6:55pm (All Times Eastern, unless I get drunk and mess up the time-stamps) Here come the candidates. Not very inspiring. However, I personally will donate tonight’s Pajamas Media paycheck to the first candidate to answer any Terror War policy question with, “Lock and load. Denny Crane.”
6:58pm (Still on Eastern Time, but I plan to drink my way through that.) Somebody asked me why I call half the Republican candidates “Jim Beam.” Mostly, it seems silly to learn all their names. But really because they all seem vaguely Southern and make me want to drink.
7:00pm From Lou Dobbs to Wolf Blitzer. I can’t remember which Republican candidates don’t believe in evolution, but I’m sure that about now they all firmly believe in devolution. Although we’re still a long way up from Chris Matthews.
7:00.5pm Wait – which one is Fred Thompson?
7:04pm “My name is Thompson. Tommy. Not the actor.” OK, that’s one down.
7:05pm “I’m Mitt Romney, and this is the amazing Romneymatic 2000 Juicy Juicer machine.”
7:06pm OK, they’re all flying by too fast to make fun of. If only we could say that about the next 550+ days of nonstop campaigning.
7:07pm “Was it a mistake to invade Iraq?” And Mitt (“Fully Rust-Proofed for Ten Years or 100,000 Miles”) Romney is suddenly talking about, and I quote, “null sets.”? He looks like George Hamilton, but he’s sounding a bit like Ross Perot.
7:08pm Rudy has just called the Democrats “in denial” about the reality of the Terror War. Statements like that are why even anti-nanny-staters are giving Guilliani their (tepid, conditional) support. Also, he looks like one of maybe three guys up there who isn’t doing anything unmanly to his hair.
5:10pm 7:10PM John McCain: “I don’t read, I act! Denny Crane!” I might have shorthanded that a bit.
7:12pm Meaty stuff from McCain on what would happen to the Mideast following an American surrender. Nightmare scenario stuff, really. It’s enough to drive one to drink. The news is my enabler, and could be yours, too!
7:15pm Duncan “Jim Beam” Hunter is speaking now, and even Wolf Blitzer looks like he’s struggling to care. Duncan Hunter – didn’t Fred Thompson play him in a Tom Clancy movie?
5:16pm 7:16pm Another Jim Beam is talking about dog fights. I don’t think even Wilford Brimley wants to make those legal.
7:19pm (Back on Eastern Time, thanks to some swift editing – thanks, G.) Another one of the Jim Beams is speaking boldly. Or at least I think he is, but I’m distracted by the green tie. Wearing that color to a candidential* thingy is a bit like wearing novelty golf pants to a NASCAR event. There’s nothing technically wrong with it, but it’s certainly daring.
*I’m calling dibs on that word, if it isn’t already taken.
7:25pm Notice that when Tom Tancredo talks immigration, his voice goes up a whole octave.
7:21pm Rudy would nuke Iran. That’s right, he’d nuke’em back to 1978. That is so close to “Lock and load” that I’m thinking of sending him money. But mostly I’m thinking, “This debate is going to last two hours? You know, uh, the others were all ninety minutes. Just the ninety. Did you know that?”
7:22pm Mitt Romney (“Uses the Dry Look”) would nuke’em, too. Sorry, guy, but this has become the Pile On Ron Paul Moment of tonight’s debate. First one in wins, and everyone else should accept that.
5:27…err… 7:27… ah..pm Mitt (“Good to the last drop”) Romney is getting so much face time that I’m running out of old ad slogans to slap him with. What does CNN know that the rest of us don’t? Is he really going to be the nominee? Could Matt Damon’s old writing partner have been right?
7:29pom [sic] John McCain just spoke for 17 minutes, defending the immigration bill. I think. Given the audience, that would have been the right time for me to have made another drink.
7:31pm Mitt (“Not your father’s Oldsmobile”) Romney liked the old version of the immigration bill, from 1986. It was the exact same bill, only it got passed before it got ignored.
7:34pm Have you seen the hair on the green-tied Jim Beam? Does Cal Thomas have the number of a good trademark lawyer? Also, he seems very strongly for or against the immigration bill.
7:37pm Still on illegal immigrants, it’s a brave stand for Ron Paul to take, calling criminals “scapegoats.” I’m pretty sure that, by definition, they can’t be. If I can get serious for just a moment, man, that guy is a nut-job.
7:40pm Jim Beam, former governor of North Virginia or someplace, reminds us that another Thompson will probably join the race soon, and then join the ten of them on stage. Somebody at PJ Media is going to have to buy me a bigger cocktail shaker when that happens.
7:43pm Mitt (“Marriage Counselor to the Orange County!”) Romney is against cloning embryos. Of Hitler! Or something. He just sounds so passionate, and makes so little sense, that I can’t understand why he doesn’t get laughed at as much as Ron Paul does.
7:45pm Asking Republicans “Who likes God the most?” is about as interesting as asking, say, eight important Democrats who is the biggest booster of single-payer insurance — a freebie for grandstanding. And with that, I’m going to take a three-minute break to make another three-ounce martini.
7:45.2pm Correction: Five ounces. Have you seen these guys?
7:53pm Shaking (yes, shaking) a martini gives one a good 30 seconds to enjoy some uninterrupted deep thoughts. Mine went like this.
