CNN's Republican Reality Show

From the moment the imperious music began and the narrator intoned that the Republicans wanted to "kick out" Obama from the White House, CNN left no overwrought TV styling untried.

Part Survivor, part Mel Gibson biopic trailer, part game show, the intro to the debate showed no interest in making a distinction between politics and entertainment. Each candidate got a nickname: Mitt Romney ("The Frontrunner"), Rick Perry ("The Newcomer"), Michele Bachmann ("The Firebrand"), Jon Huntsman ("The Diplomat"), Ron Paul ("The Libertarian"), Rick Santorum ("The Fighter"), Herman Cain ("The Businessman"), and Newt Gingrich ("The Big Thinker").

Those theatrics apparently did not suffice. Wolf Blitzer, not a man usually known for his demonstrativeness, boomed out further intros of "tonight's players" as the candidates emerged from star-spangled passageways to mixed applause.


As Talking Points Memo pointed out before CNN hit us over the head with it, the GOP nomination has increasingly become cast in entertainment terms by the candidates themselves. Rick Santorum told ABC News that "it's like an episode of Survivor." And eliminated contestant Tim Pawlenty said on The Colbert Report, "It's taking on more and more of a reality TV component, these races. You've got to have not just money but an entertainment component, too."

Maybe that's why John Huntsman made a weird and awkward Kurt Cobain reference, followed by a reference to our "heroin-like" addiction to foreign oil. Are you having fun yet?

Related: Theme Of The Day: The GOP Nomination Is Reality TV [TPM]

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(AP) — Aspiring GOP presidential candidate Khal Drogo upset the race when he unveiled a new, controversial deficit reduction plan during the CNN Tea Party Debate Monday night.

Drogo proposed eliminating the U.S. Navy - a move that could save an estimated $160 billion - while immediately retreating from both Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Taking military personal through waters the horses cannot drink needs to become a thing of the past," Drogo said. "In addition, it is time for the Khalasars in those wind swept lands to appoint their own Khals and find their own path. Let them ride, I say! Let them ride!"

Drogo said he would also reform both Medicare and Social Security by firing existing government personnel and instead appointing Dosh khaleen to run both programs.

"The Dosh khaleen will eliminate bureaucracy, cut government waste and reduce spending overall," Drogo said. "This is the way to save both systems. It is known."

Drogo's main challenger, Tywin Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock, Shield of Lannisport and Warden of the West accused the Khal of trying to privatize both systems.

"With proper lending practices in place and reasonable interest rates we can pay down the national debt effectively over time," Lannister said. "While Drogo and I disagree on many things, I believe there is no one in this room who would argue that as both president and a Lannister I would make sure we paid our debts."

Lannister said that should he hold office he would appoint his son, noted economist Tyrion Lannister, as head of the federal reserve. He also dismissed Drogo's idea of disengaging from military naval maneuvers as "a reckless idea that could put our country at great risk."

Instead, Lanniser said he would appoint Sandor Clegane as chairman of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff and give him the job of both cutting wasteful military spending and maintaining troops at the highest possible state of readiness.

"Clegane will hound our enemies at every turn," Lannister said.

Texas Governor Rick Perry, a newcomer to the race, tried to parry with both Drogo and Lannister.

"Transforming Social Security from a Ponzi Scheme to a form of top down socialism is not the answer," Perry said. "And, letting Lannister into office will just continue to support the type of Wall Street borrow and spend cronyism policies that got us into dire financial straights in the first place."

Drogo then burst into laughter saying "Look at Gov. Perry's hair! He has no braid! He has no right to lead."