Debate of Duh Nation


Rick Perry battled a withering barrage of attacks in his first debate as a presidential candidate Wednesday night, at times stumbling in the face of harsh criticism – and difficult questioning – at the POLITICO/NBC debate.

But Perry proved himself to be an aggressive, often caustic debater, waiting only a few moments to go on the attack against his top rival, Mitt Romney, for his jobs record as governor of Massachusetts.

Original DVD cover
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Perry also assailed Romney over the issue of health care, blasting the one-time GOP frontrunner for signing a universal health care law that included a requirement that individuals purchase health insurance.


Romney – who has been in well over a dozen presidential debates, dating back to his first White House run in 2007 – didn’t budge, pushing back on Perry’s claims one by one.

“George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did, Governor,” Romney said, arguing that Texas businesses have benefited from conditions – such as the absence of a state income tax – that Perry did not create.


The two top Republican candidates shared the stage with half a dozen others: Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich.

Those candidates struggled to break into the conversation, though, except when attempting to attack one of the two frontrunners.

For all their sharp jabs, it’s not clear how much Perry and Romney actually changed the dynamic of their fight for first place.

The Texas governor led Romney by a more than two-to-one margin in a POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Poll this week – a commanding advantage for a candidate in the race for only a few weeks.

But at Wednesday night’s debate at the Reagan Library, Perry did little to allay concerns that his record in Texas and his hard-line conservative positions could be obstacles in a presidential race.

Asked to address the fact that nearly a quarter of Texans lack health insurance, Perry answered by pivoting to an attack on the Massachusetts law. Asked to identify a climate scientist who backs his view that global warming is a hoax, Perry did not come up with a single name.

When the moderators asked Perry about a campaign speech in which he decried “military adventurism,” Perry declined to name a recent conflict that he’d describe in those terms, insisting his speech was “philosophical.”

Perry spokesman Mark Miner told reporters at the Reagan Library that his candidate had clearly been the main target in the debate, and that he’d weathered an assault from all sides.


And in what may have been the most consequential moment of the evening, Perry staked out a provocative stance on Social Security that his opponents believe will haunt him throughout the race.

“It is a Ponzi scheme to tell our kids that are 25 or 30 years today you’re paying into a program that’s going to be there,” Perry said. “Anybody that’s for the status quo with Social Security today is involved with a monstrous lie to our kids, and it’s not right.”

Perry refused to back away from that statement, despite recent criticism from from Republican super-strategist Karl Rove that such language could be politically “toxic.”

“Karl has been over the top for a long time in some of his remarks,” Perry said, shrugging: “Maybe it’s time to have some provocative language in this country.”

Romney took the opportunity to pounce on Perry’s stance, which is likely to alarm older voters who play a powerful role in partisan primaries – especially in the pivotal early state of Florida.


Romney adviser Stuart Stevens exulted over what he called a politically suicidal moment by Perry, emailing to POLITICO: “He has lost. No federal candidate has ever won on the Perry program to kill Social Security. Never has. Never will.”


But this much is already clear: If Perry was hoping to deliver a crushing blow against Romney tonight, he did not succeed.

Among the other candidates, Michele Bachmann may have fallen most short of what she needed to achieve in the debate.

But in the POLITICO/NBC debate, Bachmann largely stuck to the same script she’s used throughout the entire campaign, doing little to show she’s prepared to open a second act.

She was just one of three candidates – along with Ron Paul and Rick Santorum – who ganged up on Perry over his attempt to issue an executive order mandating the HPV vaccine for sixth-grade girls.


Huntsman, too, struggled to stand out at a critical moment for his campaign. After spending several weeks criticizing the Republican Party for drifting away from the political center, Huntsman declined to comment on remarks from his chief strategist characterizing the GOP as a “bunch of cranks.”

He stood by his view that Republicans are at risk of being perceived as “anti-science” due to other candidates’ views on global warming. Said Huntsman: “When we make comments that don’t reflect the reality of the situation, we turn people off.”


More than ever, it appears Huntsman is counting on the independent voters he is seeking in the early states where they can cast votes in the GOP primary.

For the second consecutive debate, Newt Gingrich earned his biggest moment in the spotlight by attacking the press, accusing the moderators of attempting to pit Republicans against each other over the issue of health care.

“You’d like to puff this up into some giant thing,” Gingrich said, because “whoever the nominee is, we are all for defeating Barack Obama.”


