It was fight night in Ames, Iowa Thursday and FOX News actually did a good job. (Seriously, they did! It was an entertaining, if too damn long, two hour debate!) Chris Wallace and the homies asked almost all the crazy, shit-stirring questions you could ever want, causing Presidential wannabe Tim Pawlenty to point his weak chin in his fellow Minnesotan Michele Bachmann's direction and start the fisticuffs. But because Pawlenty is hopelessly lame, Bachmann and her delicious word salad was successful in beating him back every time. Most notably by saying T-Paw is Obama-like.
Oh no she didn't!
It was T-Paw's own fault he was slapped down by Bachmann. Mostly because he tries to hard and kind of sucks as a candidate. He tried to get in a dig at Mitt Romney, but my-fair-Mittens only grinned out of cold, robotic pity. He made some stupid promise to fix me dinner or mow my lawn if I could find evidence of President Obama's plans for anything. (I like my sirloin cooked with a warm, pink center, T-Paw. And if I have to excessively chew anything, I'm throwin' elbows.) But it was obvious the whole "Obama has no plan, but if he does, I'll be your gardener" routine was a set up to get Mittens. T-Paw ended the stupid joke with an ol' "But in case Mitt wins I'm limited to one acre."
Hahahahahahaha, Mittens is rich! (Like almost everyone else on that stage, only slightly more so). Hahahahahaha. Super funny. Wait? I thought Republicans like rich people? CLASS WARFARE! CLASS WARFARE! Flag on the play! Man down!
To Mittens credit, though, he didn't give a shit. When asked to respond, he had a non-reaction. The joke was that dumb.
Mittens was on fire during the debate, if fire = avoidance. That dude was a bobbin' and a weavin' and a refusin' to give a straight answer on anything. As one person tweeted me during my impromptu Live TweetRant GOP Marathon last night, Romney had an air of "You'll never catch me alive!" about him.
I'd add it was a very, "You'll never catch me (giving a straight answer on anything) alive."
For example, here was a typical Romney answer to a basic question:
Romney cited the 10th amendment to argue that Massachusetts had the right to implement its plan, whereas the federal Affordable Care Act was an overreach. When host Chris Wallace asked where in the Constitution it says that the government can implement an individual mandate, Romney challenged Wallace:
"Are you familiar with the Massachusetts constitution? I am. The Massachusetts constitution allows states for instance, to say our kids have to go to school. It has that power. The question is, is that a good or bad idea? I understand different people come to different conclusions. What we did in our state was this: We said, we're finding people are going to the hospital and getting the state to pay for them. Taxpayers are picking up hundreds of millions of dollars of costs from people who are free riders. We said we are going to insist those people who can afford to pay for themselves do so. We believe in personal responsibility. ... That was our conclusion. The right answer for every state is to determine what is right for those states, not to impose Obamacare on the nation. That's why I would repeal it."
Oh. The Massachusetts Constitution? O RLY? I thought we were talking about the U.S. Constitution. Never mind. Move along, folks. Nothing to see here.
It was also fun to watch how clearly out-of-touch you have to be when Grover Norquist has a library of compromising photos of you with farm animals. All the candidates were against raising ANY taxes. Ever. Even on a 10-to-1 cuts versus revenue raising compromise. It's amazing that just because former President George H.W. "Poppy" Bush once uttered that "No new taxes" line, then raised some taxes out of necessity, then lost the 1992 election (and not so much because of this line, but more-so because of third rail candidate Ross Perot), you've now got GOPers who won't even consider raising taxes, even when it's patently irresponsible not to do so, even when a majority of Americans (more than 60 percent) think the rich should be paying their fair share of taxes, instead of benefiting from that Bush Tax Cut for fancy people and all those tax break loopholes that exist in our code for businesses.
Numbnuts, Bush the elder lost in 1992 because he was OUT OF TOUCH on the economy, just like all you mental midgets sound right now.
Which of course, in retrospect, makes T-Paw's lame attempt at a class uprising on Richie Rich look ever more pathetic.
They also all either danced around or came out against unemployment extensions. Which are also popular. And Bachmann decided to go down with her ship of "the debt ceiling shouldn't have been raised ... ever." Nice.
