"I Reject Your Delusion and Substitute my Own!"
(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein.)
"I'm not going to eat Barack Obama's dog food, all right?" - Mitt Romney, August 11, 2011
To paraphrase that immortal line in The Beastmaster, that's essentially what the GOP debate at the CY Stephens Auditorium in Ames, Iowa last night boiled down to. It wasn't as much the kabuki that we saw in Congress all summer regarding the needless debt ceiling debate but more like something out of Pirandello or the Theater of the Absurd: Eight Characters in Search of an Offer.
That offer, of course, is the GOP presidential nomination next summer in Tampa, Florida. Someone's going to have to be picked. It's what I call the "last call of the wild", that desperate choice a horny barfly needs to make by 2 o'clock when beer goggles are at their most merciful and forgiving.
But if last night's debate was any indication, it won't matter to the Democratic nominee who the opponent is because, if nothing else, the sheer tonnage of bullshit troweled out last night will ensure that Iowa will have record bumper crops next year. Here are some indications as to why we have nothing to worry about:
Mitt Romney tried to make himself sound like a regular, middle-class guy who may have to resort to eating Obama's dog food (the common phrase is cat food, as in "Commission, Cat Food" but I won't quibble about semantics). It's perhaps a bit of a overdramatization on my old Governor's part: To cherry pick just one example, Romney's private equity firm, Bain Capital, sucked AmPad dry of over $100,000,000 on a $5 million investment, which has a rate of return of some of your more profitable vulture funds. I don't think Romney's going to have to compare prices between Alpo and Kennel Rations anytime soon.
Earlier in the day, in a memorable bullpen side session at the state fair, Romney said, "Corporations are people, my friend." Unfortunately, no one in the crowd asked him, "If corporations are people, then are small businesses midgets?"
Come game time, Romney and the Seven Samurai squared off against Chris Wallace, who was surprisingly good last night and held several candidates' feet to the fire, particularly Newt Gingrich. When asked by Wallace about the defection of his top campaign aides and how he could square his mantra of balancing the budget while spending excessively in his private life, Gingrich looked like a man who just found out he'd been cuckolded by his loving and supportive wife. He went off on Wallace, essentially saying, "How dare you tell the truth about me, Chris? We had an agreement!"
Despite no one ever seeing one go off over her pointy little head, Michele Bachmann talked about our right to choose light bulbs without once bringing up a woman's right to choose (One half-expected Bachmann to then take up Sharron Angle's jihad against fluoride in our drinking water). The most powerful woman in Congress and chairwoman of the Tea Bag caucus preached the virtues of submissive wives. She also spoke of "unconstitutional mandates" (read: ObamaCare), which certainly showed initiative considering that a court and not Congress has to rule something unconstitutional.
Tim Pawlenty, desperate for a soundbite of his own, threw the word "ObamneyCare" at Romney and said he'd mow his lawn. Willard smiled, knowing damned good and well that Pawlenty is a US citizen. Meanwhile, Pawlenty was also busy sparring with Bachmann while it gently rained in Ames last night. Only it wasn't rain but the late Paul Wellstone crying in heaven.
Herman Cain tightly smiled and wished he was relevant while not trying to look too conspicuous in the line of seven white faces.
Outgoing congressman Ron Paul, his party's answer to Dennis Kucinich, made some commonsense remarks like not engaging Iran over nonexistent nukes while debate organizers struck a thick red line through his name for future debates.
Chris Wallace frequently looked at Jon Huntsman as if to say, "What the fuck are you doing here, Jon? You're better than this."
Rick Santorum wished that he'd never heard of Dan Savage and that people would stop Googling his name.
Meanwhile, presidential aspirant Congressman Jack Kimble (CA-54) silently took part in the debate through his Twitter account and actually made more sense than everyone put together.
And, lurking in the background unseen like a right wing Godot was the looming presence of Governor Rick "Rainmaker" Perry.
Finally, you-know-who is going to Iowa after the end of the world's most polite zombie movie. This is going to be a wild, crazy 15 months.