You are still in a Lindsay Lohan-free zone.
Sorry, gang, it was just too late last night.
That was certainly an interesting debate. I swear to God, I thought Romney and Perry were going to rip their jackets asunder, scream, "WE ARE COMING OUT OF THE BOOOOOOOOOOTH!!!", and get it on like Donkey Kong.
As usual, the candidates couldn't stay focused on their goals and couldn't wait to get in each other's faces. Newt Gingrich at the end complained of the divisive nature of the debate, meant to pit the candidates against each other. Newt Gingrich complaining about negative politics is like Rosie O'Donnell complaining Oprah is fat. Gingrich cut his teeth on negative politics and being divisive. The only difference is, back then, it got him the results he wanted. Now, he's getting his own treatment and the pussy can't take it.
The audience was actually really good this time. They actually reacted negatively to things that common humanity said you should react negatively to. This didn't seem like the groups that were applauding letting the uninsured die. Glad to see that part getting better.
Cain came out, seemingly aware there was a target on his head, but he wasn't expecting the dogpile that started as soon as the first question was asked. Cain was not only on the spot because he was the frontrunner, but because everyone wants him out. When Michele Bachmann is kicking your ass, you are in trouble. Cain blew it royal because his defense of 9-9-9 was to tell viewers to check out his web site where they will see the analysis of 9-9-9 his own people put together and they will see how wrong the criticism is. This is FAIL on two levels. First is the obvious problem, that Cain is asking people to trust that the analysis on his site is unbiased and accurate. I think the last person to trust politicians died in 1983 and the breed is considered extinct. No one is going to go there to be reassured that 9-9-9 isn't just a pipe dream, they are going to look to editorials and researchers and other candidates who have a vested interest in exposing the flaws in the plan. The second is that it let the other candidates make all the points. Every item they threw out was left unanswered by Cain. He effectively gave them the last word, letting their remarks be what is remembered while he bleated about his web site. You'd think a guy who worked in the business sector would have a better understanding of PR than that.
Bachmann got some good shots in. Then again, she needed to. Her previous best known comment about 9-9-9 was that, if you turn it upside down, it's 6-6-6 and is the mark of the devil. Amazingly, this made her look even more insane than she did before, which I didn't think was possible (I'm very nervous we are approaching the event horizon where Bachmann's ideology will collapse in on itself and form a black hole of derp from which no intelligent thought can escape. Sort of like the cable news channels). She didn't really answer any questions put to her, continuing to fall back on "illustrating" stories to make her seem folksy. I don't know how many times I said, "Cool story, bro" after she would finish a non-answer.
Perry was shaky. He was coached to come out as more aggressive, and his near shoving match with Romney is the result. However, he also stumbled frequently, getting tongue tied in the middle of his rhetoric. He looked like he was ready to lose his mind. Perry? Reel it in. Remember what happened to Howard Dean? You were treading dangerously close to becoming a caricature that people can seize on to make fun of you and turn you into a joke instead of an option. Remember, all that is remembered about Gerald Ford is that he was clumsy even though he only slipped and fell twice. Your own message is in danger.
Ron Paul got in lots of good shots and got the biggest applause of the night. He was also given plenty of questions and chances to answer. This was the most I've seen him allowed to participate in a debate ever, and he dealt aces. Great job, dude.
Cain was called on his flipflopping about the electrified fence along the border. First he said it, then said he was kidding, then said he wasn't going to rule out any options. The audience actually started booing when Anderson Cooper mentioned the last part. Cain looked like a deer in headlights as he tried to figure out how to dig his way out of that. What a riot.
The only thing that didn't get in was a series of questions about the 2nd Amendment. But everything else, from nuclear power to the 10th Amendment, got aired, and mentions of Obamacare were limited to deficit reduction talks. There were a lot more ideas zinging around inside the cloud of rhetoric. This is the best and most entertaining debate I have ever seen. I hope they continue to be like this.
You are now leaving a Lindsay Lohan-free zone.