There’s only way we’re going to get any excitement into these debates. And that’s if we give Ron Paul one of those flag pistols. You know, he aims it at one of the other candidates, fires, and a little flag pops out of the barrel saying “LIAR!” or “STATIST!” in big black-on-red lettering. Or maybe just put them all in boxing gloves and see what happens. In which case, my money is on Tommy Thompson. That guy looks like he can take a punch.
7:55pm Jim Beam likes nuclear power and hates Russia. He can’t be all bad.
7:56pm Ron Paul – it’s “OK” to keep uniformed gays in the closet! What kind of libertarian is this guy, anyway?
7:59pm Mitt (“Former Child Star”) Romney holds the same position Ron Paul does, but with the added difficulty multiplier of a 15-year-old backflip. A smooth performance, and maybe that’s why he gets less scorn than Paul.
8:01pm “If elected President, what would you ask your predecessor to do?” First candidate to say, “Not be Jimmy Carter” gets my paycheck.
8:02pm Now that Jim Beam has actually pretty much said just that about Carter, I take back my promise. We have a baby and need the money. Also, trust me when I say that Jim Beam has already gotten plenty of my money over the years.
8:03pm Here’s a Jim Beam I haven’t noticed before – one in a blue tie, blue shirt combination. His hand gestures make him look like he’s trying to mold the air around him into a sensible response. It isn’t working.
8:07pm Nobody doesn’t love Libby!
8:09pm Tom Lehrer once said, “The problem with folk music is, it’s written by the people.” In that generous spirit, I call for a moratorium on these “town hall”-style debate questions. Let’s leave the tough questions to hard-hitters like Larry King and Anderson Cooper.
8:15pm We’re back to the debate. First question comes from a woman who lost her little brother “eight days” before he was due to come home. Now, I missed the Democratic debate Sunday night, but did CNN set up a tear-jerker like that?
8:19pm Jim Beam is right – the Bush administration still doesn’t understand the political endgame in Iraq. Or at least gives no indication of any understanding, which, in a media-dominated war amounts to the same thing. McCain deserves all the applause he just got for saying, “This is long, and hard and tough.” Now excuse me while I slurp down what little is left of my second martini.
8:22pm It’s interesting watching these guys get out from behind their rostrums and up off their seats. You can tell Rudy used to work juries, and work them well. Rudy hasn’t had the chance to set off any firecrackers like he did last time, but this is still his best-yet debate performance. Impressive enough, anyway, to keep me from snarking for two whole posts in a row.
8:25pm “Say, which one of you Republicans is most like a Democrat when it comes to the environment? What, with four dollar gasoline and a Texas oil man in the White House?” Reminds me of that moment in the first Democratic debate when the candidates were asked to raise their (limp-wristed) hands, if they believed their was really a terror war.
8:27pm Have you noticed that the drunkblogging has gotten more serious since halftime ended? It seems to me that I have to take back that Tom Lehrer quip — the People are better equipped to run a candidential debate than the pros are. Or at least better at it than Wolf Blitzer is.
8:30pm The question is, “What would you do to support single-payer health care?” In a room full of Republicans? Really? Why not just ask Ron Paul what he’d do to help strengthen the IRS catch middle-class tax dodgers?
8:32pm Mitt Romney (“Your favorite Tri-State Realtor since 1978!”) is for socializing health care, only without all the government stuff. Or maybe it’s the other way around. If you listened closely to his answer, you could hear Ron Paul’s upper skull explode.
8:38pm What’s Ron Paul’s biggest beef with morality in America today? That we all pretty much agree that letting Iran have nukes would be a Bad Thing. If I can get serious just one more time here, Paul can take a bad joke of a “debate” and turn it into The Gong Show. Please don’t let him get banned from these things.
8:40pm Gotcha! Mitt Romney (“Director of Admissions, New Hampshire School of Chiropractic”) just got asked that if he’s so hot for Official English, why is all his campaign stuff bilingual? Zing.
8:44pm I believe in closing the borders in about the same way I believe in Last Call. Given the time, it’s probably, sadly, inevitable. That said, McCain sounds weak when he claims he believes in strict border enforcement.
8:45pm Great question! Paraphrased: Republicans lost big in 2006, so what makes you think that more of the same will be any different in 2008?
8:47pm Take another shot. Mitt Romney (“Servicing Your Late Model Audi Right Here in San Bernadino!”) was the second guy to mention Reagan.
8:48pm I think Jim Beam (Orange Tie Varietal) just became the first candidate to say anything nice about President Bush. Take a shot.
8:52pm Wow. Tom Tancredo just called for a virtual halt – full stop – of nearly all legal immigration. So what’s the funny part? The question was, “What does it mean to be an American?” That’s like asking, “What’s it mean to be a Broncos fan?” and answering, “Cheering for the Kansas City Chiefs.”
8:57pm We’re close enough to the end here to make a couple observations.
Chris Matthews was the Game Show Moderator — “and now for the lightning round!” The Fox News Boys were, strange to say, the Trying At Least To Be Responsible Moderators. Wolf Blitzer, it seems, is the Valium Moderator. Really, I haven’t encountered anybody this disengaged and uninteresting since the night I spent mistakenly trying to pick up a lesbian while both of us were sober.
Mostly what we need is: fewer candidates sharing time, stage space, and attention.
9:00pm Now that it’s over, normally I’d try to wrap things up with something all sage and cynical. However, this “debate” lacked depth, intelligence, or even simple fireworks. It washed over the viewer like a light breeze filtered through a closed window. Now would be a very good time to light up the grill, open a bottle of wine, and sit on the floor with the baby.
You know, the important stuff.