This Republican primary season has had over a dozen debates. You might be thinking, “That’s quite enough.” After all, voting starts in less than two weeks, in Iowa. Well, guess what, caballeros, depending on the list you look at, we just barely passed the halfway point of these rhetorical slugfests. ¡Que sorpresa!
Despite the onslaught of translucent podiums and ever-inventive, nearly exhausted ways in which production designers have toiled to erect a new interpretation of the star and stripes on stage, we’re just. Not. Done.
VH1’s Divas Live! Debate
January 7, 2012
In this penultimate debate before the New Hampshire primary, the GOP candidates reiterate that strong, confident, independent women do not have a right to choose. Michele Bachmann deftly parlays one of her answers into an on-key verse from “I’m Every Woman.” To compensate, the men spout off about their wives, while claiming they clearly came out ahead of everyone else in the Iowa caucuses, even though they all basically ended up coming in a tie there.
5-Hour Energy® Alternatives Debate
January 8, 2012
After a late night in the post-debate spin room the night before, followed by a full day of campaigning, all candidates (except Bachmann, because she’s a human dynamo) guzzle the sponsor’s product during tonight’s 90-minute debate. The first half-hour is hyper, but the last hour is rough, with all candidates nursing migraines, holding their heads in repose. The highlight emerges near the end, when Rick Perry, in an effort to outdo Rick Santorum on his commitment to natural gas, pulls out a jug of the stuff, and force-feeds it down Jon Huntsman’s throat, like those Iraqi guys do to Mark Wahlberg in Three Kings.
January 16, 2012
On-site at the Swedish megastore two weeks before the state’s primary, an uncommon program is scheduled, where the presidential hopefuls must build a GUSTAV desk while eviscerating the successes of Scandinavia’s socialist-capitalism melding. Newt Gingrich is missing his Ikea wrench, but manages to exceed expectations with sound criticism of the instructions. Björn Borg moderates.
Project Runway & Top Chef “Top Chief” Debate
January 19, 2012
The remaining GOP field is given 45 minutes before airtime to make dinner for themselves. The results are brought on TV and judged by Padma Lakshmi, who needs to go offscreen twice to vomit, because none of these folks has cooked a meal for themselves in over 23 years. Tim Gunn takes over in the second half with dilemmas for the pols: “The Supercommittee’s defense cuts have reduced the number of stealth bombers available for your hasty invasion of Iran. What do you do? Make it work.”
IBM® “Watson & The White House” Debate
January 23, 2012
Yorktown Heights, NY
Alex Trebek takes the hosting duties once again, as Watson joins the candidates onstage and upstages all of them with accurate facts and measured reason.
Inside the Actor’s Studio Debate
January 26, 2012
New York, NY
The candidates are invited to James Lipton’s lecture hall for a discussion of what makes them tick. The audience is filled with future hopefuls, most notably Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo. Will one of the unknowns in the seats be the Bradley Cooper of 2016? Mitt Romney replies that his favorite curse word is “tarnation.” Rick Perry reveals that his is “dingleberry.”
Tostitos® Fiesta Debate on Immigration
February 22, 2012
Wherein the candidates rationalize their hardline stance on immigration. Newt makes an analogy: “Imagine tasting a salsa whose spiciness you weren’t sure of. You need to dip the tip of your chip in and check before letting a whole chunk in your mouth, right? Now, imagine your mouth is America and the chip is the border police.”
Groupon® “Group PAC” Debate
March 1, 2012
The winner gets half off their general election Super PAC start-up fees! ‘Nuff said.
Double Dare® “Down To The Wire” Debate
March 5, 2012
Only a few candidates are left standing by now, and Ron Paul absolutely tears it up in this late-round contest where Marc Summers does the questioning. Third party, schmird party: that guy is spry! Once again, Romney underestimates Paul, as the libertarian pursues victory in a slimy physical challenge.
Wine Spectator “Speculative Whining” Debate
March 19, 2012
Simi Valley, CA
The candidates are given tastings of California varietals and must define the characteristics of the wine with adjectives that they simultaneously can use to make a jab at President Obama. Gingrich on his pinot noir from Stag’s Leap: “Fruity and delicate, like Obama’s posture to China.” Romney on his Honig sauvignon blanc: “Thin and acidic, like Obama’s experience and penchant for dividing the nation.”