[intro-text size=”25px”]I hunkered in last Thursday night, well behind enemies lines with the rest of the record high twenty-four million viewers who tuned into Fox News for the latest ten-car pileup that was this election’s first GOP primary debate. I did this so you, Pressure Life’s faithful audience didn’t have to endure such punishment. What did we learn? Not much that we didn’t already suspect.[/intro-text]

Marco Rubio stood out for being the most polished and comfortable in front of people, then again so did the robots in WestWorld before they went haywire and at least they had a more convincing smile. Jeb Bush, brother to one of the most reviled Presidents ever, did his best to pretend that wasn’t a thing. And although some pundits said Bush Beta won by simply not bombing miserably, he didn’t exactly win anybody over either. Neurosurgeon, Ben Carson, seemed to have won points in not wetting himself, although at times he seemed near just that. Questioning how he expected to govern with a complete lack of experience in any realm of politics whatsoever, the good doctor shrugged and basically said, ‘because I’m a doctor and I’d like to?’ The answer, perhaps more eloquent than I paraphrased, seemed middling but then one looks down the dais to Scott Walker.

By far the most dangerous, cross-eyed man on the stage, union-buster Walker spouted the same empty-headed rhetoric you can find on most rusted pick-up bumper stickers. Saying once, that Obama is seen as soft throughout the rest of the world (I’d ask the middle-eastern non-combative civilians he had carpet bombed by drones for a second opinion on that) and that Vladimir Putin’s aggressive dickery was something to be admired. Since when do American politicians get points for sucking up to the Iron Curtain? Walker said our foreign policy should be determined at the end of a bayonette (no, you did not fall into a temporal time-hole, this is still the 21st century). He was quoted as saying, “where there’s mush you push, where there’s steel you yield”, which translates to ‘bully people softer than you but when there’s a real challenge surrender’?

If you thought that was dumb, you haven’t heard Mike Huckabee speak yet. When asked how he could square wanting larger armed forces while not wanting transgendered to serve he teed up this gem, “our military is not a social experiment. It’s there to break things and kill people.” Huh, and here I thought it was for defense and protecting the weak. This is your ‘religious’ candidate, people. But he didn’t stop there. The candidates couldn’t leapfrog each other fast enough to take away a woman’s right to choose but Huckabee took the cake saying in one sentence we need to stop listening to the Supreme Court’s decisions and invoke the Constitution… it’s been a while since I had poli-sci but I think they’re in there too, Mike. The former Arkansas Governor said fetuses should invoke their fourth and fifteenth amendments for right to life, but you know, somehow women are exempt from the same Constitutional protection. This coming from the guy who also plans on funding Social Security by taxing pimps (actually uttered on stage) because you know how honest pimps are on filing their gross yearly income.

The only actual debate came from Rand Paul and Chris Christie on the topic of surveillance versus security. Christie, whose go-to move is to appear like a stern father chastising Americans as if we were all fifteen year old glue-huffers, made no bones about the NSA wiretapping and wanted to listen in on even more calls and that Paul’s insistence to expire the Patriot Act puts America in danger. To his credit, Paul explained that you can still investigate anyone suspected of wrongdoing, simply after getting a warrant. To which Christie’s Nixonian head nearly exploded. I find it amusing how candidates only rely on the Constitution when it serves their narrative. Our own governor, John Kasich, came off amazingly even-tempered, even moderate compared to such a motley crew. His novel ability to care for someone even if he disagrees with them, anecdotally explained through the gay marriage he attended (whether that actually happened or not) did not play to the base in attendance but it might go a long way in proving his electability in a national audience. I think the Governor is leveraging a Vice-Presidency bid. Look for him to saddle up with Rubio if things get tight.

Of course the main attraction was Donald Trump who appeared to be sucking on a mouthful of Sour Patch Kids the entire night. He went on the offensive early, not against the other candidates but the moderators for having the gall to ask him questions, all of which he could not answer. The man has been a joke for decades now but given the national spotlight his antics are growing tired. When push comes to shove the GOP knows he is a toxic albatross that brings nothing to the table. The biggest gift to the Democratic party was when he would not rule out running as a third party ticket if the wind blew just right, effectively splitting the vote and almost assuredly handing Hillary Clinton the election.

If not there in person, Clinton was there in spirit. Any answer that had the potential to trip up a candidate or merely reveal an actual opinion was spun back to Hillary and the much-to-do-about-nothing email server. With Rubio even saying, “if this thing is determined by resumes, then Hillary has already won.”

Psst… I’m pretty sure that’s a big part of it, Senator.

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    Content Strategist, novelist and prolific roustabout who drinks entirely too much coffee. You can find him on Twitter @therealadamdodd