Just when I think I'm not going to be able to find anything funny to say about Fox News...they conduct a republican presidential debate, and put Donald Trump in control of the "Too Much Time" Buzzer.
Yes, this was the final debate, pre-Iowa Caucus. Yes, this was the first debate with Newtie in the "Secret Square". Yes, Bret Baier is, was and always will the least credible of all of the non-journalists pretending to be journalists at The Rove Network. But...when a cut shot to Newt...during one of Michele Bachmann's early answers, showed Gingrich rolling his eyes toward the wing, followed by a hand gesture...FOLLOWED BY THE TOO MUCH TIME BUZZER...in an effort to terminate the onslaught, it was abundantly clear that Newtie, The Donald and Rupert Rove were obviously in cahoots.
The serious commentary to come...it simply amazes me that the debate opened with two questions to The Gingrinch Who Stole Christmas...which, even by the loosest possible standard (and for Bret Baier...we're talkin' looooooooooooose) which clearly weren't "debate questions". It was a five minute opportunity for The Gingrinch to flap his multiple jaws, about himself...and where there was no opportunity to have anyone respond to his drivel.
This opening Gingrinch monologue was followed, obviously by design...with a series of questions aimed at people OTHER THAN ROMNEY...until about 15 minutes into things, Mitt finally got a question posed to him.
The disastrous cut shot of Newt calling for Bachmann to get buzzed, was only part of the manipulation of the time constraint situation. Newt was buzzed only once during the entire debate and spoke uninterrupted for over a minute after the buzzing...without incident.
Huntsman...who continues to make the most sense, albeit using more "prepared remarks" than the others...was buzzed repeatedly, specifically admonished by The Poster Boy for Baier Family Birth Control...and finally, was cut off at one point in mid-answer.
Ron Paul...during an answer where he had just turned the tables on the grand inquisitor and sent Bret and his Spock ears home with a case of the red ass...was not only buzzed like a rented mule, AND admonished...he was re-re-buzzed as a sign of the host's disrespect and disgust, AFTER he had clearly finished an answer...which would have made further buzzing unnecessary.
So...Fox wanted Newt to have an opening five minute monologue, tried to keep Mitt Muzzled for longer than it made sense, so as to allow people who Fox thinks have no shot, operate to bolster the opening remarks of The Gingrinch...and to have those same comments, perceived of by Fox as not worthy of attention, operate as the lead-in to Mitt's first statements...in the hope that it would take Mitt half of his opening commentary just to get the viewers to put down their popcorn and give their attention.
Now...with that as the backdrop...How did everybody do?
Since the republicans insist on placing the candidates based on current poll numbers...let's follow suit.
Tricky Ricky Sanatarium gave his second somewhat reasonable performance. Thank God for lithium, eh? I continue to believe that foregoing time which he could spend with his dying daughter, in favor of campaigning for an office that Rupert Murdoch has a better chance of winning, IS an appropriate knock on Sen. Sanatarium...but, he was consistent, somewhat concise, and while thoroughly confused, WILL likely get the Chuckleberry endorsement, which will get him more votes at C-time, than Fox, or the frontrunners would like.
Jon Huntsman...almost makes me want to pen the sequel to Brian's Song and sell the rights to George Will so he can turn it into...The Destruction of the Would-Be President: 2012.
Huntsman is literally dying on the vine. Yes...he reads EVERY ANSWER...and must have War & Peace-style notes on his podium, BUT...republicans...you think you want Newt to debate Obama because The Lizard is smert-nuff ta out-shiiiiiine the president. M'kay...but, even if Newtie gave A+ answers to each question in those debates...each response of the president would still begin with..."Oh sure, Newtie...why don't you tell us how you've screwed everything with or without legs, stole money from every business partner you've ever had, AND...took over A HUNDRED MILLION IN LOBBYING FEES SINCE YOU GOT THROWN OUT OF THE CONGRESS?"
Now...what would the equally intelligent and eloquent Huntsman say when Obama attempted to slam him?
"Well...I'm quite surprised to see you taking shots at me, Mr. President...SINCE YOU HIRED ME...AND GAVE ME THE JOB OF REPRESENTING THIS COUNTRY IN OUR DEALINGS...WITH CHINA!"
But...enough about Huntsman. If Iowa doesn't pull the plug on him, formally...well, let's just leave it at, enough about Huntsman.
What can you say about a guy who wants Congress to work 5 months EVERY TWO YEARS..."cuz thas how we dew it down in Tex-ASS!"