Filed under Barack Obama, Chimpy, George W. Bush, Global warming, humor, Karl Rove, Media, Mitt Romney, movies, Newt Gingrich, parody, politics, Republicans, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Ronald Reagan, snark, Wordpress Political Blogs

47 responses to “Debate of Duh Nation

  1. jeb

    Hmmm read the article and confirmed my hunch that I didn’t miss a damned thing.

    • there weren’t many surprises, but i didn’t find it as boring as these things usually are. maybe it’s because i was looking at it from a what kind of movie should i use? angle. i noticed things like: this has to be mittsie’s last try for the nomination, because his hair is thinning, so he won’t be eligible in 4 years. gov little ricky goodhair wears his collars so high and so tight that he looks like a butler in a british movie. maybe his collars aren’t high, and he just has no neck. newtie always looks like he should have used preparation H, and his wife should never appear in profile shots. i have no telekinetic powers, as i could not even dislodge a boeing 707 from a ceiling (just kidding, of course. no, really, i am.).

  2. John Erickson

    I didn’t see it either, but much like Jeb, I have yet to see anything worthwhile that I missed. From NBC News’ report, it was the Perry/Romney show, and the rest were little more than scenery on the stage. And perhaps the worst thing, nobody said anything new. It would’ve been nice to hear some expansion from Huntsman, or facts from Perry, but I guess that’s what makes this the GOP debate.

    • the rest of them being just scenery is what made it so funny! they were all so desperate for air time, and when they finally got it, they mostly sounded like idiots.

  3. elizabeth3hersh

    Shouldn’t Rick Santorum be holding the Wonder bread? Huntsman strikes me as more of a chewy bread kind of guy. If it wasn’t summer, I would also deck him (Huntsman) out in a tweed jacket with suede elbow patches. No one missed a thing…the entire ‘debate’ was tediously boring and perhaps ALARMING. I was comparing politics to movies last night with a friend. Perry, et. al represent the mass-loving mainstream blockbusters. I’ve always been an indie/foreign film kind of girl. Sub-titles anyone?

    • santorum has the cross and the santorum (it’s on his sleeve). jon huntsman is about as white bread as one can get, as is mittsie. they’re so white bread, neither one would have a problem getting elected if they weren’t mormons.

      if the candidates were movies, gov little ricky goodhair would be one of those really stupid buddy movies. i’m not talking about the ones with paul rudd or bradley cooper, but the really obnoxious ones with rob schneider or david spade.

  4. Remember what I wrote would be a good strategy for Bachmann–sic Ron Paul on Perry. Something very much like that is happening, and she probably had nothing to do with it. Perry started it. Perry grabbed Paul’s arm and wagged his finger in Paul’s face during a commercial break. In response, Paul has stepped up his attacks on Perry. ABC has the story here.

    Watch Paul’s supporters start beating up Perry’s on the Internet, something they probably couldn’t do in real life.

    Also, whatever else you can say about the GOP candidates, they’re a comedy gold mine. Here’s what the snarky animators at Taiwan’s Next Media Animation have to say about Perry.

    On their Facebook page, they asked who they should profile next. So far, the commenters are picking Bachmann over Cain 3-1. I’ll be sure to post that video when I see it.

    • botox batshit bachmann shouldn’t have even bothered to show up. it wasn’t worth the $4700 hairstyle and makeup. i think the only reason they invited her was to make fun of her $2 a gallon gas.

      crazy ron paul went after gov little ricky goodhair like a dog going after a bone. he didn’t waste any time attacking him, but i don’t recall him really going after mittsie. i wonder if there’s some kind of personal feud between little ricky and crazy ron.

      • There is something going on between those two, although I don’t know what. At the debate before the Iowa Straw Poll, Paul was asked what he thought of Perry getting into the race. Paul said, in essence, ‘bring it on, Perry is part of the establishment and I’d like to debate him.’ That’s why I suggested Bachmann sic Paul on Perry. It was something Paul wanted to do already.

        As for Bachmann being on stage. we’ll see how long that lasts. The filing deadline to run again for her seat is June 5, 2012. By that time, the nomination will have long been decided.

