CNN hosted the first GOP debate of the year that involved actual candidates, and some clear winners did emerge -- the 99.99 percent of the American people who neglected to watch it. But for the 16 of us who did, the strategy of the combatants was more obvious than a wooly mammoth skeleton in a stairwell. Bash Obama. Take a breath, bash again. And repeat.
Every time the frontrunner, Mitt Romney, spoke, he circumvented the actual question and relentlessly whipped into a monotonous failure of leadership mantra like a broken hand puppet. To the point where he needs to be careful to keep a respectful distance from the phrase, or distracted voters might think it reflects him. Romney? Yeah, he's the failure guy.
You could say that "Obama's Failure" has been the chosen Republican tactic. You could also say that water is an effective medium for whale migrations. Repeatedly claiming his abject non-success to be their number-one priority, the Party of Lincoln facilitated much executive stumbling by tripping the president at every step of every way since day one.
If Obstructionism were an Olympic Sport, these guys would have more gold around their necks than Mr. T.
The purpose of the loyal opposition is to oppose, but lately, Republicans act like they'd rather the economy sink like a diesel engine in a swimming pool than Obama be given credit for a scintilla of its comeback.
The contestants then proved their bona fides by competing to see who most disliked the president. Oh yeah, well, I really really hate him. I hate him worse than chigger mites. Responsible for all evil worldwide throughout history and into perpetuity.
Amongst themselves, however, it was a veritable love fest as the dais genuflected at Ronald Reagan's altar, strictly honoring his 11th Commandment, Thou shall not speak ill of other Republicans. Mouths were clamped shut tighter than Bernie Madoff's credit line in Vegas.
Tim Pawlenty failed to modify his boring-as-porridge reputation, shrinking from repeating his previous day's charge that the president patterned his health-care overhaul on Romney's Massachusetts plan. To which the Mittmeister responded, the president is going to eat those words. Whoa, dude. Tough talk. Obviously trying to nail down those NASCAR Dads early.
We did learn that Herman Cain, the only black guy in New Hampshire, doesn't believe Sharia law belongs in American courtrooms. Good. Neither do poisonous blowfish darts. Newt Gingrich's upbeat approach was to fix the word depression in people's minds while boasting he'd save $100 billion by not paying crooks. So apparently, he opposes oil and ethanol subsidies and plans to suspend Congressional salaries.
Michele Bachmann might have said something other than "Obama Care! Obama Care! Obama Care!" But if she did, it was unintelligible. Rick Santorum continues to be all about the zygotes. And Ron Paul has something to say about the Federal Reserve, darn it, but nobody, not even his fellow panelists, is interested. Conspicuously absent were solution-based ideas. The shortage approached Soviet bread-line standards.
The nomination seekers all dazedly echoed the Reagan hive-mind, calling for more tax cuts and further deregulation, which back in the day was characterized by George Herbert Walker Bush as "Voodoo Economics." In the depths of the crises we find ourselves -- doubling down on what got us here seems to go way beyond Voodoo. These wizards are practicing sorcery. More dark magic from yesteryear. Where's Dumbledore when you need him?
The New York Times says Emmy-nominated comedian and writer Will Durst is quite possibly the best political satirist working in the country today. Durst is a political comedian, who has performed around the world, and is a familiar pundit on television and radio. E-mail Will at email@example.com.