Last Saturday night I found myself watching the farcical teevee extravaganza euphemistically titled the GOP Nominees’ Debate – or something like that anyway; it’s difficult to remember the title thanks to the breathtakingly inept performances by everyone concerned, not least the producer, who obviously has no idea of what a debate actually is.
As an aside, I viewed this revelation of political thought and process at the home of some good friends. Australian Americans and fellow devotees of Spike Milligan and the Goon Show, they saw this presentation in the same light as I did – lacking the pathos-tinged humor and intelligence of Milligan but equally close to sliding over the edge into lunacy. Am I alone in thinking that no one in their right mind could possibly take any of them as suitable candidates to lead the nation at a time when humanity is facing possibly its greatest challenges ever?
It wasn’t a debate, it was a fiasco. Not once did the moderators moderate or hold the contenders to the questions asked of them. The only attempt at any sort of control was the occasional vague gesture at a set of colored LED panels – we had been told they would warn participants when their time was up – accompanied by equally vague reminders to the candidates that time was passing them by.
It was a fiasco, revealing nothing of substance – or sense. Did Newt Gingrich think he was trying out for a stand up comic spot on late-night teevee or were those “hello, sailor” winks aimed at someone in the audience? Another romance in the wings perhaps, especially now that he’s let us outsiders know that you only have to beg God for forgiveness and it’s all okay. He was bad, the others were worse, though that’s relative; it was all so abysmal that none of them would earn the title “Best of a Bad Lot”. Nothing meaningful was said, nothing new suggested by the participants. No solutions but plenty of vague promises.
Mitt Romney wore a blue tie – why didn’t we get deep and meaningful analysis and noddies about that? It would have been more entertaining than the moralistic mouthings over the sin of betting.
Diane Sawyer let us know she had been to a pharmacy in Iowa – why she didn’t say – though her rambling questions and almost unintelligible speech suggested it was actually a bar. The bloke occupying the other seat at the table (I can’t remember his name as he hardly said a word all night) was wearing a better suit than Ron Paul.
It wasn’t a total loss, though. It did provoke a couple of thoughts to take to bed with me. The first was that hopefully no one would be misguided enough to vote for any of them; the second was profound gratitude that I didn’t learn history at the feet of Newt Gingrich. His assertion that the Palestinians are an “invented people” is breathtaking. He obviously needs to spend a little more time reading and a little less turning out the potboilers he loves to plug.