Drunkblogging Tonight's Debate in Iowa

5:45PM Tonight’s drunkblog is brought to you courtesy of… margaritas. Four parts Patron Silver to one part fresh-squeezed lime juice and one part Cointreau. Shake roughly over a handful of ice, then pour into a proper margarita glass. You may salt the rim if you like, but I may not because it makes my doctor make that face she makes at me.


5:46PM My local ABC affiliate, KRDO, has Judge Judy as the lead-in to the debate. This is doesn’t seem promising.

5:50PM Why did was Donald Trump allowed to muscle in on a debate where nobody will show up, when they could have had Judge Judy? Ed Driscoll calls it “ratings gold,” and I agree.

5:52PM I get the feeling that all things considered, Newt would rather be in Philadelphia. It could get nasty.

5:59PM I know I never go six minutes between posts, but I needed a refill, and my lovely bride is totally hogging the pitcher upstairs.

5:59PM Here we go. Bring on da noize, bring on da pain.

6:01PM “What will they do to get America back on track?” A surprisingly upbeat intro from ABC News.

6:01PM They just showed Santorum saying “Iowa gets to decide” the next President. President Obama would like to remind him that the other 56 states get a say, too.

6:02PM Suck-ups to Iowa — from the hosts, Diane & George. Stephanopoulos went second, either because he lost the coin toss to Diane, or because now he hosts some fluffy little morning show.

6:03PM “George and I have been talking…” George has hardly gotten a word in edgewise, Diane. Then again, he is now the network equivalent of a morning drive DJ. Remember when he used to host This Week?

Yeah, me neither.

6:04PM Number one issue: Jobs in America.

I don’t remember those, either.

6:05PM Q: What distinguishes you about jobs?

6:05PM Newt: I’m different because I’ve been in DC long enough to namedrop Reagan AND Clinton.

6:06PM Romney: “I’ve spent my life in the private sector,” but not for lack of trying.

6:07PM Romney has a seven-point plan, because he’s cool like that.

Newt suddenly makes a lot more sense to me right now.

6:08PM Paul: “My approach is… ” to eliminate the Federal Reserve, I think. Because of bubbles.

6:09PM Sawyer is pushing for an exact number of jobs created. This is the ultimate long-range gotcha question.

I want to call her bad names right now, but this is a family site, and my capacity for cursing would amaze and astound you.

6:10PM Perry: There’s a lot of insider spending, but I’m an outsider with a model.


Isn’t that what got Gary Hart in trouble?

6:10PM Bachmann: I’m reminding you of Herman Cain on purpose right now because, apparently, I’m insane.

6:12PM Santorum: I can name real places in Iowa, because I love you so much here in Iowa, with the very specific places I can name.

6:13PM Sawyer: Mitt Romney named a number I can blast him for in four years, why won’t you suck up like he did?

6:14PM Q from Sawyer: What do you do about the expiring payroll tax cut?

6:15PM Bachmann: “It’s President Obama’s plan of temporary gimmicks.”

That’s not a plan, it’s a feature.

Oh, wait —

6:16PM Bachmann is the most relaxed and natural I’ve ever seen her at one of these things. Really.

6:17PM Romney: “This is just a bandaid.” And Obama something something something, plus bandaids and tossing fuel on the fire.

6:17PM Romney just got in a golf joke. It was very nearly funny.

6:18PM Stephanopoulos is still there. Who knew.

6:19PM Santorum: “You either care about Social Security… or you don’t.”

6:19PM Paul: “We have to stop the spending… we have to cut overseas.”

6:20PM Q to Romney: Newt says you suck.

6:21PM Q to Romney: Newt says you suck.

6:21PM Romney: “This is us talking about what we beleive.”

I’m totally out of material on this one.

6:21PM Romney: “This is us talking about what we beleive.”

I’m totally out of material on this one.

6:22PM Romney just nailed Gingrich on some of his Silliest Ideas. He could have done better, had the answer timer been set to two hours.

6:22PM Gingrich: You lost to Ted Kennedy. Boos and cheers followed.

6:23PM Newt: I’m going to send us to Mars.

I pretty much beleive that.

6:23PM Can we switch back to Judge Judy now?

6:26PM Romney: I have many numbers, and also Obama sucks. Then: I’d have been a football player, if I could have gotten in like I dreamed as a kid.

Good line, good applause, kinda neutralizes the Ted Kennedy thing.

I think Mitt was just funny on purpose. Unified Field Theory will have to be modified to accommodate this new data.

6:26PM Paul: Newt is no conservative, “he received a lot of money from Freddie Mac.”


6:27PM SCORE: Paul to Newt, “In a way, you got taxpayer money” supporting Freddie Mac.

6:27PM Newt: I would fire Bernanke. “I was in the private sector,” taking money from Freddie.

