17 CANDIDATES AND COUNTING: Everything that Sucks about America

We’re right in the middle of our two-hour election season premiere! Part 1 is here. Part 2 starts now…

Chris: Hillary Clinton is sure to point out that every one of you is only interested in serving the rich, hating the poor, oppressing women and minorities, and taking America back to an imaginary version of the 1950s that only exists in Bill O’Reilly’s imagination. How do you plan to explain to America that that’s a good thing?

Kasich and Carson both get a swing at this, with Johnny Boy batting first. Did you know he’s the son of a mailman? Yuck, a lazy, unionized federal employee! He’s lucky he didn’t get pelted with tomatoes and rotten cabbages right there and then. But Kasich insists his humble upbringing gives him diplomatic immunity from Hillary’s attack dogs. Kasich also mentions he wrote the federal budget the last time we had a surplus. He can’t quite remember who was president then, and neither should you. Something tells me Clinton will remember, though.

Dr. Ben doubts Clinton will be the Democratic nominee because if he could read a poll, he wouldn’t be in the race himself. He calls Hillary the “epitome of the secular-progressive movement,” which is an O’Reilly buzz phrase for anyone who doesn’t start answering the phone with “Merry Christmas” in September. Ben casually mentions “Alinsky” because that’s all it takes to be considered the intellectual of this particular crowd, and he also talks about “useful idiots” because he has as much self-reflection of a vampire. Why Carson thinks an Alinsky devotee with a tight grip on the usual idiots and who epitomizes the secular-progressive movement wouldn’t be a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination is as lost as the question.

Chris: Jeb, you promise 4% economic growth and 19,000,000 new jobs. That’s some Trump-level bullshit right there, isn’t it?

Jeb all but admits he’s blowing smoke up our asses by saying America needs a president who will lift our spirits with happy talk. And he’s just the man to fail to live up to his campaign promises; it’s kind of a family tradition. As long as his goals are bullshit, his approach might as well be, too. Here’s his strategy for failing to achieve the impossible:

  • Tax cuts
  • Less regulation
  • Ending ObamaCare
  • Embracing oil production

Gosh, how has no Republican thought of that before?

Chris: Scott Walker, you’re pretty much an honorary member of the Bush family after failing to live up to all your campaign promises as governor of Wisconsin, right?

Walker embraces the Jeb defense that aiming high is no sin and results aren’t nearly so important as staying positive. He also promises tax cuts, less regulation, an end to ObamaCare, and more oil, but in a different order so as to create a clear distinction in the mind of the voters.

Chris: Chris Christie, you’re actually dumb enough to demand big cuts to Social Security out loud. Would you care to not only grab that “third rail” but rip it up, form it into a noose, and hang yourself with it right here on stage?

Christie promises to save Social Security by raising the retirement age and not giving rich people as much back as they put in, which, okay, full points for having the balls to put a plan out there and stand behind it. But, dude, the only reliably Republican voting block these days is the reverse mortgage crowd. You’re not actually supposed to admit to wanting to gut Social Security until after you’re elected.

Chris: Huck, do you agree?

Huckabee promises not only to not only protect Social Security, but also to call every Sunday, always wear a sweater, and bring back Matlock. Christie calls bullshit, saying there’s no money to keep paying out Social Security at current levels. That’s when Huckabee pulls out the ace up his sleeve. If only America had a national sales tax, all those “prostitutes and pimps” would be paying into the system like the rest of us! Apparently prostitutes and pimps would be big business under President Huckabee, covering the whole Social Security shortfall for us. Now that’s what I call a happy ending.

Chris: Donald, why have you declared bankruptcy four times?

Because I could, declares Donald. He didn’t buy off all those candidates for nothing. They wrote nice, easy, legal ways for him to walk away from his failures without a scratch, so he did. And besides, he says, the lenders that got screwed out of their money were assholes anyway.

This particular exchange is pretty much the perfect summation of the Trump campaign. Anyone listening to the substance of his answer sees a callous, reckless jackass who shits on the rich and poor alike. But none of his fans care about his substance; it’s the bluster and attitude and belligerence they like. They’d be happiest if he answered every question with, “Because fuck those people.”

A Facebook questioner wants to know what the candidates will do to help small businesses.

Marco Rubio gets to answer, and perhaps realizing he’s barely said more than 26 words all night, he spits out every Republican platitude he can think of in 60 seconds. Tax cuts! Less regulation! End ObamaCare! Repeal Dodd-Frank! One has to wonder how this differs from his plan to help big businesses. Or fix Medicare. Or fix education. Or fix dinner tonight. Marco, how would you prepare mash potatoes? With tax cuts! And an end to ObamaCare!

