5:47PM Fox News is treating the nearly candidate-free GOP presidential debate with all the respect it deserves, by having O’Reilly mostly ignore it. I think CNN is completely ignoring it. Although I’m sure sometime later tonight, Wolf Blitzer (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) will host some sort of roundtable discussion sponsored needlessly by whomever makes Ambien.
If you think I’m going into this feeling jaded, you don’t know the half of it.
5:52PM Dear Mr. David Letterman,
Please stop stealing nine-and-a-half-year-old material from The Onion.
-Your Friendly Neighborhood VodkaPundit.
5:57PM Wondering if the GOP contenders will field any questions about that Bin Laden fellow who’s been in the news all week.
5:58PM A couple things you might not know about drunkblogging. First — remove your contact lenses. Things move fast, and you won’t have time to blink. I’m not making this one up. Also, it’s best to tune into the most boring network available. Why? My liver can take only so much.
5:59PM Go on and tell me. I’m the only one in the whole country watching this thing, aren’t I?
6:00PM And there’s Brett Baier, wearing an eye-catching red tie, white shirt, and blue suit. He’s sure to stand out against the candidates, assuming any show up.
6:02PM Ron Paul, Herman Cain, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Gary Johnson. Five candidates in the debate, five cincos in a de mayo. Coincidence?
6:02PM That bell is cheesy. Jeopardy jokes to follow.
6:02PM Hey, a bin Laden question!
6:04PM The P-Man tips his cap to Obama for killing Bin Laden — but needs to buy better suits. It’s totally riding up off his left shoulder so badly I don’t know what he’s saying anymore.
6:05PM Herman Cain would hide the Bin Laden photo — but Ron Paul would show it. Check out the national security creds on the Ronulans.
6:05PM Rick Santorum, sources tell us, has been consulting with Boehner on tanning salons.
6:06PM Paul: Nation building in Afghanistan didn’t help us catch OBL.
6:07PM BIG applause for Paul on pulling out. Stacked crowd, or common sense?
6:08PM Cain: I have no plan for Afghanistan because there’s no plan for Afghanistan. I need to pour my fourth scotch & soda without the soda.
6:09PM Cain: Elect me so I can get enough information to have a strategy. The bell came as a relief to everyone.
6:10PM Johnson: Pull out right now, Iraq was a mistake. Libertarians have pretty much hijacked this debate, and I’m not complaining. The GOP needs a shot in the arm, and between the Tea Party and the Pauls and Johnson, they just might get one.
6:10PM More cowbell!
6:12PM Santorum: “I’m not anti-Islam!” He’s certainly pro-self tanner. Again, totally distracted. Sorry. I’m sure he’s making sense, but… MORE COWBELL!
6:14PM Paul: Due process for terrorists! Um… not everything about the Libertarian hijacking is good, mmkay?
6:14PM NOTE: Jeopardy joke plan has been replaced with MORE COWBELL.
6:16PM P-Man: I have a great travel agent, and a willingness to kill and/or waterboard terrorists. I keep expecting the Ronulans to shout him down.
6:16PM Three cheers for waterboarding! Paul and Johnson are against.
6:17PM Big applause line from Cain, but I was pouring that fourth cocktail. No clue.
6:19PM Johnson… sigh. As a semi-recovering member, I can tell you: He’s a typical libertarian — great on the facts, snoozy/geeky/awkward on the delivery. If you loved the Atlas Shrugged movie, you’re totally digging him right now.
6:19PM Juan: What’s your stimulus, P-Man?
6:20PM Oops, missed one: MORE COWBELL!
6:20PM P-Man is on top here with local examples to berate Obama admin. Governor Nikki was applauding like mad. Good stuff.
6:22PM Cain: Solid answer on oil. And you totally have to respect his ability, post-1998, to pull of a double-breasted suit. I’ve tried it and failed utterly.
6:22PM Shannon Green — no relation, so my lustful thoughts are totally A-OK — asks about RomneyCare to P-Man.
6:23PM P-Man: Just slammed ObamaCare to big applause, while praising what he passed in his home state of Minnesota, or perhaps Iowa.
6:24PM Santorum: I’m better than Mitt, because my vote for Medicare D isn’t nearly as bad as RomneyCare. Scout’s honor!
6:25PM Santorum: And I totally crush on Paul Ryan.
It’s OK — we all do sometimes. NTTAWWT.
6:26PM Paul: I have federalist principles regarding tort reform.
I’m totally crushing on him right now. NTTAWWT.
6:26PM Paul: I’ll put the trial lawyers out of business!
6:27PM We’ve got a SOT of Eric Cantor, and all I can think is: “Why is he not on this stage?”
[Common sense? --ed.]
6:27PM Commercial break. This would be a good time to break out your own private cowbell.
6:31PM Chris Wallace just asked a question so complicated that, if you diagrammed it, the result would look like my ten-month-old eating spaghetti.
6:33PM Paul: I will cut Washington, bitches. Can I say bitches on the home page? (Aaron will fix this one in post.)
6:33PM MORE COWBELL!
6:34PM Cain: “Your experts are dead wrong.” And now I’m crushing on some Herman Cain. NTTAWWT.
6:35PM Cain: “I strongly support… the Fair Tax.”
6:35PM Johnson: Look at meeeeeeee!
6:37PM P-Man: Democrats made me steal money from schools. I think that’s what he said.
6:38PM Johnson: I am saying many scary numbers. Also, JAZZ HANDS!
