"Have you written anything?"
"Have you played any video games?"
"Well, do something! There's no use in BOTH of us being miserable!"
I sat down at the computer, trying to think about something that I normally do, that comes naturally to me. And as I look to my right, I see the latest compilation from the Sine Timore Political Research And Online Gaming Battalion ("If you've got an ass, we'll kick it!"). I finished the debate, and this is what I do, so here's my first step to reapproach normalicy.
The facts are particularly important given the schizophrenic reactions to the Florida straw poll. Herman Cain won handily with 37%. Perry finished second with 15%, and Romney finished third with 14%. Already, Perry supporters are saying he's doomed and they need a new candidate. Well, that's Perry's fault -- he bailed on the rally for a trip to Michigan. It's worse news for Romney. Perry stumbled badly in the last debate, and Romney still lost to him by a percentage point in the straw poll, all the momentum went to Cain instead of Romney. As one pundit put it, "Perry's been running for President for five and a half weeks. Romney's been running for five and a half years." The straw poll ultimately means nothing. Well, strictly speaking, any poll more than two months before an election doesn't mean shit. Remember, it wasn't long ago that Bachmann took #1 in the Iowa straw poll. She finished 8th in Florida with 2% (run THAT by your office mates, clionona, and enjoy the looks on their faces) and didn't even stick around. Also remember that the 3,500 "delegates" who voted were only there because they ponied up $175 each. That ain't what I would call statistically accurate. The only thing this provides is bragging rights, so don't even give this any serious thought.
That said, the debate itself was interesting. Like I said, Perry stumbled badly. No doubt, his handlers are going over things and prepping him for next time. This was his first time being really flumoxed, so he'll be back on his feet in no time. Listening to Herman Cain gave me flashbacks to the TV show DangerMouse. DM's gadgets were made for him by a German scientist. Any time he started shouting, "Nein!", Penfold would take out a calculator and reveal the total. "Nein! Nein nein nein!" "36." Every time Cain mentioned his "9-9-9" plan, I kept thinking, "27." P.S. Anyone who actually thinks the 9-9-9 plan would make it out of committee, please call me, I have a bridge to sell you.
If the R's really want to improve their perception among American voters, they should start by bringing in a more diverse crowd to the debates. In the last three debates, we have seen:
1) People cheer Perry for signing almost 250 executions
2) People cheer the uninsured being left to die
3) A gay soldier, asking if the candidates would reinstate the military gay ban, being booed.
Keep this up, you're going to have people running to Obama just because he isn't exhibiting the cruelty you are. You have been warned.
For starters, Perry denied turning Social Security over to the states. Wrong bongos, buddy, you were saying, ""Get it back to the states. Why is the federal government even in the pension program or the health care delivery program? Let the states do it," just this past November. Perry's stances on SS have been mercural, and have shifted constantly. They took on a certain form with the publication of his
Howzabout a little love to Bachmann? She said, "President Obama has the lowest public approval ratings of any president in modern time." Bullshit. Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George H.W. Bush have all, at some point in their terms, had lower poll numbers. And that's according to Gallup, whose numbers Bachmann claims she was citing.
Those of you who saw the debate know that's coming next -- Bachmann denied that she ever said the MPV vaccine was potentially dangerous. "I didn't make that claim nor did I make that statement." she said when asked by a moderator if she stood by her comment that the HPV vaccine against cervical cancer was "potentially dangerous." Sorry, asshole. We have witnesses, broadcasts, tapes, news reports, quotes, everything. You said it. You are LYING.
As long as I'm on the subject of the HPV debate, Perry tried to shield himself from criticism for how he went about it. Remember, he signed the executive order after he was lobbied by a friend who was also a) a financial supporter and b) a lobbyist for the vaccine maker. "I got lobbied by a 31-year-old young lady who had stage 4 cervical cancer. I spent a lot of time with her. She came by my office. She talked to me about this program." Nice try at the heart strings, but the patient in question, one Heather Burcham, he met with AFTER he had already issued the executive order. He signed the executive order on February 2, 2007. He met her on February 19, 2007. The date itself comes rom Perry, saying at her funeral that that was when she came to the Texas Capitol.
Now, it's Romney's turn. "I believe government is too big. It's gone from 27 percent of our economy in the years of JFK to 37 percent of our economy." Romney is cooking his numbers. It was after JFK's presidency that Medicare started, and that skews the numbers. Not only that, but those statistics include state and local government spending, not just federal spending. In actuality, federal spending was 23.8% of the GDP last year and is expected to reach 25.3% this year.
Today is Michigan's straw poll. Get ready for more hand wringing.