Last night was the (God help us) seventh GOP debate. The twist this time? No Donald Trump. He was giving Fox the silent treatment because he doesn’t like Megyn Kelly, which is exactly what a serious candidate for fifth-grade class president should do.
So tonight we got a Trump-free look at the other candidates, and there were 18 things that made an impression in particular.
1. Megyn Kelly (whose hair was on point) got to ask the first question, and she asked it about Trump. She asked Ted Cruz what message Trump’s absence sends to the people of Iowa. Cruz used this opportunity to pander to the state’s voters, saying that if he becomes president, Iowa won’t be a “fly-over” state, but a “fly to” state.
I went to college in Iowa. I’ve lived there. And I can tell you that that will never, ever happen. (Sorry, Iowa. I love you. You have good beef.)
2. Marco Rubio said the United States doesn’t want to be like other countries; we want to be like the United States, which is exactly the kind of thing I plan to tell my kids to get them through middle school. I’ll say, “Don’t be like everybody else, kids. Be like you.” And they’ll say, “F*** off, Mom.”
3. Moderator Chris Wallace attempted the worst segue in human history when he said: “Dr. Carson… Governor Kasich likes to say he knows how to ‘land the plane.’ You’ve landed a lot of planes in the O.R….”
That reminds me of the time I… nope.
4. Ted Cruz really, really wants to carpet bomb this mythical, isolated target called “ISIS.” Now, there’s no way I can know this for certain, but I’m pretty confident that Ted Cruz masturbates while watching Road Runner cartoons. By the way, did you know that carpet bombing is considered a war crime under the Geneva Convention? Ha! Facts are funny.
5. Jeb Bush said “liberry.” I swear. I played it three times.
6. Ted Cruz, the guy who practices one joke for hours in the mirror and then lays it on you at a party and waits for laughter that never comes, said this in an attempt to slam Donald Trump: “If you guys ask one more mean question, I may have to leave the stage.” This line did get some applause, but I suspect it wasn’t for the reasons he thought it would.
7. The moderators were taking exactly 0.0 percent shit. My favorite moment was when one of the candidates tried to talk over Megyn Kelly and she said, “No. No. NO.” Megyn Kelly clearly has either a dog or a toddler or both.
8. In response to a question about whether or not the GOP is encouraging anti-Muslim sentiment, Ben Carson said, “We have to stop letting political correctness dictate our policy.” So, yes.
9. Last night, Fox used questions from “YouTube stars.” I was on the edge of my seat praying for a question from PewDiePie on cap-and-trade spending. (To be honest, I have no idea who that is. I Googled “YouTube stars” and that was the first name on the list. I am old.)
10. “I think that when you’re elected, you need to do things.” Jeb Bush, everybody. Jeb Bush.
11. Chris Christie, the Governor of New Jersey since 2010, is sticking with his, “I have no idea what these guys are talking about with their ‘politics’ and their ‘insider knowledge.’ I’m just like you, Common American Idiot” shtick. It’s like when career politician Ted Cruz said later that no one in Washington likes him because he is “not the candidate of career politicians.” Enough, you guys.
12. YouTube star Dulce Candy asked a question and Jeb Bush said that was “a pretty good name.” Jeb Bush is correct.
13. Chris Wallace mentioned in a question to Marco Rubio that Rubio was once called, “the savior of the Republican party.” Rubio’s response? “There’s only one savior, and that’s Jesus Christ who died for our sins.” I am going to make this my go-to response for everything from now on.
- “Thank you for shopping at Safeway!”
“Don’t thank me, thank Jesus Christ who died for our sins.”
- “You’ve done a wonderful thing by donating to Guinea Pig Rescue.”
“The person who did a wonderful thing was the man who created guinea pigs, and that’s our lord Jesus Christ.”
14. Kasich talked for a while about how we need to make helping the mentally ill and drug addicted a priority. “Mild applause” is how I would describe the response.
15. In his answers to nearly every question asked of him, Marco Rubio would say, “When I’m president…” This is a man who has a Vision Board at home with a picture of his head pasted onto Ronald Reagan’s body. Bet on it.
16. Closing statements started at 7:54. For that, Fox gets a high five.
17. The closings were unremarkable. Christie closed with — you guessed it — 9/11, and Carson quoted the Constitution and then said, “‘Nuff said.” Well done, guys. Way to phone it in.
18. Biggest takeaway: Trump doesn’t have to be in the debates for them to be interesting/terrifying. Bravo, gentlemen.