Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter

by | Oct 29, 2015 | Atticus On The Trail, Creative Nonfiction, Politics

STATESBORO, GEORGIA – This was the kind of debate we deserve.

Small, without substance. Ugly and mean. Run by a corporate-owned news service who spends millions on slick graphics and absolute dick on journalism. Everyone involved in tonight’s sham of a debate should be shackled in a public square and flogged.

There is no silver lining here. No moment of truth or education to be gained. This was simply a two-hour waste of people’s lives that put on display the worst traits of American politics. Non-answers. Political posturing. Jeb Bush offering warm kisses and others doling out pointless bluster decrying a news channel that does little beside inflate stock prices and precipitate financial meltdowns.

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Punditry demands opinions and so here is that.

Marco Rubio was the most consistent of the bunch, a trait he’s enjoyed through every single one of these goddamned things – how many have there been? Twenty? Thirty? Fifty fucking debates? – and kept on his message points throughout the night. The one moment that nearly derailed him was a question regarding his absences in the United States, which he responded with a memorized roll of past candidates’ records that did nothing but deflect the shame of betraying the public trust.

Jeb, looking like he’s got one foot out the door, took a gentle swipe at his mentee and got counter-punched in a small brawl that’s been brewing since this last summer. The teacher got taught by his student and retreated to his corner, a position he’s more than happy to maintain until he leaves with little fanfare and retires to the Bush Family compound.

Everyone else was just as lackluster.

Huckabee made a bunch of fat jokes.

Fiorina suffered from the harsh critique of a channel that loathes failing CEOs.

Ben Carson talked nonsense and hid from the camera’s eye.

John Kasich was all pissed-off, which would’ve been interesting had his campaign not out and out telegraphed the rhetorical choice days ahead of the debate.

Ted Cruz said his usual Ted Cruz things while waiting on Trump to implode, and the Donald seemed more than happy to take naps at his podium and bide his time.

Chris Christie was the one other standout in that the rage against CNBC worked well for him. It filled him with the usual hot air he’s seemingly lost since his glory days four years gone and gave him room to bully the already vulnerable moderators. He looked vaguely feisty tonight and you can’t help but wonder if he’ll pick up a few of Jeb’s points once the prodigal son tucks tail.

But none of these performances are going to make a bit of difference. They are the cries of a completely impotent bunch that have nothing to offer the voters or their country. They have no solutions, no plans, no real and honest principles, just a hot lust for a piece of the ever-expanding piece of presidential celebrity that festers and swells like a growing disease.

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Luckily, no one will watch any of this bullshit and care because CNBC did such a loathsome job with the debate that most swing-voters and independents turned the debacle off before it ever took place. The initial remarks began at 8:15 EST, a full fifteen minutes later than advertised. Those tuning in at the appropriate start-time were greeted to a table full of vapid hosts debating how liberal the University of Colorado was and arguing they were “at least a little Republican” because they “need things for their phone things.”

True to form, CNBC revealed itself to be an out of touch venue for viewers who care about nothing other than money and their stocks and the money their stocks can earn them. They do not care about the country they live in because to the average CNBC viewer there are no countries anymore, there is only The Dollar and The Dollar of Tomorrow. They’re more than willing to sell this republic for the turn of a fifty-cent piece and even that deal is negotiable.

The debate showed their true colors and never even ventured into the realm of journalism. Answers were clipped, time wasn’t watched, and the questions were often cheap and calculated for hits and tweets. Jim Cramer, host of Mad Money and one of the people who should’ve been led away in handcuffs following the Crash of 2008, lobbed a few softballs onstage in hopes of furthering a raise in fed rates and lowered taxes. Rick Santelli, inspirer of the Tea Party movement, went into business for himself and derailed the event further until there was no sense of narrative or momentum, just the idea that Rick Santelli is the most important object in Rick Santelli’s world.

It was grotesque and ugly and indicative of how badly the politics of our time really are. It wasn’t worth our energy, but you have to ask, are these the best we have to offer?

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The big question in the Democratic Party now, the topic of conversation being whispered about behind the scenes, is that Hillary Clinton, with her vanquishing of Joe Biden and performance at the dumb-fuck of a Benghazi Committee hearing last week, has probably solidified her candidacy for the Democratic nomination and probably the presidency. The kicker though, the thing most people aren’t talking about, is the looming possibility of a general election surprise.

The narrative among the initiated is quite simple but guarded. Hillary gets the nod, but what happens if, after the Convention, the FBI levels charges in reference to her E-mails as Secretary of State? There are many now who say there’s enough for her to be tried, if not convicted, of endangering secrets on her personal server and that chances are state-protected information was hacked by Russian or Chinese agents. While the case may die in the courts, and she’ll probably never see the inside of a prison, would the leveling of charges be enough to derail her coronation?

Experts say the smart money is on such a setback wrecking her campaign and giving the Oval Office to the Republicans. It might be the stuff of Beltway consternation, but let’s say it’s not. Let’s say the tide could be turned in September or October. What happens then?

Who among these assholes could honestly step into the job and lead us in one of our most dangerous and unpredictable eras? Watching the stage tonight, you couldn’t feel great about our chances or theirs. It was a bullshit cavalcade of morons, narcissists, hucksters, and ghouls, a veritable dumpster fire of ego and lunacy.

But again, it’s hard to deny, it’s the bullshit we deserve.

 

CNBC Republican Debate by DonkeyHotey

About The Author

Jared Yates Sexton

A born and bred Hoosier, Jared Yates Sexton is the author of An End to All Things (2012, Atticus Books), The Hook and the Haymaker (2015, Split Lip Press), and Bring Me the Head of Yorkie Goodman (2015, New Pulp Press). He currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Georgia Southern University.