Seacrest coming out on shiny stage, with people hooting and hollering?
Anyway, after Seacrest/Anderson Cooper took the stage, they cut to a pretaped intro. An over-the-top voiceover listed all the candidates, attempting to make each sound like an electrifying choice. It used words like “meteoric” and “surging” to describe Perry and Cain. But when they got to Romney, the word was “steady.” Aw. Adorable. I'd love to see what the alternatives were.
CNN Exec #1: So for Romney, how about we go with “exists.”
CNN Exec #2: Too forceful.
CNN Exec #1: Hm. Instead of a word, we could just put a swatch of a sky blue on the screen. Something calming.
All the candidates took the stage one at a time, smiling, waving and mugging for the camera. Rick Perry of course incorporated as many gestures as possible: waving, saluting, giving a thumbs up, firing guns in the air. Here's a picture of him as he walked out:
The National Anthem was then sung, with Bachmann looking like a proud schoolteacher standing alongside her class.
Just kidding. If that were true, all of these students would be her children and the debate would have been held at her home. And she would be teaching lessons called “Dinosaurs and their symbiotic relationship with Jesus.”
Before they got down to the brass tacks, candidates were given the opportunity to introduce themselves for the 27th time. Cain announced he's “a 43 year business man so he knows how to make decisions.” Cool credentials, Cain. I'm glad you've distinguished yourself from anybody who's had a job for the majority of their adult lives. Also your pizza is terrible and makes me question this decision making of yours. Grow up.
Of all the candidates, Rick Perry actually had the best opening statement.
Wait, before we get to the issues they covered, I'd just like to take a moment to address Michele Bachmann's coat. I know I've seen it before but just can't put my finger on it. Oh wait. I got it:
Okay, so it's a little modified. The point is I'd be more comfortable with this guy running the country than her. All Americans get chimps. Four more years! Four more years!
So a running theme of the night, aside from anger, was attacking Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan — if you need a refresher, it's pretty much a tax plan that requires the government to stop trying to solve things and basically take a shit on the front lawn of lower-income voters. But don't worry, Cain defended it with conviction. And by conviction, I mean he copped out and said “read about it on my website.” Sorry Herman, we didn't realize there was a “Blogz” section on Godfatherspizza.com.
To be fair, Cain did have a legit rebuttal, in which he repeatedly said “Apples and Oranges.” Great. Glad we settled that.
Also, did anyone else notice that Rick Perry repeatedly called Herman Cain “brother?” I couldn't tell if this was his attempt to reel in the black vote (his jobs plan also had “Flava”) or pay tribute to the Macho Man. I hope both.
The clear highlight of the night was seeing Mitt Romney get fired up when Perry not only accused him of employing illegal immigrants, but repeatedly cut him off with his “I know you are but what am I” strategy. Mitt reacted by raising his voice and putting his hand on Perry's shoulder.
OH SHIT. The gloves are offffff. A lot has been made of Romney finally showing some emotion, but let's all just relax. It's not like he had the nervous breakdown we all assume is inevitable. You know the one in which he lets out a guttural scream and berates the other candidates. To Newt: “And you, you're the worst human being I've ever seen. Why are you still here?” That's pretty much what he'd say and nobody would question it.
All he did was touch another person's shoulder.
Rick Santorum employed a similar technique as Perry when debating Romney – using time-tested tactics such as jumping and shouting – accusing him of laying the groundwork for Obama's healthcare plan. The irony of this fight was essentially you had men in suits who want to run our nation accusing others of making it possible for people to afford health care. Awesome argument, guys. I can't wait to find out who won.
Santorum also went after Rick Perry for his stance on TARP. I have to assume the angst had been building for years after Rick Perry told him he threw like a girl at a GOP softball game. Also Rick Santorum had this to add:
GUYS! STOP FIGHTING IN FRONT OF GRANDPA!
So what can we gather from Tuesday night's debate? Eh, not much. Seemed like it was just a giant pissing contest in which everybody missed the target and peed on the pant legs of Mitt Romney. Brick Tamland even showed up at one point, screaming “I DON'T KNOW WHAT WE'RE YELLING ABOUT.”
Who won? Ummm, let's say Bachmann. Sure, why not. If only because she had to resort to this closing statement: