Texas Gov. Rick "Good Hair" Perry may have got the headline of Wednesday night's presidential debate by doubling-down on his "Social Security is a ponzi scheme" statements, but the real Ponzi shenanigans going on weren't coming from our entitlement programs, but about three-fourths of the candidates on that stage. Many of whom who weren't so much pushing campaigns, but pushing for future punditry/lobbying gigs and book deals. With their non-existent poll rankings and fatal personality flaws, they wasted time talking loud and signifying nothing while Jon Huntsman fought for relevancy and Ron Paul fought for respect. They were a cacophony of phonies you already forgot were running, grifting in the background while well-coiffed doppelgangers Perry and his seething prissy rival Willard "Mittens" Romney fought for America's hand in marriage.
Here's the highlights of a debate featuring your political Kens and one Barbie, known kooks, political hustlers and ... Ron Paul.
The Candidates From Mattel: Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman and Michele Bachmann
Good looking, but kind of all over the place on substance, our candidates from Mattel, like other Mattel products, are kind of plastic. But at least two of them are pretty popular right out the box and stand with a shot of moving into the greatest Dream House ever built. Another has the brains and the looks, but isn't the right flavor of wingnutty-meets-GOP swagger to appeal to any base. The last one is the only political Barbie actually running and she went from being a relatively popular "Onward Christian Soldiers," Minnesota Barbie to a discount bin "Debating Is Hard" Barbie.
If Michele Bachmann's goal was to separate herself from Mattel candidates line, she failed. Instead of looking like someone the press pushed as a potential front-runner, Bachmann wall-flowered her way back to being the not-ready-for-prime-time grifter she always was, just sucking up space to raise a profile towards her future book sales. She was easily shoved back into her box and placed on the second and third tier. She went away with a whimper and a few stilted statements about parental rights.
And if there was any "winner," it was probably my favorite insincere political Ken Doll, Mitt Romney, who, again, won by virtue of not screwing up. He didn't argue that corporations were people too, or shout who let the dog's out, or blubber out-of-touch rich guy speak (accept when he argued to tax the poor more, but this is a GOP debate). He even aggressively went after his look-a-like, Johnny-Come-Lately, New-Kid-In-Town usurper of front-running, Rick Perry.
Positioned next to each other, both dressed in dark suits, light blue ties and similar graying patterns in their hair, Romney had little choice with his front-runner status taken away from him by the new guy. Before going in on Perry's record in Texas, Mittens whipped out his sword and shouted "THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!"
From NY Daily News:
Perry crowed that he had created more jobs "in the last three months in Texas than four years in Massachusetts," during Romney's term.
"Wait a second," Romney shot back, ticking off the factors that helped Texas create jobs that Perry had no role in - like the absence of a state income tax, and oil and gas revenues.
"Those are wonderful things," Romney said, but he added that Perry taking credit for them is "like Al Gore saying he invented the Internet."
Perry charged that even Romney's liberal Democratic predecessor in Massachusetts had a better record. "Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt," he said
"George Bush and his predecessor created jobs faster than you did," Romney countered.
It was delightful. Gore and Dukakis references like this was a 1992 cartoon panel of Doonesbury.
But it all wasn't fluff and light and prissy fights. Perry was hammered by his opponents, specifically fellow Texan Rep. Ron Paul, who jumped on Perry for his 2007 executive order from Perry to make the anti-HPV vaccine Gardasil mandatory for Texas girls. Perry blustered and flustered, but had no real answer for "Why?" (Think money.) He just "hates cancer." Mmmkay.
He also re-committed to his "dangerous" statements that your grandma's Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme for young 'uns like you and I, believing we are paying into a system we will never benefit from.
... Perry said the program was a "Ponzi scheme" and added it was a lie to tell young workers they will ever receive the benefits they have been promised.
Romney quickly referred to Perry's book, "Fed Up," in which the Texas governor said that by any measure the program was a failure. Perry also said states should be able to opt out of the program,' Romney added.
Perry was unrepentant — "You cannot keep the status quo in place and call it anything other than a Ponzi scheme," he said.
And since this is Good Hair Perry -- all hat, boot and not-nary a cattle -- he didn't offer much in the way of a solution to this. This gave Mittens a chance to raise that sword up again, this time shouting "Thundercats, ho!" before going into his passionate defense of that old girl, Social Security, and why we should save her, rather than let her wither and die.
I really liked this moment for Mittens. It was like reality suddenly came crashing into the debate and one of the Ken Dolls remembered that Social Security is a pretty popular program, especially with those who vote. Mittens stood up for Our Lady of Retirement and reminded folks that the beef with Social Security isn't that folks want to get rid of it, they want it to actually BE THERE for them when they too become feeble and decrepit.
Another nice moment was when Perry, while suckling at the teat of Reagan, kicked all the Bushies under the table by saying ol' Karl Rove doesn't know what the hell he's talking about when it comes to Rick Perry and his desire to murder Social Security in her sleep.
"Karl has been over-the-top for a long time in some of his remarks ... I'm not responsible for Karl anymore," Perry puffed.
Yet while the Perry Mattel model didn't flounder too badly in his debate performance, the third Ken doll, Jon Huntsman of Utah, was lost in translation. Maybe he would have had better traction if he'd spoken Mandarin the whole time, but English wasn't working for him.
Huntsman tried to get in on some of that Al Gore-Michael Dukakis-George W. Bush snipping by pipping up about Utah ...
"I hate to rain on the parade of the great Lone Star State governor, but as governor of Utah, we were the No. 1 job creator during my years in service," Huntsman said.
... but nobody cared.
Even though he got some big boy treatment from the MSNBC moderators who didn't mind him talking as much as they minded it when the grifters and kooks went over their allotted seconds, Huntsman demurred when asked to call out which kooks and grifters were known anti-science nuts. He'd talked smack about the Republican war on Galileo, reignited in some stupid crap Rick Perry said, but pulled a Pawlenty when the moderators finally gave him a chance to go for anyone's jugular, since about half that stage is anti-science (except when it comes to women's bodies).
The Known Kooks, Grifters and Ron Paul: Featuring Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and, of course, Ron Paul
While taking turns servicing the corpse of Zombie President Ronald Reagan, the third rail candidates teetered between "It's on!" and "Oh, is my camera on?" As usual, Ron Paul, who routinely polls nicely in everything, refused to be put in the Kook/Grifter corner and demanded his ideas on abolishing the Fed and putting precious metals back in circulation be bumped up to the big boy, Mattel candidate level. And MSNBC, to their credit, tried to indulge Paul in this. Paul got to smack down Perry several times and do Seven Minutes In Heaven with Zombie Reagan just like the other "front-runners," while Newt, Santorum and Cain took turns being the answer to the question, "Wait? He's still running?"
For Ron Paul, who recently launched an ad attacking Perry for not being Reagan Enuf to be loved by Reagan, has proved that this campaign is, finally, not a game for him.
I feel like the first couple times Paul ran for president he was a little surprised, overwhelmed and bemused by the support. But after all that money he raised in 2008 and that Tea Party he helped inspire (then had it run away from him and get hijacked by Freedom Works and other lobbying conservative trolls), Paul is in this to ... well, I don't want to say win, necessarily. But Paul wants to go the distance this time. That commercial was evidence of his commitment, since everyone knows Ron Paul does not like Ronald Reagan, yet ... there he was. Whispering sweet nothings into the ears of an electorate that in today's environment would have labeled ol' Rappin' Ronnie left of Michael Moore and Republican-In-Name-Only. If Ron Paul is willing to fudge around a bit and say he stood with Reagan's "message" (even if he rarely agreed with dude), and call Perry the lap dog of Al Gore (Al Gore!), he actually wants some delegates this time.
Yes. This election, for Ron Paul, just got real.
As for Newt Gingrich, noted grifter and not real candidate, he got all prissy and fought with the moderaters more than his opponents. (Again!) He accused MSNBC of trying to start fights between candidates when they should be uniting like Voltron to defeat Barack Obama. It was like those moderaters expected them to "debate" each other or something. Those monsters.
Herman Cain said some stuff about how we should be more like Chile, compared taxes to tithing and said something-something 9-9-9 plan. Which seems like a naming fluke for Cain. Too easy to flip those 9s to 6s and have wingnuts accuse Cain of having the "mark of the beast." His name is already Cain, who as we all know from the TV show Superbook was the world's first murderer. Jokes aside, but not really, what I love about Cain is his voice, which makes me think of that old cassette tape of Rev. C.L. Franklin sermons my mother would play sometimes. Each time he opens his mouth I expect him to shout "AND THE EAGLE STIRRETH HER NESSSSST!!!!" But he doesn't. And that makes me sad.
Lastly, Rick Santorum is a horrible waste of everyone's time and should just drop out already. Really. It's insulting to Ron Paul, who can actually poll in the double-digits, that he gets lumped in with this noted Grifter-Kook (the worst kind), who has no chance of winning a game of Tiddlywinks, let alone a GOP presidential nomination. What's he running on anyway? Bringing gays in Iran their civil rights while denying the rights of gays at home? Telling me what to do with my body? Being a gross Internet meme related to a sex act? Rick Santorum is Rick-Rolling the GOP ticket. He keeps saying he's never going to give us up and never going to let us down, never gonna mess around and hurt us. But in actuality, he will only tell a lie, make us cry, then say good-bye ... after he grifts enough money and street cred to land a weekend slot on FOX News and a horrible Daily Caller column.
His campaign cannot possibly be real.