  5. maggiejean

    Great job as always nonnie. I love the poster and the information. It really is popcorn time. Thanks, too, for yesterday’s maggiejean quote. 😉

  6. i have to tell you guys my story. i had about 2 hours sleep last night so i am not a very good judge of what’s funny or not today. however, i will tell the story anyway. the other day, i went to my favorite little store. at the fish counter, i saw that they had a fish called basa that was on sale for $3.99. i asked the guy if it tasted fishy, and he said it was very mild, like tilapia. i asked what the regular price would be, and he said $5.99 a pound. i have a freezer filled with tilapia, which was on sale a few weeks ago, but i was curious, so i got one fillet. i made it for dinner that night, and it was soooooo friggin’ delicious! i went back to the store the next day. the guy recognized me, and he said that i must have liked it. i said that i loved it, and i asked for 10 more fillets. a lady came up to the counter, and she asked the guy about the basa. the other fish guy (who also knows me) came over and told her it was good. i didn’t think he sang its praises vociferously enough, so i told her how i was buying 10 more fillets, because i had it the night before and it was so good. she asked me how i prepared it, and i told her. she said she would take 2 fillets. we talked a little more, and i said again how good it was and i was going to try to make the basa another way that i make tilapia, so she told the guy behind the counter that she’d take the remaining 2 fillets along with the 2 she had already gotten. today, i went back to the little store, and i was at the deli. the second fish guy just happened to be working there at the time, and he waited on me. he mentioned that i had been there 2 days in a row, and i said, no, 3 days in a row. i had to come back for the basa. he said, i remember, you were my best salesperson. i said, yes, i’m your new am-basa-dor!

    p.s. if anyone wants the super-easy and fast recipe, let me know.

    • elizabeth3hersh

      Sign me up for the recipe. I’m a little tired of wild salmon and could use something different.

      • elizabeth3hersh

        …and did you hear about the guy who was recently caught shoplifting two LIVE lobsters in his cargo shorts? He also had two dozen jumbo shrimp and one pork loin stuffed in his ‘writhing’ shorts. He hurled the pork loin at employees in an attempt to throw them off, but fell and was promptly apprehended.

        • i did read about that the other day. at least, i think it was the same guy. it was the second time he was busted for the same thing, if i recall correctly. too bad he didn’t fall into a barrel of tartar sauce. that would have made the story perfect!

      • well, it’s not gourmet by any means, because i’m usually a panicked what-do-i-have-in-the-house kinda cook. by the way, i’ve cooked chicken, pork, salmon, tilapia, and now basa all the same way. the first time i tried my recipe, it was with salmon. my son never remarks on my cooking unless i ask him how something is. however, when he tasted the salmon, he immediately said, mom this is sooo good. when i made the tilapia the same way, he immediately said, mom, this is so fucking good! that’s his highest rating! 😀 i had found a salmon recipe on the internets, and i didn’t have any of the ingredients, so i substituted. anyway, it goes like this:

        the meat and fish i used were all boneless, and i had the fish guy take the skin off the salmon. the first time, i used kikkoman’s teryaki baste & glaze. since then, i’ve tried bbq sauce, sweet &sour glaze, and mustard (the dijon kind) with and without teriyaki glaze. use your imagination.

        preheat the over to 500. put foil on a baking pan. put the fish or meat on the pan. pour just a little bit of the teriyaki or bbq sauce or sweet & sour or mustard (or any combination you want) on the fish or meat. smush (that’s a cooking term) the sauce so that it covers pretty evenly (no need to be precise). a little goes a long way. you don’t have to slather it on. then sprinkle some french’s french fried onions (i use the cheap store brand) on them. you can crush them up first, or you can just put a few on the meat or fish. then sprinkle the whole thing with panko bread crumbs. i put onions on only half the fillets or cutlets, because it tastes good with and without, and i like variety. as a rule of thumb, i figure 12 minutes or so for each inch of thickness of the meat. the salmon i got was a a little under an inch thick, so i baked it for 8 minutes at 500. the others were only about 1/2 thick, so i baked them for around 6 minutes. after they’re baked, turn the oven on to broil (no need to move the rack, the middle rack is fine), and let them brown for about 2 minutes or so. take them out of the over, and fold over the foil so everything is covered. leave it for 10 minutes. then eat an enjoy. like i said, not gourmet or fancy, but so quick and so easy and so delish. the added bonus is that there are no dirty pots or pans to clean.

        i never even realized that there was a 500 setting on the over before. i thought 500 was broil. i was afraid everything would overcook, but instead, everything came out unbelievably moist and perfectly done. even half-frozen tilapia cooked perfectly.
        i never

        • elizabeth3hersh

          I’m going to try the Teriyaki and sweet and sour version first. I didn’t know you could heat at 500 degrees…that is useful information!! Sounds yummy!!

