The latest in a seemingly neverending series of fall debates between 2012 Republican presidential nominee hopefuls, last night's debate featured every candidate flying their asshole flag loud and proud. Even though the night was teeming with stupid, here are ten moments that outshone the others in their sheer jaw-dropping, chaotic dickery.
1. Republican "family values" means that three-year-olds love C-Span and Michele Bachmann speaks for women. The Republican Party loves to whip out their families and measure them against each other, arguing over who has the biggest and the toughest, and last night was no exception. Rick Santorum opened the debate with a greeting for his three-year-old daughter who had just received surgery that day, which was sort of sweet until you realize that probably the least fun thing for a doped up toddler is watching Daddy argue about grown-up things on TV. Three-year-olds don't want to watch the Republican Presidential debate; they want to watch Yo Gabba Gabba.
Santorum later went on to spout some serious anti-gay marriage dog-whistle talk in front of moderator Anderson Cooper, which was both ballsy and dumb, and reminded those of us with a 12-year-old's sense of humor that it's his stance on gay marriage that got Santorum in hot water with Dan Savage, and it's his stance on gay marriage that got Santorum's name used as slang for frothy post-anal leftovers.
Michele Bachmann, meanwhile, bought a first class ticket to the family values train when she called out to America's moms during some part of the debate when everyone was shouting about Obamacare. She looked right at the camera and wanted you personally to know that Michele Bachmann understands you, Momaricans. She knows that you must be beside yourselves now that your husbands are losing your houses, just crying into the pot roasts you're all making right this second.
2. Weather-hardened frontier grandpa Ron Paul seemed to have misplaced his lucky pipe tobacky before the debate, and he was a hootin' and a hollerin' like the dickens. That Ron Paul believes in deregulation of everything, including complete anarchy with respect to the sizing of men's suits. The fact that a man who wants to be the leader of the free world can't seem to find a suit that does not look like it once belonged to his older, much bigger brother should personally offend all freedom-loving Americans.
3. Mitt Romney and his illegals. The segment of the debate that addressed immigration kicked off on a charming note Texas A&M C-average student-style note when Rick Perry referred to undocumented immigrants as "illegals." What followed was an exchange worthy of The Best of Maury Povich: White Guys Edition, wherein Perry accused Romney of hiring "illegals" to work on his yard, Romney getting mad and saying that wasn't true, that he'd hired a landscaping company and the company had hired illegals, and when he found out that there were illegals working on his property, he had his golden limousine full of Grey Poupon drive straight down to that company and he got out of that limo and marched up to the company and said by gum, "I can't have you hiring illegals! I'm running for office, for God's sake!" And then he fired that company. Why, he was so mad he just about cracked his monocle. And that's why, he said, we need to have a universal check on people's social security numbers. Wouldn't you have felt bad, America, if you found out that your servants were undocumented? President Mitt Romney will make sure that such servant problems are minimized.
4. Rick Perry doesn't believe in answering the questions asked of him. At one point, Anderson Cooper pressed Perry to respond to the questions he asked with answers relevant to the questions, and Perry responded that he didn't have to answer jack shit and focused on spending the entire debate pulling on Mitt Romney's pigtails while Romney cried and asked Perry if he knew who his father was.
5. Herman Cain thinks Americans are capable of doing math, aren't capable of using the internet. So people are still taking Herman Cain and his Pizza For Everyone plan seriously, which is disturbing in and of itself. But last night Cain went too far, urging all Americans to visit his website (which was down last night), look at the economic analysis of his Nein, Nein, Nein plan (bo-ring) and do the math themselves. Isn't a general lack of financial mathematical capacity what got America into this economic mess in the first place? Does Cain really mean to suggest that Joe and Jane Plumber Von Six Pack should take their Real American education and complete a complicated economic analysis? This sounds like a terrible idea.
6. The audience. The audience at these debates, what with their clapping for Rick Perry's boast about how many people he's executed as governor of Texas, always seems to draw from a segment of the population that is exceptionally evil. Last night, they clapped heartily for Herman Cain's insistence that Occupy Wall Street protesters are to blame for the collapse of Wall Street. Yeah, poor people. Fuck off!
The white audience also responded enthusiastically when the black candidate onstage revisited statements he made wherein he pledged to electrocute Mexicans.
7. Newt Gingrich calling for an appeal to morality and prayer. America needs a leader that is a strong moral person, insists the man who reportedly conducted an affair with a married woman while he was married in the seventies and is currently on his third marriage, this time to a woman who he began dating while he was still with his ex-wife. "I, frankly, would be really worried if somebody assured me that nothing in their faith would affect their judgments, because then I'd wonder, where's your judgment. How can you have judgment if you have no faith? And how can I trust you with power if you don't pray?" Newt followed that statement by spinning his head around 180 degrees and lighting on fire.
8. Michele Bachmann wants babies to pay taxes. Bachmann wasn't too nutty last night, despite the fact that she took the stage dressed as though she wanted to sartorially announce that she'd just joined the Navy. She wanted people to know that it's important that every single American pay something into the tax system. Every single one. Even if they can just pay a dollar. No one pressed her on whether she means that babies and the elderly on fixed incomes should pay taxes, so we should assume that she means everyone. Cough up, babies.
9. 100% of Republicans agree: a health care plan that has yet to be implemented has traveled back in time from the future and is ruining America. Bachmann once again mischaracterized the same report she cited in the last Republican debate, the one that she says claims that overregulation in the form of Obamacare is leading to American economic regression (everyone knows that if you repeat something enough, it becomes true). Ron Paul swears that Americans would be healthier if they just let the free market take care of them. And Herman Cain called the Affordable Care Act a disaster. Too bad most of the plan's provisions don't take effect until 2014.
10. Can we please revisit this "illegals" thing? And how stupid all of them sounded? Have you ever spent time around embarrassing elderly relatives who are visiting the city where you live and one of them, I don't know, points out that she's noticed a lot of Chinamen and is surprised that they're not all wearing those hats they always seem to be wearing in cartoons? That's about how embarrassing it was to watch a group of supposedly educated adult American citizens throw around the word "illegals" as a noun with impunity. Michele Bachmann accused the President's family of being "illegals," claimed that Iranian terrorists were coming into the country through Mexico, and then lamented the existence of anchor babies, which, according to her, are pretty much magnets for welfare. Rick Perry boasted about his efforts to combat "illegals" in Texas. Herman Cain chuckled at the idea of electrocuting people. Mitt Romney wants to outsource our foreign aid budget to China, because if there's one way to make sure that we remain highly regarded by the rest of the world, it's cutting the 1% of the national budget that we use on foreign aid and letting China take care of everyone so that everyone begins to like China more than us. Michele Bachmann suggested that the countries we "liberated" should be required to reimburse us for the cost of the war that we waged in their countries and that American troops in Iraq should get criminal immunity. What the everloving fuck is wrong with these people? These are adults. These are people who want to run the entire country.
At the end of a night characterized by discourse that very early on breached the boundary between "insensitive" and "offensive," most analysts agree that the real winner of the debate wasn't Romney, Gingrich, Perry, Bachmann, Paul, Santorum, or Cain; it was Jon Huntsman, who didn't even show up.