It wasn't as entertaining as prior debates, even with Becky Quick moderating, and she's both cute and bright, so you figure it should have been a winner, but it was pretty tame, comparatively speaking.
I had forgotten Chris Christie was still running. He got off one good shot, telling a questioner that "Even in New Jersey, that's rude." Which was cute because it said that he was aware most people not from New Jersey think people from New Jersey are crass, like the housewives of New Jersey and the Sopranos. I forget what the question was, or the answer for that matter, but every answer tonight was actually the same answer: Government is BAD! Federal government anyway. If you are a governor (Christie, Bush, Kasich) then state government is good, but Washington, D.C. is bad.
This means, according to Dr. Carson, Medicare is bad, because it's federal government and you could do much better with $12,000 than give it to Medicare, because, after all, that $12,000 could cover maybe three days in the hospital. Didn't quite follow that, or anything else he said, except, Washington,DC and government is BAD.
Carly Fiorino also thinks government is bad and has no business in the retirement funding business. In fact, government is bad business, or bad for business or just BAD. She doesn't like Washington, DC much, which hardly distinguishes her from the other candidate, but she is the woman and was wearing a bright dress, red or blue, I forget. But government is BAD. I remember her saying that.
Mike Huckabee had a swell idea: All we have to do to fix Medicare and Healthcare in this country is simply cure four diseases--and here he holds up his hand and counts them off on his fingers- 1. Alzheimer's (thumb), 2. cancer (index finger) , 3. diabetes (middle finger) and 4. heart disease (fourth finger) and our medical costs evaporate.
Like what we did with polio. Know how much we spent on polio this year in America? Zero. Well, if you don't count the vaccines, but that's a quibble, and Donald Trump will be the first to say vaccines cause autism. (Or maybe that was Michele Bachmann who was the first to say that, or the woman from the parking lot who told her, but Mr. Trump was no worse than number 3.)
But I digress. I really liked Mr. Huckabee's idea. Just cure those four diseases, well those four families of diseases, and we are on easy street as far as Medicare is concerned.
Now, if I can just get Dr. Tony Fauci from the National Institutes of Health on the phone and ask him why he never thought of that. Such a simple plan. And nobody denied it, not a single man or woman on that stage or among the moderators. Great idea! So glad I tuned in tonight.
Rand Paul says we don't really need or want Medicare or Social Security, which are BAD because they are federal government programs, but for those who currently depend on these programs (those slackers), we can continue them, as long as we raise the ages of participation and make people with comfortable incomes ineligible.
He wants a government so small he cannot see it, he says. Didn't he used to say he wanted a government so small he could drown it in his bathtub? Must have thought that sounded too hostile, which is okay to be in a Republican debate, but they were all working on sounding less truculent tonight.
Marco Rubio said Hillary was caught in a lie in those 11 hours of testimony. She told her family the attack at Benghazi was an Al Qaeda attack but then said something else later, or something. I didn't quite follow. Are we still talking about Benghazi? Oh, actually, no, I got that wrong. Mr. Rubio was using that as an example of how "the media" conspires against noble Republicans to misrepresent the truth, and the media said Hillary had performed well at the hearings, when in fact she had been caught in a lie. About Benghazi. Benghazi? Really?
But my favorite was Mr. Trump. He is so blissfully vague. How would he solve the impending Medicare and Social Security apocalypse? He would just grow the economy, and make everything better and start winning again, and get people rich, everyone, without the government, and he'd hire all the Hispanics to work for him or other private companies would, and everything will be just so great again, America, that is. Immigration is an easy thing to fix: Everyone will just have to be legal and we will make the system so fair and successful that we will be winning again.
I especially liked his idea about building a 1000 mile wall along the Mexican border and the best part is he'll get the Mexicans to pay for it. Why hasn't anybody else thought of that? He said if the Chinese could build a 32,000 mile wall, then we could build a 1,000 mile wall. He did not say that if he had been around when the Chinese were building that wall, he'd have got Genghis Khan to pay for it. He didn't have to say that because we all know that's true.
I think I'm quoting him accurately.
And Ted Cruz spoke up about Washington, DC and how bad it is. I'd almost forgotten he was running. But you know, of all the candidates, he struck me as being the most Halloween appropriate. Something about his face. Just really scary. The other guys you can look at and sort of laugh, but that Ted Cruz, yikes.
I feel much better after the Republicans explain things. Before the debate things like the economy, big banks, the role of the Federal Reserve, ideas about protecting the finances of social security, what to do about education loans, how to correct income inequality and the skewed distribution of wealth, climate change, the need for energy, what to do about the coal miners, threats to the environment all seem so complex. But after two hours, I realized how very simple it all is: Just kill government, the federal government and all those problems disappear. It's like Ronald Reagan used to say: Government is not the solution; It's the problem.
I really miss the Gipper. He made things so simple. And Heaven knows, the national debt and the budget deficits and the economy did so well under him.
But think of what happened with Clinton, Bill Clinton. Sure he balanced the budget and cleaned up welfare but he also got Don't Ask Don't Tell, passed the Defense of Marriage act and he had very poor taste in young women.
It wasn't his fault though. He thought Don't Ask Don't Tell was supposed to apply to White House interns. He got confused.
Actually, I think I may be confused. Tonight is Wednesday, right? If it were Saturday, then I'd know why I found myself laughing and thinking, "Oh, this can't be for real," because then I'd know I had been watching Saturday Night Live all along.
But it's not Saturday and anyway not even Saturday Night Live could lampoon the folks on that stage tonight.