Take a large mixing bowl. Add a hefty lump of Primary Colors then stir in some Anchorman. Toss the mixture with a dash of Best in Show. Season well. Pour into a baking tin and cook under hot studio lights for an hour and a half until crispy. Dust with a sprinkling of America’s Got Talent. Congratulations, you’ve just made a delicious light supper of Republican Presidential Debate.
Not unlike certain brands of cough syrup, these debates are fast becoming addictive. Televised talent contests, they pitch candidates against each other in front of a whooping crowd. They are an excellent educational tool for someone new to American politics like me although, having watched a few now, I am still learning more about Democrat policies than Republican. From this weekend’s debate I learnt – and let me see if I have this right – that President Obama is a devil who is spearing the reeking guts of the economy with his giant, poison-tipped trident whilst his other massive, gnarled hand is grinding America’s sorry face into the backside of a foreign policy so inane it should be wearing a prom dress and pearls. That about right?
The latest offering, from Spartanburg (great name) in South Carolina, was billed as the ‘Commander-in-Chiefs Debate’ and covered foreign policy and national security. The format of 60 second answers (with no booing allowed from the audience) made for shit tv. It takes me longer than 60 seconds to decide what to wear in the mornings, so I certainly don’t expect a prospective leader of the Free World to rustle up an answer to a pressing matter of state in the same amount of time. Thank you CBS, for the opportunity to just half-grasp how a Republican President might fuck up foreign policy.
I tried. I really did. I was yearning to gain a greater understanding of the key decisions that a future Commander-in-Chief might wrestle with. But all I heard was a lot of white, aggressive noise until a few stunning moments jolted my head up from the table. Newt Gingrich (reprising his role as the Cat Who Has Shit On The Sofa only this time with more feline menace), suggested that America should apply the Pope John Paul II template of foreign policy to both Iran and North Korea. I might be going out on a limb here but I’m not sure kissing tarmac is going to swing it. I’m not even sure North Korea has tarmac. Newt went on to say, and I quote: “I would also, frankly, apply .. Lean Six Sigma to the Pentagon to liberate the money to rebuild the na.. we’re .. we .. we .. we need a capital investment program.” Lean Six Sigma. I think I saw them at the Hammersmith Palais a few years ago and they were shit too.
Michele Bachman offered a brief moment of clarity when she suggested Pakistan, as a nuclear weapon state, should be kept on side, but the campaign to Occupy Michele’s Brain had clearly re-pitched the tents by the time she announced that China is growing because it doesn’t have food stamps. Well, Michele, neither does the UK but there ain’t much growth going on there right now. Michele spent most of the remaining time trying to butt in when it wasn’t her 60 seconds. Shocking tactics.
The debate was my first look at candidate Jon Huntsman, a former US Ambassador to China. A rather sensible chap, he and Ron Paul (someone take that man to a decent tailor) were the voices of sanity crying out in the filthy cellar of torture. Herman Cain applauded ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’, arguing that “pampering terrorists isn’t something that we ought to do“. Yes, waterboarding really does dry out the skin. A wee bit of Nivea would surely do the trick, but is that a pamper too far?
And then suddenly, like a British summer, it was all over. I found myself googling the debate schedule and entering the dates in my diary.
Next stop, Des Moines in Iowa, the number one spot for US insurance companies and where Ronald Reagan once worked as a disc jockey. According to the New York Times “if you have any desire to witness presidential candidates in the most close-up and intimate of settings, there is arguably no better place to go than Des Moines.” Can’t bloody wait.