Wow. Everything that’s wrong in America, right there.

6:30PM Bachmann: “Our nominee has to stage on the stage and look totally different.”

And, over and over again, “If you look at Newt-Romney…”

I hear Jon Lovits in my head, “That’s the ticket!”

6:30PM Newt: I have a great command of the facts. Oooh — hitting at Bachmann’s Achilles Heel.

6:31PM Newt: “I’ve had 13 New York Times bestsellers.”

He went there? Really?

6:31PM Bachmann now claiming Romney “sent his team” to the White House to help them sell ObamaCare.


6:32PM Romney: Newt “and I are not clones.”

It’s true, I have seen them on the same stage together. Again and again.

6:34PM Perry: Remember me? And now he’s quoting Bachmann.

I had such high hope for Perry. And then he entered the race.

I need a drink.

Oh, wait —

6:35PM Romney: And he’s right on this one, he’s against a Federal individual mandates (which Newt was once for) but for states being able to do and undo a mandate.

MA is good evidence that Undoing is a wonderful natural right.

6:36PM Newt: “Most every conservative [in 1993] saw the individual mandate as less dangerous than what Hillary was trying to do.”

No. We. Didn’t.

6:37PM Perry just dug at Newt, looked to the audience for his applause, and got… silence.

6:38PM Mitt: In my book, in chapter seven, as close as I can quote…

I now have QWERTY embossed backwards on my forehead.

6:39PM Bachmann just raised her hand to make a statement.

“Do we honestly beleive…” that NewtRomney will veto ObamaCare?

Actually, that’s one of the few things I beleive about these two.

6:39PM Santorum: I did NOT as a conservative support a mandate in the 90s.

6:40PM Santorum: “I think Michele has been consistent as a consistent conservative.”

That’s a quote.

6:41PM Santorum really has to stop running as “a winner,” when his own home state has completely washed its hands of him. Find a new issue, my friend.


6:42PM Commercial break. Time to pour another margarita.

But mostly right now, I wish I still smoked. Or sniffed glue.

6:48PM We’re back.

6:48PM Q: Let’s talk family and faith.

6:48PM “Should voters consider marital fidelity?”

6:49PM Perry: “I made a vow to God… that’s stronger than a handshake in Texas.”

6:50PM Perry: “Partners who have been in fidelity, infidelity with your spouse… ”

And suddenly I don’t miss George Bush.

6:51PM Santorum: I have seven kids, or nearly one-quarter as many as Bachmann.

6:51PM Paul: “I don’t think we should have to talk about it, I think it should show through… what about our oath of office?”

Mancrush time.

6:52PM Best applause of the night, to Ron Paul. I suspect he’s going to do very, very well here in three weeks or so.

6:53PM Romney: I have some very nice TV ads, and in some of them, my skin doesn’t even look this color.

6:54PM Bachmann: “The Founders spoke about this… what’s the measure of the man… will they keep their word?”

Of course, when Bachmann quotes anyone, I immediately factcheck it. Pretty sure NATO still hasn’t killed 30,000 Libyan civilians.

6:55PM Gingrich: “It’s a real issue.” Ask any of my ex-wives.

6:58PM Gingrich is talking about his position on illegal immigrants. Call me a squish, call me a RINO, but he’s dead-on right on this issue.

On most everything else, HE’S the squish.

6:58PM “Citizen-review panel” are three words that just creep me out.

6:59PM To Romney: Why do you hate Latinos, who Obama obviously loves so much?

7:00PM Romney: I don’t like magnets.

And his hair is no fan of gravity.

7:01PM Romney: “I do not want to do something [X2].”

That’ll make the gag reel.

7:01PM It’s Perry’s turn, and again I’m sympathetic to the guy who’s been there, done that.

7:03PM To Paul: Are Palestinians invented?

Paul: “No… and I don’t believe in getting in the way.”

7:05PM To Newt: Why are you encouraging extremists?

Newt: Not backing down on calling the Palestinians an “invented people.”


The thinking is, the Romans named the area after the Philistines, as a way to annoy the hell out of the local Jews. It stuck. Although to correct Paul, I think the Ottoman Turks called the area South Syria.

7:06PM Mitt: “It’s wise to stand by our friends and not get out ahead of them.”

7:07PM Newt: “This is a propaganda war.”

7:08PM Mitt might just have won the Iowa Jewish vote with his last statement, which could push him from 19% to 19.5%, or very nearly.

7:10PM Newt: “I’m a Reaganite.” I think maybe that means he’d demand, “Mr Netanyahu, tear down this Wailing Wall.”

No, not really.

7:11PM Bachmann: “How do you find peace, when you continue to teach your children hatred?”