Dear Mr. Perry...how many wars is Texass involved in at the moment? How man overhauls of programs impacting 50 states are those "pert-tighm" leg-is-lay-tors" responsible fer? How many foreign trade agreements and international accords do you vote on, and...oh by the way...are yew suggestin' that a Congress WHO CAINT AGREE ON ONE BUDGET...WOULD SHOW UP EVERY OTHER YEAR AND AGREE ON TWO?
Enough about Rick Perry.
I gave her props using her real name a few times today, because...she ROASTED Newtie...and...didn't mention Herman Cain once.
Mrs. Botchmann is clearly not the "serious candidate" she proclaimed. But, she did take on all comers last night and ruffled The Lizard in a way that not only took him off of his game, but...made it real clear that Newtie IS totally unstable when pressured.
Mrs. Botchmann probably earned back a few of the votes she lost in the last debate...and will likely hang in until South Carolina. She will however, get laughed out of New Hampshire & Florida, and end up appointing Herman Cain as Secretary of Defense...in the fictional Land of Lakes...once she declares herself the winner of its first and only presidential election
Mitt looked anxious at the opening bell...but, had 15 minutes to calm himself. Another Fox blunder which went unnoticed. I think Mitt was so upright about not being in the Center Square...that if he was peppered with questions FIRST...he may have actually soiled himself. As it stood, he was more presidential than usual, gave his best responses overall, dealt with Newtie, Fox, and the rest...BUT...is just never going to get out from underneath his record in Massachusetts.
Now...his real record in Massachusetts...given that he had to compromise on everything, was as good as it could have been. It just wasn't conservative enough at these here tighms, here in republucanville.
Mitt gave his best, and would be a good candidate in a competitve race, BUT...this was his last chance to show that he would carry the day conservatively...and it just didn't happen for him. The third place finish and much tougher NH primary than anticipated...followed by a 5th or 6th place showing in SC...may make Florida too little, too late.
Romney's endorsements of the past week also leave MUCH to be desired. If ya gottem in the bag, Mitt...you better trot out them big guns, now.
Ron was having a lackluster first half...in larger part to the fact that he was being asked questions designed to minimize his significance. However...when he got hit with the Iran & Earmark questions...Ron's face lit up, he could feel a new gas bubble brewing in the pit of his stomach, and he let Baier, Botchmann, The Gingrinch and the rest of them have it.
I don't think, on the whole, it was Paul's best debate. He allowed himself to be contained until late in the game and almost seemed to be begging for relevance, yet again...until Baier gave him the opening...which he did take.
I'm glad Fox and noted others nationwide felt enough of the Ron Paul campaign to feel the need to crush it. I'm honored by the commentators, nationwide who have adopted my take on Ron Paul...and while he didn't hurt himself in this debate...he didn't really help himself either.
Ron Paul can win Iowa...but, after this debate, he has more work to to, than before.
The Gingrinch Who Stole Iowa?
The good news is...Newt is one of those guys that if you just let him keep talking, you find out that the answer is "no".
There is NO limit to the man's pompousity. There is also no number not attainable on the Asshole Meter, the Pain in the Ass Scale, the Arrogance Quotient, and generally...you can understand why most reasonable, rational, logical and compassionate human beings who don't hate women, minorities, animals and anyone not like him...would ultimately want to take a bat to his knees.
George Will...quoted twice by Mrs. Botchmann, WILL win out. Enough republicans will determine Newt to be as unworthy to serve AS HE IS unworthy to serve...but, perhaps not in Iowa. Two candidates can win Iowa...Ron Paul...and Newt.
Newt, as always...sounded intelligent. He's "an historian"...which is why every answer starts with "Ronald Reagan"...OR "...in the year1802...".
At some point...this gets old, boring...and of absolutely no interest to someone in foreclosure and without a job, in 2012...especially when you have no real plan to change their lives.
Newt had a good performance. He was more cocky than confident, but then...he is The Lizard. He spent too much time talking about the past and not enough about the present. He didn't deal well at all with Botchmann...but deflected from the others quite well. He will always sound the part...but...while we may be a forgiving people in some senses...Newt will not, in the end be able to re-make himself in his own image, or erase the multitude of past improprieties.
Newt peaked at the right time. Bad news for Newt...no more debates. Just six competitors, hundreds of Iowa TV stations...and millions in ad dollars that are aimed at his anus.
Long Post...my apologies, but...these are important times.
Tomorrow...An assessment of the potential candidates NOT on last night's stage.