Note: This liveblog goes in reverse order, so start and the bottom and work your way up.
WRAP-UP: I’m Miles Lothe, and this has been the Straight Talk Edition liveblog. I hope you guys enjoyed this as much as I did. Thanks so much for playing along – as always, e-mail me with comments, questions, or to tell me how awesome I am: firstname.lastname@example.org. G’night, everyone.
SUMMARY: Mitt Romney destroyed this debate. He’s been criticized in the past for failing to appeal to the, uh, dumber Republicans, and that’s why everyone thought Perry was a threat – for every sound answer Romney gave, Rick Perry gave an answer that sounded good, like a Texan came up with it.
Of course, now that we know Rick Perry is a blithering idiot, Herman Cain is the new darling, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time for him: right before the economic debate. Mitt Romney put on a fucking clinic tonight on clearly explaining complex economic reasoning, while Herman Cain spent his night in the spotlight telling us some economist in Cleveland – note, he lives in Cleveland, Cain didn’t say he teaches anywhere, or works for any think tank, or even that he has a degree, so this might just be some asshole - says 999 will work, and “The American People” want it.
Listen to me, I’m gushing like a fucking schoolgirl about Romney right now. But this was it – tonight he fucking shone. The other candidates said a bunch of retarded shit and then attacked him on the issue he’s strongest at. Did you see how Ron Paul went after Romney? You didn’t? That’s because Ron Paul knew better. Tonight, big win for Romney. The candidates who weren’t Romney, Perry, and Cain didn’t really have any chances to say many substantive things – Santorum managed to talk about family, Bachmann mentioned her 23 kids, Gingrich reminded us that Obama hates America, Huntsman was clever and charming and hilarious but maybe wasted too much time being those things, and Ron Paul hammered Austrian economics, but that shit fell on deaf ears.
9:52 – Rick Perry with a decent recovery. Mitt Romney with a huge dismount and he sticks the fucking landing.
9:50 – Holy shit. Jon Huntsman bringing divorce and abuse into this. That got real real real quick.
9:49 – Ron Paul: “Your pain? I just want you to be free to fix your own goddamn pain.”
9:48 – “I was po’ before I was poor.”Did Herman Cain just race card us? I think he race carded us.
9:47 – Michelle Bachmann wants to cut funding to social programs, because she cares about people. Her heart bleeds for them.
9:46 – “The greek word for home is the root of the word ‘economics’.” ETYMOLOGY IS NOT SOUND BASIS FOR POLICY, YOU FUCK.
9:45 – I KNEW SANTORUM WOULD MAKE THIS ABOUT THE FAMILY. FUCK.
9:44 – It is just empirically false that homelessness has only increased under Barack Obama. It’s empirically false that the rise in unemployment started under Obama. THAT’S JUST NOT THE TRUTH. RICK PERRY IS SAYING FALSE THINGS.
9:43 – Romney dropping buzzwords AND economic realities. He is destroying right now.
9:41 – “How can you tell if you’re responsible for being jobless? If you’re angry about being unemployed, it’s your fault. The rest of you – don’t worry about it. 999.” FUCKING HERMAN CAIN.
9:40 – Yup. Barack Obama wants America to fail. That’s it. That HAS to be it. Newt Gingrich has fucking nailed it – Obama wants Americans to be miserable.
9:37 – Wait. Rick Perry is saying that the Federal Government should not be involved in alternative energy? So exactly what the fuck is his plan to get us energy independence? Declaration of Energy Independence… But With No Federal Investment!
9:36 – Right, see, that’s the kind of answer you can’t give, Cain – “My plan! It happens to do this one thing!”
9:33 – GREAT question about increasing the availability of funds to small businesses, and here’s the thing: there are answers to this question. There are clear ways to increase liquidity in an economy. You can’t just dick around this answer, and handwave about energy jobs or whatever. You have to identify clear things to do based on economic principles. So lets see if the candidates have good answers.
9:32 – Man, Ron Paul doesn’t get many chances to make points, but he’s doing a great job of driving home key points about his batshit loco economics.
9:30 – Does Cain know that Greenspan did the same thing Bernanke is doing now with interest rates? Does he know that? Because I don’t think he fucking knows that.
9:29 – Rick Perry: “Governors come up with good ideas for healthcare.” That is the dumbest fucking thing he could have said. He’s been hammering Romney on healthcare – ROMNEY THE GOVERNOR WHO FIXED HEALTHCARE IN HIS STATE.
9:27 – Just in case you’re not sure what tort reform is, it’s making it harder to sue. Somehow Rick Perry has fixed healthcare by changing the laws about lawsuits. I’m not saying there’s not a link, I’m just saying, he’s not doing the work to show us how.
9:24 – At the break, Mitt Romney is fucking running shit right now. Everyone is attacking him, and he’s giving good answers. I mean, it’s no surprise the former businessman/governor understands economics so well, but he’s doing an incredible job of capitalizing on his strengths.
