Naturally, the questioning began with Herman Cain: how do we save Italy’s economy [insert stupid pizza joke here]. He tries not to say anything about Italy, but on a follow-up, says that Italy is too far gone to save. Sorry, Italy.
OH, I AM SO NOT TOUCHING THIS ONE: Cain: “This administration has done nothing but put stuff in the caboose, and it’s not moving this economy.”
Romney insists that Europe can take care of its own problems, in spite of the evidence of centuries of history to the contrary.
ROMNEY: “I’m a man of steadiness and constancy,” adding, “unless you don’t want me to be.” He offered as proof of this steadiness and constancy that he has been married to same woman for 42 years. Which is one year less than Herman Cain.
Perry: “The next president of the United States needs to send a powerful message not just to the people of this country, but around the world, that America is going to be America again”. He didn’t say what country America is now.
PERRY: “And it doesn’t make any difference whether it’s Wall Street or whether it’s some corporate entity or whether it’s some European country. If you are too big to fail, you are too big.” So should Italy be broken up and sold off? Oh wait, Berlusconi’s already pretty much done that.
Bachmann says we have to “legalize American energy.”
Cain: “The American people deserve better than someone being tried in the court of public opinion based on unfounded accusations.” Well, if you hadn’t made those settlements that kept the cases out of courts of law...
NONE OF THAT ACTIVITY: Cain: “And for every -- one person that comes forward with a false accusation, there are probably -- there are thousands who would say none of that sort of activity ever came from Herman Cain.”
Gingrich blames Occupy Wall Street on the media, which fails to explain how the economy works. For example, “I have yet to hear a single reporter ask a single Occupy Wall Street person a single rational question about the economy that would lead them to say, for example, ‘Who is going to pay for the park you are occupying if there are no businesses making a profit?’” Dude, you just blew my mind.
A minute before that, Romney had also laughed at how stoopid protesters are: “I remember asking someone, ‘Where do you think profits go? When you hear that a company is profitable, where do you think it goes?’ And they said, ‘Well, to pay the executives their big bonuses.’ I said, ‘No, actually, none of it goes to pay the executives. Profit is what is left over after they have all been paid.’” Well, I’m sure that made them feel very silly indeed.
Bachmann continues to insist that the problem with the tax code is that some people are considered too poor to pay taxes. “So even if it means paying the price of two Happy Meals a year, like $10, everyone can afford to pay at least that.” Maybe they could just mail two Happy Meals to the IRS. “And what it does is create a mentality in the United States that says that freedom is free. But freedom isn’t free. We all benefit. We all need to sacrifice. Everybody has to be a part of this tax code.”
Interestingly, the transcript CNBC provides leaves out the only part of the debate anyone will remember:
Dude remembers his own policies like Cain remembers the names of the women he groped.
Gingrich, asked what exactly Freddie Mac paid his firm $300,000 to do for them in 2006, says they asked for his advice as a historian. I assume they wanted him to explain the Peloponnesian War to them.
Cain complained that some health care bill (HR 3000) was killed by “Princess Nancy.” Oh he treats all women with respect, does Herman Cain.
Gingrich says it’s “absurd” to answer a question about health care in 30 seconds, since he’s been working on that since 1974 (and hasn’t accomplished anything), and that is why he wants seven Lincoln-Douglas debates with Obama, and also because he’s so very very lonely.
Finally, the moderator said, fine, the rules don’t apply to you, take aaall the time you want, Gingrich said: “One, you go back to a doctor-patient relationship and you involve the family in those periods where the patient by themselves can’t make key decisions. But you re-localize it.” Whatever the fuck that means. And he wants (as several others have already called for), Medicaid to be given to the states to “allow the states to really experiment” because what you really want to hear when people are talking about your health care is “Hey, let’s really experiment!”
BRAAAIIINNNNS! BRAAAAAAIIIIIINNNNSSSS!! “Three,” Gingrich went on, “you focus very intensely on a brand-new program on brain science because the fact is the largest single out-year set of costs we are faced with are Alzheimer’s, autism, Parkinson’s, mental health, and things which come directly from the brain.”
Bachmann explained that “The main problem with health care in the United States today is the issue of cost.” And Obama said Obamacare would cut our premiums and “we have Obamacare, but we didn’t have the savings.” Does she not know that it hasn’t come into effect? Sorry, of course she doesn’t.
Romney: “people have a responsibility to receive their own care, and the doctor-patient relationship is, of course, where that -- where that exists -- where that exists.”
Education. Ron Paul says college costs so much because governments inflate the currency.
IT MAKES SENSE BECAUSE THEY ALL START WITH “C”: But how, he is asked, should students pay for college? “The way you pay for cellphones and computers.”
Gingrich says every college should be like the College of the Ozarks (the Harvard of Missouri, as it is probably known). Because those students have to work 20 hours a week, because they’re poor.
Is it okay that California hired a Chinese company to build part of the replacement Bay Bridge? Cain says that the 999 plan would fix that. Romney says China is cheating on WTO rules and stealing intellectual property (that must have been what happened to Rick Perry). Gingrich says 2015 it’ll be cheaper to manufacture in South Carolina and Alabama than in China.
Cain says there are three things wrong with Dodd-Frank. First, insufficient oversight for Fannie & Freddie. Second and third, Dodd and Frank. (See what he did there?)
This was arguably the least coherent debate yet. While some candidates were obviously less informed than others, none gave the impression that they actually understand economics and finance or have actual plans to deal with banking, housing, health care, etc. And to a large extent, they don’t: let the states deal with it, let the market deal with it, let individuals deal with it, let the underpants gnomes deal with it.
Oh, by the way, Perry eventually remembered that it was the Department of Energy that he wants to destroy.