The Dartmouth debate: Still yawning

Dartmouth debate

I don’t know why I keep watching the GOP presidential debates and expecting anything different. (Einstein had a theory about such behavior … ) Last night was another yawner. Somebody wake me when the primaries are over. Maybe by then, the talking will mean something. Or maybe not, since I don’t particularly like any of the candidates.

Well, I take that back. I sort of like Huntsman, but from Day One he’s looked like an also-ran. On paper he has the chops, but he just doesn’t come across as a strong leadership figure. I slap my own hands for saying that, since physical appearance, stature, demeanor, etc., probably shouldn’t be relevant. But we all know they are.

I don’t know where Romney stands on anything, since today’s position always seems to differ from yesterday’s. Whatever he perceives the public wants — “I can do that!” And he drives me crazy with that sort of condescending smile he bestows on everyone else. “… That poor man. He just doesn’t realize how foolish he sounds … “

Paul prattles on about Keynesian vs Austrian economics and I doubt one in a hundred viewers has any idea what he’s talking about.

Cain is sounding like a broken record. “9-9-9.” It’s getting monotonous and irritating. And economists say it’s not enough; it won’t work. But he’s having a good time in the spotlight, so I guess we’re supposed to humor him for a while.

Michele Bachmann is still Michele Bachmann, injecting religion into politics at every opportunity, turning Cain’s 9-9-9 into 6-6-6. Wasn’t that clever? You get a gold star for that one, Michele.

Rick Perry sits there still looking like a lost little boy waiting for someone to ask him to play. But then after he says something, you understand why no one has asked him.

Newt Gingrich wants to throw Barney Frank and Chris Dodd in jail for the economic mess we’re in. But he didn’t go back far enough. He should have started with Bush and Cheney.

That leaves Rick Santorum. Not much a guy with so many homophobic hang-ups could say in a discussion focused on the economy. Except that the solution is traditional marriage. You’ll have to ask him how that works.

Probably the highlight of the evening (yet again) was that despite a huge effort by Dartmouth College to discourage and prevent the sort of audience outbursts that marked previous debates, some resourceful person rose to the challenge. (You knew someone would, right?) A young man shouted, reportedly challenging the candidates’ lack of bravery: “Why didn’t you guys say anything when the gay soldier was booed?” Then he yelled the f-word.

Since these debates are not debates at all but just media events (I now know that Bloomberg is Comcast channel 128) and photo ops, why not dispense with audiences altogether?

Oh, wait … that would eliminate the best reason for watching.

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