The second Republican Presidential debate is being held tomorrow in Simi Valley at the Reagan Library, home of The Great Cue Card Reader. It is being broadcast by CNN, whose spokesman promises a lively debate where the candidates can “confront one another.” This means they hope that mudslinging, taunts, threats and personal insults will result in high ratings. Jerry Springer is one of the panel moderators, which should give you an idea of the expected level of discourse. Actually Jerry Springer is not one of the moderators but there is speculation that he is coaching the panel on how to ask questions in a way that brings a nasty retort such as “Yo mama,” or “I’ll see you outside after the show with my posse, dude.”
So don’t expect to learn much about foreign policy positions or economic issues. CNN has assured us that matters of substance will be off the table for this debate. They respectfully recognize that the Alzheimer’s President wouldn’t look kindly at higher-level thinking. However, in an effort to maintain a minimum sense of decorum, two large gentlemen with SECURITY printed on the back of their shirts will be tactfully positioned onstage to deal with unruly candidates. This was precipitated by a threat by one of the presidential hopefuls, rumored to possess an orange belt in Tae Kwan Do, to “take down” anyone who messes with him.
A little known fact about tomorrow’s contest is that there will be two debates. The first debate, mockingly called the B List Debate, which had four candidates, is now reduced to three, all polling in the low 1%. One of the three, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, promised that on his first day in office he would cut out the entire budget for Planned Parenthood, which represents .00021% of the deficit. Coincidentally this is the exact same percentage of votes Jindal received in the latest Iowa poll. The fourth candidate, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, declared that he is pulling out of the race since “there are so many great candidates to choose from.” In an effort at solidarity he encouraged his sixty-seven supporters to back Gov. Jindal. “Us B-Listers have to stick together,” he drawled.
The A List Debate is peopled with candidates who have more respectable polling numbers. Carly Fiorina, a candidate with absolutely no record of public service and whose claim to fame is that she fired 10,000 employees while CEO of Hewlett-Packard—she characterized the firing as “a bold move,” was promoted to the A List when her poll numbers went through the roof after her B List performance last month. She now stands at 4%, strongly outpacing Sen. Ted Cruz who holds either 2% or 2.5% depending on which poll you look at, always bearing in mind that the margin of error is plus or minus 2%. The irascible Cruz was recently named the second most hated man in America behind the serial killer Ted Bundy. Cruz claims he was tarnished by having the same first name as Bundy and has informed CNN that he demands to be addressed as Theodore during the debate.
The most interesting candidate on the stage will be Dr. Ben (deer caught in the headlights) Carson, a neurosurgeon famous for having an anesthesiologist as one of his policy advisors. Some claim he was overmedicated during the first debate, accounting for the fact that he didn’t participate at all until the final statements. His closing remarks, full of homilies, patriotic hyperbole and references to the Lord, were so bland and unimaginative that he is now among the front-runners, a tribute to the enduring influence of The Great Cue Card Reader.
Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, gracefully hovering around 2% in the polls, has focused his laser like scrutiny on the ferocious 6.7% of workers who still belong to unions. This outsized behemoth, made up primarily of auto workers, miners and hotel service employees is causing the American people grave injury according to Walker. I’m sure the perennially weak and ineffectual Corporate State is relieved at Walker’s ambitious agenda.
I have to admit I look back with nostalgia at the term “the 1%,” when it referred to greedy arbitragers, hated credit default swappers and corrupt leveraged buyout tycoons—Wall Street personified. Now when you hear the term “the 1%” you think of the incompetent Bobby Jindal, the bewildered Rick Perry and the oily Scott Walker. I feel a little sorry for them.
I can picture the beginning of the debate. The moderator welcomes the audience, announces the format and begins. “The first question will go to Sen. Cruz. How are you tonight, Ted?” His face reddens, veins bulge out of his neck, he knocks over his podium. “Security, we need security!!”