Bret: Let’s take a quick look at what some of the second tier candidates said about Iran earlier tonight.

On tape, Carly Fiorina declares, “Iran is at the heart of most of the evil in the Middle East,” followed by Rick Perry declaring his undying love for Carly Fiorina, followed by a few quick clips of Fiorina curing the blind, finding the last digit of pi, and eating a powdered donut without getting any on her blouse.

Bret: Wow, that Carly Fiorina really is something, isn’t she? If she had a dick, I’d suck it dry. Gov. Walker, do you have anything you’d like add about Carly Fiorina, er, I mean Iran?

Walker recalls it only took Ronald Reagan seven minutes of presidenting before Iran unilaterally surrendered all its territory to Israel in 1981. Therefore, there can be no negotiations with Iran, ever, for any reason. (Are we 100% sure he’s not the one who’s George W.’s brother?)

Rand Paul gets a shot at answering this one as well. He’s remarkable coherent, noting that it’s a good thing Reagan was willing to negotiate with the Soviet Union because once negotiating is off the table, war is pretty much the only fallback. However, he thinks Obama gave away too much too quickly in his nuclear deal with Iran.

Huckabee chimes in declaring Obama sucks and therefore the deal sucks, ipso facto, QED. “We’ve got to take Iran seriously!” he demands. What he means by this is left to our imaginations.

Megan: Jeb, weren’t you on the board of a charity that gave tons of money to Planned Parenthood?

Bush tries to explain that serving on the board of a charity is mostly about getting your friends to buy tables at various silent auctions/black tie dinners/regatta galas and nobody actually reads the budgets that the charity’s staff sends their way for a rubber stamp. But it’s a lost cause so he falls back on assuring the viewers that as Florida governor he did his utmost to thwart and break the law of the land to block women from getting medical care.

Megan: Marco Rubio, do you believe there should be an exception in anti-abortion laws in cases of rape?

NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! THE CONSTITUTION SPECIFICALLY DEMANDS RAPE BABIES!!!! says Rubio.

Megan: Trump, you used to be very pro-choice, right?

Trump claims his views on abortion changed after a couple he knows—no need for additional details, they live in Canada, you wouldn’t know them—were tots gonna have an abortion but then didn’t. That kid’s okay, therefore no abortions ever for anybody.

Megan: Did you call Donald Trump mean names, Jeb?

Nah, wasn’t me, says Jeb. He’d never insult anyone. He only lifts people up. Especially himself. Has he told you how awesome he is? So. Awesome.

But also kind of a dipshit. Hasn’t Jeb realized yet that name-calling is the highest form of argument among Republican voters? Trump has. He gets a chance to respond and calls Jeb a “gentleman,” the perfect backhanded compliment in front a crowd looking for bomb-throwers. Trump admits he’s not always a nice guy. Especially to ISIS and Mexicans. I swear to you those are the two examples he uses.

Megan: Kasich, you’re the only one up here with a heart so why don’t we lob this softball about gay marriage you’re way.

John Kasich says he’s against gay marriage, but the fight is over. In fact, he went to a gay wedding just the other day. He’s all for everyone getting a chance at the American dream. Believe it or not, the crowd cheers his answer. Oh how far we’ve come. Even the GOP.

Facebook question: Do you think the United States will outlaw Christianity?

Rand Paul gets to answer and says, “I don’t want my marriage or my guns registered in Washington.” It doesn’t quite answer the question, but it does raise about a hundred others. For example, has he already filled out the paperwork to refuse his wife’s Social Security if she dies first… and deny her his if he dies first?

Megan: Scott Walker… Black lives matter. Agree or disagree?

Scott mutters something about continuous training for police officers throughout their careers without ever addressing race.

Bret: Irani General Soleimani just visited Russia despite a ban on him leaving the country. How would you handle that situation, Donald Trump?

“I would be the polar opposite of Obama,” says Trump. Because Obama is bad. And Iran is bad. And Obama is bad. And Iran is bad. And Obama is bad. Is time up yet? No? Okay, did I mention Bergdahl is a traitor? Now where was I? Obama is bad. Iran is bad. And so is Obama. And so is Iran. And time has gotta be up by now, right?

Bret: Ted Cruz, you’re still here, right? Do you think Russia committed an act of war by cyber-attacking a Pentagon email system?

Uh, sure, why not, says Cruz. He also pledges to stand up to all our enemies just like Ronald Reagan did for those seven minutes before Iran returned its American hostages.

Bret: Dr. Carson, would you use military force against Assad?