6:40PM Cain: It’s a four point plan he’s talking about, and it’s very complicated, but I’m pretty sure it’s the exact opposite of amnesty.
6:41PM Santorum: Teach English to immigrants.
Hell, I’d be happy if we would teach it to native-born Americans.
6:43PM Johnson: Document the undocumented — which I’m pretty sure is a line Steve Miller rejected from “Fly Like An Eagle.”
6:44PM Cain strikes me as smart on foreign policy. Not as extreme as Paul, not as befuddled as Obama.
Sorry, I’ll go back to cowbell jokes now.
6:46PM P-Man: Obama is wrong on Libya in so many ways, and… MORE COWBELL!
6:47PM Santorum: Would engage Pakistan at a level we haven’t before.
What would that be? We’ve tried everything other than ignoring them or nuking them — and neither of those is likely to do any better.
6:48PM Santorum: But Pakistan can be an ally.
You know, once we threaten them enough.
6:49PM Paul: Israel is off the leash.
Now THAT’s a libertarian foreign policy I can get behind.
6:49PM Um… “Every jew in the country” might not be the most politic phr… MORE COWBELL!
6:50PM A question inspired by Donald Trump? Chrus Baier is off my Christmas card list.
6:50PM Johnson: I don’t need no stinkin’ cowbell.
6:53PM The Kindle ad Fox just ran is the most entertaining thing I’ve seen in the last 53 minutes.
6:54PM I thought this thing was ending at 10PM Eastern. Guess I’m eating cold pizza tonight.
6:55PM Paul: I can’t exactly remember my own wedding anniversary.
Dude, you’re sleeping on the sofa tonight.
6:55PM BTW, I’m on Paul’s side in the marriage debate.
6:57PM Cain: I’m totally not going to address gay marriage head-on.
6:57PM Johnson: Boos for his views on abortion, which are dead-smack in the middle of American opinion.
6:59PM Hasn’t science pretty much bypassed the whole stem cell debate?
6:59PM Science, please bypass the whole stem cell research debate — we’re 14 trillion dollars in the hole, mmkay?
7:00PM Santorum: The Declaration of Independence is a governing document and it protects families and life and stuff, and if you disagree you don’t believe in America.
7:02PM Cain: Obamanomics is outrageous.
Cain’s problem is, he’s too much of a gentleman to use the appropriate English four-letter word.
7:03PM Paul: Union members believe in the rule of law.
I am speechless.
7:05PM P-Man: Intelligent design is something I don’t really want to talk about, even though we’re all in South Carolina.
He’s smart though to change the topic to jobs.
Also: MORE COWBELL!
7:06PM What was that Gary guy’s last name again?
7:06PM P-Man just got big boos for his cap & tax position.
7:07PM You know what? Pawlenty is probably the most serious candidate on this stage, but he’s also the most easily forgotten. If that’s a taste of things to come, I suggest his fans look elsewhere — and soon.
7:09PM Santorum: I don’t believe women should be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen — Pennsylvania shoemakers provide thousands of high-paying jobs.
I know that one was unfair, but you came here for the drunkblogging.
7:09PM MORE COWBELL!
7:10PM Paul: I’m misunderstood.
7:11PM Paul: I’m misunderstood.
7:12PM Paul just scored big points against the drug war. Problem is, by the time he got to his big finish, only dogs could hear him.
7:13PM Johnson: What Ron Paul just said, but in the range of human hearing and with many scary numbers.
Incidentally, I’m on Paul and Johnson’s side in the drug war.
7:15PM Cain: Character will win, and never having held public office is a strength.
I have an all-new heterosexual man-crush. Sorry, Juan.
7:15PM Lightning round!
7:16PM Paul: Obama sucks because of the economy. And also he sucks.
7:16PM MORE COWBELL!
7:17PM Cain: Obama sucks even though he killed Bin Laden. And also he sucks.
7:17PM Pawlenty: Obama sucks because of gas prices and the economy and everything else. And also he sucks.
7:17PM MORE COWBELL!
7:18PM Santorum: Obama sucks so I can beat him. And also he sucks.
7:18PM Santorum: WINNING!
7:18PM Johnson: Obama sucks because of the budget. And also Republicans suck.
7:19PM MORE COWBELL!
7:23PM Cain: Romney can’t create jobs like I can and also he’s a loser.
7:23PM Pawlenty: I love the Huck.
Bzzzzzzzt. Wrong answer, next candidate.
7:24PM Paul: I take dumps bigger than Michele Bachmann.
7:25PM Santorum: Gingrich is practically a Mormon, like that other guy who didn’t show up tonight.
7:26PM Johnson: I can’t believe you asked me a question that stupid. Also, I might be slightly baked right now.
7:27PM Johnson: Yep, I’m baked.
7:27PM Closing remarks…
7:27PM Paul: It’s philosophical, and the gold standard.
7:28PM Cain: I’m just a gotdam serious guy.
7:28PM P-Man: This is the 30 second version of my nearly-memorable stump speech.
7:29PM Santorum: I’m as tan as Boehner and my jaw is almost as strong as Romney’s and I can namedrop better than a gossip blogger.
7:30PM Johnson: Not so baked. Really, seriously, not so baked. And tough choices about scary numbers with a business approach.
7:30PM In conclusion: We have websites.
Also: MORE COWBELL!
7:32PM Final thought? Cain looked presidential. The other GOP candidates… weren’t on the stage tonight.
Whether that eventually hurts or helps them, time will tell.