STATESBORO, GEORGIA – I wasn’t going to write this article because the Republican primary race has already drifted so far into the lonely waters of self-parody that further caricature seemed unnecessary.
But Jesus Christ, what’re you supposed to do?
The night started with what had to be the most apt metaphor in American electoral history: Sleepy Ben Carson missed his introduction and began a traffic jam of candidates that would’ve been more at home in a castoff Abbott and Costello rerun. The famed neurosurgeon, and one time odds-on-favorite in Iowa, couldn’t walk onstage properly, even when a poor production assistant pulled back the curtain and tried to shoo him forward.
If only things got better from there.
Current Establishment Savior Marco Rubio may have done irreparable damage to his campaign by playing the role of punching bag to Suddenly-Awake Chris Christie, who took the freshman senator to task for his lack of achievements and reliance on his stump speech. Fittingly, Rubio responded by repeating his stump speech no less than three times while stuttering and sweating buckets. The most confounding thing about his performance was that he should’ve seen it coming. Christie has trekked all over the Granite State this week destroying the boy wonder to anyone who would listen. To be this unprepared, this vulnerable, further proves how little he has in the way of political instincts. Christie may very well be right: The Boy In The Bubble isn’t much without his refrains.
It’s hard to tell if Christie will gain from his offense, but he’ll surely steal a few points from Marco. New Hampshire doesn’t suffer wimps. It’s a cold state with an unbelievable independent streak. These voters are looking for real conservatives with real backbone. Christie, though villainous and a confirmed bully, fits the profile well. If only Donald Trump, Christie’s evil doppelganger, wasn’t in the race, this would’ve been the moment the governor gained traction.
But alas, Trump is in the race and he won tonight by not doing much besides furthering his torture of Poor John Ellis Bush (formerly Jeb!, his exclamation having been euthanized in recent weeks), who famously begged a New Hampshire crowd to applaud earlier this week before saying, and I quote, “I could drop my pants, moon the crowd…the press guys would never notice.” The former governor of Florida, and scion of a once-proud political dynasty that gave us two presidents and nearly forty years of political influence, was shushed by the reality star and stood there and took it with a dumbass grin on his dumbass face.
“Be quiet,” Trump said, finger to his lips, “I’m talking.”
And Poor John Ellis Bush did as he was told.
Trump would’ve faced more adversity if Iowa victor Ted Cruz was still interested in feuding with him, but the Texas senator, and general pariah, continued his quarrel with the American public and showed his ass as only he can. By supporting the resurrection of torturous waterboarding, Cruz promised to do worse before continuing his call to carpet bomb ISIS territories and joking about killing innocents in the process. Somehow Cruz has actually managed the impossible and made Trump seem a more palatable option, a miracle most would’ve scoffed at mere weeks ago. But here we are: the Republican party’s delegate leader is more than likely the most hated man in the country.
So, what of New Hampshire?
I don’t know. Tonight made this entire endeavor stink of desperation and shame, as if it didn’t already. Following on the heels of a tense, albeit informative, debate by Clinton and Sanders last night, the GOP flooded the airwaves this evening with an ugly scene that couldn’t have possibly attracted new voters. Christie and Rubio’s street fighting was entertaining but unpleasant. Only masochists could’ve enjoyed Trump’s emasculation of Poor John Ellis Bush, and a few minutes later Trump literally insulted the crowd, calling them donors and special interests, and seemingly reveling in their boos like an old fashioned carnival barker.
It was a debacle and it was shameful.
They gave no solutions, no answers, nothing even resembling partly convincing lies. This is a party lost at sea and determined to cannibalize itself while its country suffers.
The smart money for Tuesday is on Trump carrying the state by five to ten points. After that, who the hell knows? Rubio would’ve taken second but tonight, as William Kristol, the only man who wants Rubio to win the nomination more than Marco Rubio, admitted, the senator “did real damage to his campaign.” Cruz could play runner-up, but New Hampshire hates playing second fiddle to Iowa and his spiel was spoiling before the caucuses and it stinks to high-heaven now.
Christie will not take second, and neither will Bush, but if these were years past, they would’ve. Kasich is New Hampshire’s dream and he’s not going to sniff the top three. Ben Carson shouldn’t even be on the ballot. He should’ve stayed home when he went there to pick up fresh clothes in the wake of his Iowa collapse.
There’s just no telling.
Trump and then the field.
After that, you just have to hope these idiots wake up, look in the mirror, and see the damage they’re doing.
Oh, who am I kidding?
Epiphanies require self-awareness to birth and class to admit. In other words, don’t expect these assholes to repent anytime soon.
Photo caricature by DonkeyHotey