by Johnny Bananas
The Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, Florida was the site of the third Republican debate. Missing from the stage were candidates Mike Pence, Asa Hutchinson and that guy Doug, as was the Reagan Library plane that disappeared like the hopes of the three vanquished old white guys.
Miami is as diverse as they come and the GOP hopefuls suddenly look like the new America Barack Obama and Joe Biden have manufactured by opening the southern border wider than Governor Christie’s pants.
Gone are the days of pasty conservative men. We are left with two Indians, an African American, an obese guy and another guy wearing high heels. If that’s not a representative sample of modern America I don’t know what is!
Speaking of striking, Vivek Ramaswamy came just short of rich-slapping two ladies right off the bat as the billionaire came out of the gates swinging for the fences (that was one pun and three metaphors if you’re scoring at home). He answered his first question by calling out RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel to come up on stage and apologize to her party, generously offering her his time to allow her to resign. He quickly turned his attack on to the lone female moderator, Kirsten Welker, for supporting the Trump Russia Collusion hoax, eliciting groans and howls from the crowd who were itching for some click-bait. Who says chivalry is dead?
The moderators for the show were the equally diverse Lester Holt, Kristen, and Hugh Hewitt, who, if I’ve done my intersectional math correctly, make two Harvard grads and a Jamaican all working for the Man.
Lester set the tone early by admonishing the crowd for showing their human instinct of approval by applauding candidates saying things they support. Having the personal charm of a butler who moonlights as a librarian, Lester seems to have forgotten the real focus of the debate were the people sitting behind not beneath him. Luckily they did as they were told by the Constitution and told Lester to go fluff himself by continuing to make as much noise as they darn well pleased. ‘Merica!
The moderators questions were all craftily designed to focus on second-tier issues like high gas prices, what would you say to Israel’s Prime Minister if he actually listened to you, and how many boats will you buy from defense contractors to impress the Chinese. This made the debate feel more like a friendly game night where the argument is over playing Monopoly versus Risk. Toss in a question about the growing anti-semitism on college campuses and the real interests were being spoken to: Energy companies, “the Jews” and the military-industrial complex, that is, the America that rules Americans. At least that’s what my friends Mel and Kanye told me.
Conspicuously absent from the debate was front-runner Donald Trump who has a bigger lead over the pack than a tranny at a track meet. When not in court the Don is holding court at one of many arena’s around the country that are packed fuller than Sam Brinton’s suitcases.
Governor Christie, when not using food as a reference, spent most the evening pining for the former president to give “what he owes the American people” by way of an explanation as to what he’ll do when he becomes president. Somehow he missed that’s exactly what Trump was doing that night to a crowd of millions without the indignity of having to answer to a team of future also-ran-their-mouths.
Other than Ramaswamy’s scorched earth tactics, the debate had the feel of a drug commercial. You know the kind – where we’re reminded of how great life was, then told we have this pervasive sickness that only (blank) can solve, followed by a list of harmful side-effects spoken quickly to us in a hushed monotone voice, such as hair loss, lowered libido and eye bleeding, concluding with visual imagery of the perfect life we all hope for while secretly knowing we’re more likely to get one or more side-effects. Yeah, sign us up for that.
So as the candidates were asked to give their concluding remarks they pulled out their rhetorical paint brushes and canvassed the room with vision casting and big promises loud enough to cause amnesia for all of the past promises which forgot to pay-up.
Desantis summoned his greatest governor in America vibe. Haley waved the “strong and proud” flag. Christie reminded us the situation is more serious than his looming heart attack.
Scott did his best impersonation of Mike Pence, cranked out a few Bible verses, and soft-shouted how American needs to return to its Christian roots, at which point Lester immediately cut him off for using the words faith and Christian. Scott was later declared the black face of Christian nationalism by Media Matters.
All of them at times borrowed from the Trump playbook which runs on a combination of tough talk, insult comedy and patriotic slogans, only none of them come by it honestly as does Donnie Ballgame, which is why his numbers are higher than Jerry Garcia on the Matterhorn.
However the only one who came to play hardball was Ramaswamy who signed off by daring the Democrats to be honest about Joe Biden as a “puppet for the managerial class” and come clean about the real candidate they would run suggesting either Gavin Newsom or Michael Obama. As the crowd roared with approval Ramaswamy reminded Ronna that she would be more useful to the party if she’d just go make him a sandwich, after which he stepped out from behind his podium and shouted “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?!”