    • John Erickson

      I’ll take a pass on the recipe, your story made me green around the gills. I was gonna say it sounded fishy, but that sounds like a comedian being paid scale. I’ll just tuna that out, and go back to sitting around on my bass.
      (Add rimshots as necessary.)

    • maggiejean

      Sign me up for a recipe. I love super easy and fast recipes.

  7. Oh. my. God. I am *gagging* with laughter — and now keeling over re: the ‘writhing shorts’ … nonnie, I come to your blog first when I want to roar over the idiocy that politics has become …

  8. I watched the debate.
    Although they did not openly chant “drill baby drill”, that is still the agenda, only now it has fluffy window dressing “resource jobs”- just about every one of them echoed that theme.
    They would let fracking & the Canadian oil pipeline & Mitt mentioned Nuclear power too…. sure because a toxic job that destroys the planet, fouls the water & worse are all reasonable trade offs for jobs?
    You’ll either have a job or it will kill you and or your drinking water or planet.
    Either way it solves the jobs issue, dead or alive, right?
    I’m glad they did not play softball w Perry.
    Although he skirted around the “at or under min wage” jobs issue– he just wanted to say *job creator*… no matter to him if they are sucky underemployed, working poor, have to work 2 jobs to keep afloat kind of jobs.
    I was glad Ron Paul nailed Perry in the executive order for teen girls to have Guardasil HPV injections.
    He tried to play the cancer card– but he was perfectly fine to give a government mandate for female reproductive personal issues. They did not even mention his sonogram & make the woman wanting an abortion view the beating heart & the Doc give a mandated discussion .
    Nobody wants Rick Perry up in their very private business.
    Both those things got thrown out in court …. but the fact he was OK making those kinds of rules, should make him be the red flag candidate.
    Him & his not sure about the science after his state suffered the worst drought ever & now is on fire.
    Get the hook. He really is off the charts dangerous & so Bush2 like, it’s scary.

    They are all such crackpots, they made Mittsie seem reasonable, until he said “nuclear power plants” are a good thing.
    Fukishima him!

    • drill, baby, drill? did you hear the applause for the death penalty? the teabagger motto is kill, baby, kill!

      • Barbarians!

        I really liked when Brian Williams pressed him to “name one scientist” who presents the fact based claim that climate change is not real. Perry would rattle off a bogus answer & he kept coming back with the “name one scientist” question- Mr Governor of the State of Drought & fires.
        Great way to call bullshit on him!

        • i liked that, too. however, i doubt that any questioners will go even that far in the future. the next debate is the cnn/tea party debate in tampa. wtf? why is cnn doing anything in conjunction with the teabaggers? i remember when cnn was an actual news source instead of just more propaganda and bullshit.

  9. Very disturbing. If Dallas DA Watkins (D) hadn’t been elected and teamed up with the Innocence Project, you could add 20 more scalps to the belt of Pontius Parry. The Dallas Morning News editorial made a point that, if Henry Wades old DA spot were retained by gopers ALL of these people would have been put to death. Why, you might ask? Because they get off on it. Same old shit-make list of everything that makes you angry (or just write in “everything”-make list of paraniod delusions listed in order of importance, attach extra sheets if needed-make list of people that require killing. Call out for Ronnies ghost to take upstairs. That will make it OK.

  10. jean-philippe

    To me, the highlight of the debate was the hair. Most candidates looked horrible, mostly Bachmann. I love the pizza you added out there 😀

    • i always wonder why marcus didn’t tell botox batshit bachmann to wear red for her debates. she wore black for both of them, and she just blended in. i really expected her to wear red to the debate in st. ronnie’s liberry, because nancy was known for wearing it.

      p.s. the pizza has all the toppings–obstinance, stupidity, bigotry, and selfishness. it’s the godfather rethuglican special. 😉

  11. It’s a shame that Freg Karger and Gary Johnson were absent from the debate. I’d like to hear more of what they have to say.

    With much of the debate focusing on Perry and Romney, the other candidates must have felt cut out of the loop.

  12. Also, was I the only one who chafed at the references to “parental rights” made by several candidates? It’s a dog whistle.

    • just about everything they say is a dog whistle. imagine this–muslim parents want their daughter to have a female circumcision. everyone would be up in arms (and rightfully so), and there would not be a peep about parental rights. however, take a 14-year-old child of christian fundamentalists who was raped and impregnated. she wants to have an abortion, and mental health specialists have said that the child is too young and too traumatized to be forced to carry a baby, but the parents won’t allow an abortion. in the latter case, parental rights trumps all.