If the internet has reduced your brain to a stimulus/response meme generator, the most exciting part of Tuesday night’s debate was Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” remark. It was weird! He kind of misspoke! Let’s put it on that “walk into Mordor” thing! For my money, however, the strangest moment in the presidential debate was when moderator Candy Crowley corrected Romney regarding Obama’s use of the word “terror” after the attack on the US consulate in Libya. He did say that in the Rose Garden the day after the attack. What Romney claimed was not factually accurate, or strictly correct or, you know, true. But was he lying?
Yesterday was not a good day for Paul Ryan. First, Time magazine leaked these candid photos of him pumping iron in the ol’ blue space. Then he had to go on TV and debate Turbo Biden. Then he tried to ramp his skateboard over a doghouse and pooped his pants. That last one is slander, but the past 24 hours really have been the story of Ryan destroying himself to get people to like him. Today is Friday, and nothing is less appealing than trying to be liked. Won’t you scrabble desperately for approval with me?
I watched last night’s debates on PBS, so it’s possible my perception was warped by the atmosphere of measured consideration. I had also just come from yoga and spent the first 20 minutes seeing each candidate as a big turkey leg, but other than that my memory is clear: Barack Obama looked composed if a little sluggish, and Mitt Romney was frantic. He talked over moderator Jim Lehrer and did that breathy puff-laugh he does when he can’t believe people are still asking him questions. Then I watched the post-debate commentary and learned that Romney actually won.
You can tell that Rick Perry’s stock has dropped since his well-publicized gaffe last week, because now he has to hang out with bottom-tier Republican candidates. CBS News has released this oddly compelling video of Perry broing down with Rick Santorum and Ron Paul prior to Sunday night’s foreign policy debate, as Newt Gingrich waits aloof in the background. Newt Gingrich is potentially too presidential for Rick Perry now. It’s like when the captain of your high school drill team is disfigured in an accident* and learns to be a better person, except Perry is probably not learning. His exchange with Paul and Santorum is remarkably instructive for us, though, as it offers a rare chance to evaluate these men as people rather than as political marketing constructs. The result is weirdly touching. Props to Pete for the link, and video after the jump.
Like most Republicans, Rick Perry knows that government is the problem. But like a shining, lantern-jawed metaphor for his fellow candidates, he is not so clear on which aspects of government need to go. Definitely regulation. Probably taxes, especially for rich people. And uh, when you get right down to it, there’s no need for…um…ah…I’m smiling warmly right now. Is it working? At least my agitation has spread to Ron Paul, who is now waving his hand around like it’s trying to fly away. Video:
It’s possible that will not be good for his campaign.