That’s the question. But it ought to be used to discredit the whole peace process — but good luck with that.

7:11PM Santorum: “Speak the truth, but with prudence.”

And suddenly it’s the first George Bush I don’t miss.

7:12PM Stephanopoulos just interrupted Santorum, possibly to remind people he still has a (booster) seat at the table.

7:13PM Perry: “The most muddled foreign policy in place that is causing the problems in the middle east.”

Causing? No. But muddling further? Oh. My. Yes.

7:15PM Commercial break. Time to find out if my lovely bride has left me with any margaritas, of if it’s time to switch to a little something I invented years ago, called “Scotch and Rocks without the Rocks.”

7:18PM Perry looks good, Bachmann has command of the facts, Paul sounds calm, Romney has been funny, Newt has stayed on the reservation, Santorum is strong…

I must be drunk.

7:20PM And we’re back. And I’m having a scotch on the rocks without the rocks. My lovely bride is greedy.

7:20PM Q from Yahoo: How have you ever suffered financially?

7:21PM Perry: I was born a poor black child.

Sorry, I shouldn’t quote The Jerk for cheap points. Perry has a pretty amazing personal story.

7:23PM Romney: “I didn’t grow up poor… but I grew up with a dad who grew up poor.”

Mitt sounds genuine here. It’s a good story, well told. More like this and I’m not sure Newt would be where he is today. The awkwardness really melts away when he’s not pandering.


7:24PM Paul: “I was raised in a family that was rather poor… but I never knew it.” “I had my wife work my way through medical school.”

Great little moment.

And… now we’re on a rant against the Fed.

He’s right, but he’s broken-record right.

7:25PM Santorum: “I had two parents who were together and who supported me.”

What a tragedy it is that that has become so rare.

7:27PM Bachmann: “I oppose bailouts.”

Everybody else revealed a little bit of their souls. Bachman — who’s had a very good night so far — is flubbing this one. It’s a good answer. It just isn’t the right answer.

7:27PM You know what? Bachmann pulled that one back from the abyss at the end.

7:28PM Gingrich: “Fairly frugal, but you didn’t feel desperate.” “We have to meet a payroll, we have to find markets.”

7:29PM From Yahoo to NewtRomney: How could you support mandates?

7:30PM Romney: “States can do whatever the hell they want to do.”

Wow. Just left his chin jutting out there in the general election for a Jim Crowe uppercut. Shockingly awful.

7:31PM Newt: Is going on about policy to justify his past positions… and all of Iowa turned of the lights at 9:31PM.

That’s not such a big deal though, really.

7:32PM Sawyer: “I was at a pharmacy here in Iowa,” so I am totally in touch with the little people, bitches. Top that!!

7:32PM Paul: Big applause line about the danger of a government that can protect you from yourself.

7:33PM Q: Does anyone disagree with Paul about protecting people from themselves?

7:34PM Perry: Kinda, let the states do stuff. “The people are sick of Washington, DC.”

Amen, brother. I wish you hadn’t come out of the gate like a horse trying to make its way up a down escalator.

7:35PM Commercial break. Current cocktail still going strongish.

7:40PM Aaaaaaand we’re back.

7:42PM I missed the question, but Santorum is telling the story about how he used to listen to tapes made by Newt Gingrich.

That’s got to disqualify a kid from something. Everything.

7:42PM Perry: “Congressman Paul got me really intrigued… about the Federal Reserve.” “And I thank you for that.”


7:43PM It’s a shame that Perry the Frontrunner didn’t show his face before Perry the Single Digit Candidate.

7:44PM Mitt: “I’ve always found the principle of leadership quite interesting.” Somebody hit Reboot, please.

7:45PM Gingrich: I am name-checking Iowans! Also, he likes Rick Perry on the 10th Amendment.

7:46PM Paul: “If you’re consistent they will come your way… Rick Perry, I appreciate it.” Heh.

7:47PM Bachmann: I like Herman Cain and a bunch of nines and I really want his voters.

7:49PM I might have a treatable condition.

That’s what the ad just said, but I think we all know that before that can happen, first I must admit that I have a problem.

7:51PM Big photo-op at the end, with ten minutes still left on the clock, and Matthew Dowd and Rachel Maddow waiting in the wings for the dissection.

So, all the good stuff is about to be undone.


7:54PM Sorry — Amy Walter, not Maddow. I’m watching this video thumbnail size on my monitor.

7:54PM So, time for the chin-stroking summation. Well, let me quote myself at halftime, with a slight twist at the end.

Perry looks good, Bachmann has command of the facts, Paul sounds calm, Romney has been funny, Newt has stayed on the reservation, Santorum is strong…

Yep, I’m drunk.

But I will tack on one last thought.

Romney had the most to lose tonight, and he certainly did.


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