Let me answer that question with another question, says Carson. Did you know our military sucks donkey balls? Carson then goes full Jane Fonda and calls our military forces pathetically weak and ineffective, unable to intimidate anyone or accomplish anything. But don’t worry, Dr. Carson’s got the cure. Military first! That’s his policy. Say, that’s catchy. Think anyone else is using that particular phrase?

Bret: Gov. Walker, same question.

Russia knows more about Hillary Clinton’s emails than Congress does, smirks Walker. Sadly he gets the rest of his answer confused with the movie Spy Like Us and promises troops in Poland, missile defense systems along the Iron Curtain, and a Bananarama reunion.

Bret: Huck, you seem like the right person to ask about transsexual soldiers in the U.S. military.

Hell no, says Huckabee. He then promises to deploy U.S. troops along the border because maybe he thinks that’s where transsexual people come from? He’s about as clear on gender identity as he is on what the Constitution says about using the military for law enforcement on U.S. soil.

Bret: Rand Paul, do you still want to cut all foreign aid to Israel?

Heavens no, says Rand. He doesn’t want anything of the sort. Sure, that’s what his five-year budget plan says. And he stands 100% by it. But that doesn’t mean he WANTS it. No, he wants to give Israel a bazillion dollars a day, of course, and he will… just as soon as the budget is balanced and the honeybees are safe and Firefly is renewed and rabid wolverines crawl out his butt.

Bret: Christie, do you agree?

Christie—the same guy who insists Social Security can’t be saved as it is—not only pledges full foreign aid to Israel but also more soldiers for the Army, more ships for the Navy, and more planes for the Air Force no matter what the Pentagon says because it’ll send a message to our enemies, damn it, that we have more planes and ships and soldiers than before, so take that, ISIS!

The final question of the night comes from Facebook: Has God delivered a message to you about what you should do first as president?

Cruz goes first, with a stream of consciousness rant about his father getting saved and the GOP leaders being a bunch of hypocrites and liars—but no, no policy messages from God yet.

Kasich says he believes in miracles and wants a return to common sense, although he fails to explain how we can rely on both at the same time. Either way, the Almighty has yet to endorse a specific course of action.

Walker says he’s not received a personal message from the Big Guy yet, but he’ll just try to be a good Christian and let the policies flow naturally from that.

Megan: Keep answering that same question but throw in something about veterans because we totally forgot about them until now, Marco Rubio.

Rubio jokes that Our Heavenly Father has blessed the GOP with plethora of wonderful candidates while the Democrats can’t find one, haha, then abruptly calls for the V.A. to start firing incompetent people. To be fair, it’s about as coherent as the question allowed.

Megan: Okay, God and race. Take it, Ben!

Carson pretty much abandons the divinely inspired policy part of the question and give a nice if annoyingly vague 60-second pep talk about the genetics of skin and hair having nothing to do with a person’s heart and soul.

Closing comments time!

Kasich talks about his time in Congress, his time in the private sector, and how Ohio was dying when he was elected but now everything is awesome. (EVERYTHING IS AWESOME! EVERYTHING IS COOL WHEN YOU’RE PART OF THE TEAM! Haha, if it’s stuck in my head, it’s gotta be stuck in yours too!)

Christie talks about growing up middle class, being a prosecutor after 9/11, getting elected twice in a blue state, and why it’s better to be respected than liked.

Rand takes an unexpected detour through Ferguson, Baltimore, and Detroit, although he never quite explains why. However, he does want you to know that he polls well against Hillary.

Rubio is in favor of the American Dream, in case you were wondering. He also wants a “new American century” so get ready for more wars in the Middle East.

Cruz plans a pretty busy Day 1 as president, including: prosecuting Planned Parenthood, stopping the persecution of Christians, killing the Iran deal, and saving Israel. What, you’re not going to kill ObamaCare until Day 2? Heretic! Communist! Why do you hate America?!

Carson boasts that he’s the only candidate to have separated conjoined twins and operate on unborn babies because freedom isn’t free so let’s fight everybody.

Huckabee makes a funny where you think he’s about to slam Trump but he’s actually talking about Hillary.

Walker claims to be “aggressively normal,” which is actually something worth boasting about with this group. He also brags about hating unions.

Jeb says this is the greatest time to be alive despite the fact that Washington sucks and Obama sucks and everything sucks. He also tries to be cute about calling on people to vote whenever their state’s primary is, but it comes off more like he’s having a brainfart about when election day is.

America is a total shithole, says Trump. “We don’t win anymore. We don’t do anything right.” But all that changes through sheer bluster and force of will if we elect Donald Trump.

So there you have it. The whole debate. Every question, every answer. Hope you enjoyed it!

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  • M H

    I’m totally adding “the reverse-mortgage set” to my vocab. I’ll credit HNTP.