Bachmann was battling a lot during last night's debate (most of it from T-Paw), but then the FOX News instigators dropped a bomb on her, asking her if her religious belief in being "submissive" to her husband meant she was going to "submit" to her husband if she gets in the White House. Now, depending on what kind of Christian you are "submission" starts to have a fluid meaning. Traditionally, being submissive means "Shut up and fix me this steak, T-Paw. I don't care if you want to run America. Mama needs to eat." But if you talk to a lot of more modern Christian couples, it's about being respectful and loving towards each other. But then, with a lot of Religious Right folks, "submission" can sound a lot like traditional submission when you get to talking about control over women's bodies, how they dress, what careers they should pursue (if any), who's the head-of-household (Spoiler Alert: It's the dude), and a bunch of "feminism has ruined women with all these choices, because life was so much better when you had only two choices -- get married or die alone, taking care of your elderly father."
Which is what always makes it a little awkward to be the Christian Conservative lady person who wants to be President of the United States, but wants a return to traditional values where traditionally she would be told to go somewhere, sit down and shut up. As my mother used to shout at the original Ann Coulter, Phyllis Schlafly, whenever she would say womenfolk should not work and stay at home, "YOU DIDN'T STAY AT HOME!" But I secretly assume all the "ladies stay at home, ladies shouldn't vote" mess that comes out of folks like Schlafly-Coulter has more to do with wanting to be "down" with the boy's club at the expense of other lady people. Like, maybe if they smack around enough women they'll prove to the menfolk that they DO belong since they can oppress an inferior woman with the best of them.
That aside, Bachmann answered the submission question (which received boos for even being brought up), as best as she could:
What submission means to us, if that’s what your question is, it means respect. I respect my husband. And he respects me as his wife. That’s how we operate our marriage.
While a lot of people thought just asking this question was sexist, I think that for all the reasons I listed above -- it wasn't. If anything, FOX did her a favor. She was able to clarify something that clearly, in the imagination of others, could have been left up to some scary interpretations.
The consequence of being a conservative woman running for office is you're often found trumpeting "traditional" views of women as "empowering," saying things like "I'm submissive to my husband" to curry Christian conservative votes, ignoring what the word "submission" means to most people outside of the faith in a modern context. She should expect to get questions about it like Mitt Romney would get questions about his beliefs as a Mormon, or like questions former President John F. Kennedy had to tackle, saying he'd be for the American people, not the Pope, when Catholicism clearly states the Pope trumps whatever the American people are thinking.
From CafeMom's The Stir:
But the point is that should any political candidate -- regardless of sex -- say something along the lines of, "My spouse makes my decisions," a question like York's would be completely justified. Bachmann totally set herself up for it.
It was fair game. If you're coming from a culture where you endorse the patriarchy folks have a right to know that if your husband told you to bomb Iran you'd listen to maybe the Joint Chiefs or Congress or the voting public first before firing off those warheads.
You said that mess. Now EXPLAIN!
Unless you want to go the Newt Gingrich route, which is stamp your fists and act like a petulant man-child, constantly accusing the hosts of setting you up with "gotcha" questions about your self-imploding campaign and double-speak.
"I took seriously Bret’s injunction to put aside the talking points. And I wish you would put aside the gotcha questions," Gingrich said, vowing again that he'd forge ahead with his campaign: "Like Ronald Reagan, who had 13 senior staff resign … and his new campaign manager laid off 100 people … I intend to run on ideas.”
It was like his debate night strategy was be as whiney as possible, pass it off as "maturity" and being "above it all."
Ron Paul kept making sense with this whole Why don't we just talk to Iran? We talk to Russia and China and they have nukes. They can't even make enough gasoline for their country. They don't have an Air Force that can even come get us. They're much less a threat than the Soviets and we talked to the Soviets! And we've meddled in Iran's affairs before with the Shah and such and if I keep making sense you're all going to try to murder me, but it won't make it less true!
Also, Rick Santorum just made crap up all night and said the mess out-loud like people don't have the Google. Then threw a temper tantrum because it was obvious no one cared about anything he had to say. The one time he tried to start a fight with his fellow candidates no one said a damn thing and no one asked for a follow up to defend themselves. He was a non-factor. THE ... non-factor, even.
All-in-all, who won? I'd go with Chris Wallace for putting on a great show. After that, maybe Mittens for not messing up too bad. Then Rick Parry with an A for America and Iowa.