Drunkblogging Tonight's GOP Debate

We've been through a lot of these debates already, despite some promises I remember quite clearly that there would be far fewer debates this cycle than there were in 2012.

We know what to expect by now, don't we?

Or... will Mitt Romney's undorsement (it's a word, I swear) of Donald Trump this morning dominate a debate in which Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio must fight to become the essential Not-Trump before Florida's winner-take-all primary vote just a week and a half from now.

Carson is out. Mitt is in -- sort of.

What happens next?

Pour yourself a little something-something, get comfy, and let's find out.

Every Christmas I find myself buying for someone -- usually one of my boys -- at least one present so unwieldy that wrapping it is an exercise in frustration, Scotch tape, torn paper, more Scotch tape, and more Scotch tape.

That's tonight's debate.

How do you wrap something so big, made of all sharp corners and odd angles, when all you have is a small sheet of tissue-thin paper and some leftover tape?

It can't be done. For that, I am sorry.

And in any case, my brain keeps coming back to the GOP frontrunner promising again and again that by sheer force of will he will make the military comply with his illegal orders.

I must repeat that I do not believe that Donald Trump is a fascist or a national socialist or a white supremacist or any of that.

But when it comes to pleasing the crowd, he proved himself tonight willing to play by the Führerprinzip when it comes to (ahem) enhanced interrogation.

I could try to explain to you why I thought Rubio did a good job, or maybe how Cruz seemed to downplay at least some of his more unlikeable tendencies...

But I keep coming back to that one thing: Trump and the Führerprinzip -- bending the military to his will, rather than to each member's oath to the Constitution.

I'll repeat what I said earlier: Trump is no Hitler, but he really ought to read a history book or two.

Maybe I'm making too much of this one thing...

But shouldn't somebody?

After the break: Final question and closing statements.

I can cover as many debates as they care to schedule -- I really can. But the closing statements have got to go.

Kasich.

Drink.

Yikes.

Cruz just forgot his line in the middle of talking about nuclear-powered aircraft carrier deployments.

It might be unfair, but that is not where you want to see a potential POTUS flub his line.

"I've gotten to know Marco.. and believe me he's not a leader."

-Trump, not calling him "Little Marco" for once.

And Trump just doubled down on getting the military to follow illegal orders.

In a sane country, that would be the lead story tonight, tomorrow, and until he recants or leaves the race.

OK, on to foreign policy, in case anyone was still keeping track of Fox's pretend rules.

"Breathe, breathe, breathe."

Cruz, offering advice to Trump.

"I hope we don't see yoga... but he's very flexible so you never know."

-Rubio

Damn!

"I do not support the ban on assault."

I did not truncate that Trump quote, but I am missing Carson's endless word salad right now.

Cruz's problem is that on the stump, almost every answer sounds like that.

This is now the second debate where we've had to listen to Kasich talk about cupcakes.

Like a lot of you, I started reading blogs on 9/11. This is not what I expected to be blogging myself 15 years later.

Sigh.

Republicans have to talk about Flint's poisoned water because Democrats won't debate on Fox News.

We're now debating a word cloud.

Bravo, Fox News.

Bravo.

Commercial break comes just in time for me to grab a fresh handful of ice, in case any of you were starting to harbor doubts that we still live in a benevolent universe.

This thing has turned full Chuck Heston.

It's a madhouse, a madhouse!

Perhaps. But this crowd -- and this electorate -- doesn't seem to care much for adults.

"He scammed the people of Florida."

Trump on Rubio missing so many Senate votes.

Good hit, but followed by yet another Little Marco reference.

"He's trying to do to the American people what he did to the people who signed up for this course."

Rubio has updated the MP3 files in his Speech-O-Matic 76, and it is awesome.

I can't remember that last GOP debate to spend so much time talking about personal lawsuits.

Megyn rebuts Trump's "98%" satisfaction rating for Trump U by repeating a BBB (I think) D- rating.

"That's false."

"That's false."

Rubio interrupting Trump twice.

Then Trump repeats his claim that he "never settles" out of court, which is laughably incorrect.

Kasich.

Drink.

"I was very much like OK."

Trump, explaining his "very strong core."

I can't be that drunk, can I?

I can no longer parse Trump's answer. Is it the bourbon or the Trump?

Trump on Snowden: "It didn't take me a long time [ala Cruz] to figure that out."

Credit where it's due -- that was nice, and delivered like a shiv between the ribs.

I like that Cruz's ...evolution... (that word again!) on Snowden mirrors my own.

Trump just promised to get the military to follow illegal orders.

Now I don't actually think he's a fascist, not at all. But I do wish he'd read a history book or two.

I was expecting a Mitt-shattering kaboom.

Kasich.

Drink.

"I've given my answer, Lyin' Ted."

Trump explaining why he won't release the minutes from his off-the-record meeting with the NYT editorial board.

Meanwhile, the crowd sounds like they're watching a hockey fight -- and this one time I don't mean that in a good way.

"Wrong."

"Wrong."

"Wrong."

Trump interrupting Rubio three times in the first part of his answer.

Cruz has shifted the H1B issue back to Trump, but my impression so far tonight remains that it's mostly a Trump & Rubio event.

Uh-oh.

Cruz is called out on a similar ...evolution... on the visa issue.

"I'm changing, I'm changing."

Trump explaining his evolving position on work visas.

"I'm softening the position."

"I'm the one who wants the wall... Mexico is going to pay for the wall."

Trump also says the wall might be 45 feet tall, in case we're invaded from the south by very tall people who can't dig.

MK nailed it here.

"I support politicians," says the candidate who says he hates politicians.

"I'd like to ask Donald why you wrote checks to Hillary for President in 2008?"

Four times.

Kasich is speaking and the audio cut out on my iPad app.

Coincidence?

This seems right.

"For 40 years Donald Trump has been part of the corruption you're angry about."

-Cruz

Hey! Ted Cruz!

Remember him?

He had a pretty good Super Tuesday, but he's been lost in the last 48 hour news cycle.

Wow. Wallace caught Trump in a huge lie on Medicare savings -- he promises to save $300 billion by negotiating drug prices when Medicare only spends $78 billion.

#winning

"Little tidbits left" of the Department of Education.

I suppose that's a good start for where Trump wants to cut "waste and fraud," but why leave so much?

Trump shouts, Rubio laughs, audience boos.

Something, something, sound and fury.

Hmm. Trump dropped the Romney bomb first tonight, only to be cut off by Chris Wallace.

"This is not a game show."

Rubio on Trump.

They haven't been real debates in my adult lifetime.

I normally don't care about a candidate's tax returns. In fact, I don't want to see a candidate's tax returns.

But if Trump is going to see claiming he's worth ten BILLION dollars, he'd better release his tax returns.

"This little guy has lied so much about my record."

Trump on Rubio, so to speak.

Rubio does not look like he came to make dick jokes tonight.

I mean hand jokes.

(No I don't.)

This makes sense to me.

Kasich: "I can get the crossover votes."

Pretty sure Trump is getting the crossover votes while Kasich is getting the nearly-none votes.

OK -- got it.

Now let me play catch up on the debate and on my cocktail...

Sorry - tech issues. Fox's video feed won't play in any browser or any device.

Working on a fix.

Since Stephen Miller beat me to the joke, I'll steal it right back.