9:22 – …Santorum wasn’t in office when TARP happened. HOW CONVENIENT FOR HIS RECORD THAT NO ONE CAN CHECK HOW HE VOTED.
9:21 – Romney, ignoring Perry and asking Bachmann. Fucking GENIUS move. Seriously, he makes Perry look less important than BACHMANN.
9:19 – Bachmann’s kids definitely qualify her to run the country. Absolutely. WAY TO BE COMPLETELY NONRESPONSIVE.
9:17 – Did Rick Perry think he was going to catch Romney off-guard with the Romneycare:Obamacare question? He’s already produced at least one attack ad only on that subject. Why would he give Romney the chance to respond like that? Huge tactical fuckup.
9:14 – Honestly, I trust Ron Paul over Herman Cain on what Herman Cain has said.
9:10 – It’s a huge tactical mistake to try to challenge Romney on the economy. It just is. No one, except maybe Ron Paul, knows as much economics as him. Romney is just bludgeoning everyone else with economic terms and facts. He can’t be beat on this.
9:09 – Herman Cain is an idiot, who gets mad that the economy isn’t simple. But you can’t legislate simplicity into a network of hundreds of millions of people. Fuck.
9:08 – Herman Cain – “Can you name 59 things?” If Mitt Romney recited 59 things right now, that would be so fucking badass.
9:06 – Does Michelle Bachmann know that Ronald Reagan fucking tripled the national debt and raised taxes like, five times? Because I don’t think she knows that.
9:05 – Candidates are going to question each other? THIS isn’t going to get chaotic and out of hand at all. One bit. WHY WOULD IT.
9:03 – Cain has offered zero warrants for any of his claims. He literally has given us absolutely no empirical facts or data to support the fact that his “bold” plan will be passed. And I think, given the events of the last four years, it’s ridiculous to say that something will happen because the American people want it. I… I think we’ve got fucktons of evidence that that’s not the case.
9:00 – So, look. Right now, the candidates have pretty much stuck to the talking points, whatever. Herman Cain has received a fuckton of attention, because he took a huge leap at the polls. But it was a strategic mistake to make tonight about his tax plan. Why? Because his tax plan is fucking stupid.
8:55 – Herman Cain said, like 20 minutes ago, “The American people want this.” Santorum asked the crowd, and literally zero American people said they wanted it. Cain’s response: “Here’s the difference between me and them – they’re practical about reality! I’m bold.”
8:54 – Rick Santorum just said, “I don’t want to go to a trade war… I want to beat China. I want to go to war and win.” THOSE WERE HIS ACTUAL WORDS. Insofar as that’s a sentence, it means fucking nothing except Santorum is an idiot.
8:52 – Rick Perry says we don’t have to worry about policy. WE DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT POLICY. Just… what? WHAT? Here’s what that means: Rick Perry has no fucking clue what these guys are talking about, with international stuff and shit, so he’s like, “GO BACK TO ENERGY THAT’S WHAT I KNOW.”
8:49 – Huntsman is right about one thing: even if China is cheating at trade, we fucking need them. And they need us. It’s just profitable as fuck to trade with the Chinese.
8:46 – Herman Cain just said that Americans wouldn’t necessarily pay more for milk, bread, and beer, because there’s no tax on used goods. What the actual fuck.
8:46 – HOLY SHIT THEY’LL TAX BEER. NOPE. NOPE NOPE NOPE.
8:45 – “All of your fancy economists are wrong. Let me explain some talking points.” Thanks, Herman Cain. You do that.
8:44 – If I’m getting 25% of 10 million? I get out of bed in the morning, Michelle Bachmann.
8:44 – Shit. My feed conked out for a second. But we’re back.
8:40 – Herman Cain has made some claims so far tonight about the 999 plan – one, it’s a sweeping, drastic change, and two, it’s going to pass and it’s going to work. He’s done absolutely no work to connect those two claims. At all. The only support he’s offered, really, for the idea that replacing our entire fucking tax code with three different 9% taxes is, “I have an economist working with me on it. He lives in Cleveland.”
8:38 -Herman Cain has gotten tons of attention, but he hasn’t used it very well. Like, at all. Huntsman made a joke about the price of a pizza, and Cain took that way too fucking seriously. Did you see how offended he was? So offended. And he got caught up dismissing that. Rookie mistake, Cain.
8:36 – Obviously, Rick Perry is fucking out. They’ve barely even looked at him; he had his chances, and he blew it, because, as he would say, “RICK PERRY CAN’T WORDS GOOD.” (That’s a direct quote. I talked to him earlier.)
8:35 – Okay, first commercial break. Mitt Romney is balling out of control right now as far as a clear frontrunner is concerned – he’s giving really clear answers to some attempts to pin him down.
8:31 – say what you want about Austrian economics – and I think the suggestion that we should return to the gold standard is insane – but the fact that bubbles have happened a bunch of times in the last two decades or so, and were predicted, makes a really good case that we should be paying more attention to some of those ideas. SOME. Not all. SOME.
8:30 – Wait a goddamn minute. Did Herman Cain just say that the bailout money should have been distributed more equitably? It’s like he doesn’t even know what that word means.
8:29 – Mitt Romney just gave a really, really nuanced answer. That was great. “Yes, it prevented the collapse. No, it wasn’t perfect, there were real problems.” They’re going to try to stick him with flip-flopping all night.
8:27 – Mitt Romney has a better grasp of what hypothetical means than the cute girl. I now feel less bad about my sexist remark earlier.
8:27 – “I’ve got some economists helping me. I swear.”
8:26 – Herman Cain, you already explained what 999 is. What American people want 999 to pass? That’s handwavy and fucking meaningless. Fuck.
8:25 – Huntsman just completely demolished Herman Cain’s plan. That was fantastic. And he’s right – 999 just can’t be a fucking thing.
8:23 – I very much doubt Barack Obama used the term “Obamacare” to refer to his own plan.
8:19 – HEYOOOOO – Politicians joke. Huntsman is charming. No doubt about that. But it’s time for an answer.
8:17 – Rick Santorum is actually talking about political reality. What the fuck is going on right now. This is the most sense that man has ever made, ever. Ever.
8:16 – HERE IT COMES. GAY MARRIAGE. CUE SANTORUM.
8:14 – In case you’re not sure why they’re laughing, Ron Paul wants to get rid of the Federal Reserve. And to be fair, he’s been saying that for decades now.
8:13 – Bernanke – Bernanke isn’t a politician. It’s fucking insane to say that we should start with politicians – mostly Bernanke.
8:12 – Rick Santorum is going to talk about gay marriage. I’m predicting it now.
8:12 -Look, Bachmann makes some valid economic points – the government mandated some shitty loans. But there’s no way to deny that some CEOs committed fucking crimes. Just… just say that! Why can’t we admit that?!
8:11 – Q: “Should CEOs go to jail?” A: “Fuck the federal government.”
8:10 – MICHELLE BACHMANN WITH THE FIRST DODGE OF THE NIGHT.
8:09 – Michelle Bachmann looks like an evil empress, but I can’t peg which one. Can anyone help me out?
8:08 – Romney: We can’t spend more. But also, we can’t tax more. Also, we need to fix the deficit. For those of you playing along at home, pick two.
8:08 – Barack Obama – divider in chief? Yeah, he didn’t compromise at all.
8:07 – In case you don’t know what the 999 plan is, Cain wants to make income tax, corporate income tax, and sales tax 9%. Why 9%? Because 10% is enough for God, so 9% should be enough for us. THAT’S THE ACTUAL REASONING.
8:06 – Herman Cain doesn’t know the difference between bold and fucking retarded. The 999 plan is only one of those. Also, how is throwing out the entire tax code not paralyzing?
8:04 – Herman Cain’s credentials are fucking hilarious. There’s just no way around that. CEO of a pizza chain.
8:03 – The Bloomberg girl is kind of hot. How you doin’?
8:03 – “It’s only about the economy” – I very much fucking doubt this debate will only be about the economy.
8:02 – Yeah, yeah, yeah, guy. We know. Things are shitty.
8:02 – GAME TIME MOTHERFUCKERS.
8:01 – “We’re hoping to nail them to a plan.” Yeah, because it’s not like politicians practice not getting nailed down all the time.
8:00 – Alright, here we go. Game. Fucking. Time. 40-person fact checking team! That’s fucking cool. But here’s my fear: the candidates won’t be saying anything substantive to be checked.
7:59 – In case you don’t know anything about economics, listen closely to the crowd. You’ll know how good an idea is by how loudly they boo it.
7:58 – The drums make this feel like some sort of tribal warfare. I expect kanly to be
evoked invoked at some point or another. As a bro I’m committed to voting for whoever has the best tribal band tattoo.
7:55 – Holy shit, it’s a roundtable format? That is a fucking terrible idea. I wouldn’t want to be sitting that close to Rick Perry.
7:53 – I expect this to, very quickly, devolve into a Question Twisting Olympics. If you’re looking to get fucking hammered tonight, drink every time Rick Santorum doesn’t answer a question.
7:50 – Tonight’s debate is a debate strictly about economics, which means that a bunch of the candidates are out and out fucked.
7:48 – So here’s the plan: I’m going in reverse chronological order, and you can hit either the comments below or tweet at me, @MilesLothe.
7:47 – No, just kidding. What if this whole fucking thing was just me shouting in caps, though? Fuck, that would get old fast. Even for me.
7:45 – HOLY SHIT WHO’S READY FOR SOME MOTHERFUCKING POLITICS.