If you missed last night's CNN Western Republican debate in Nevada, the clip above is the best example of why the GOP is seriously screwed no matter who they choose. The two supposed front-runners -- Mitt Romney and Rick Perry -- acted like a couple of high schoolers, barking and interrupting each other as they effectively minimized the illegal immigration issue by painting each other as hypocrites.
These debates would go much smoother if all the candidates would just admit that they are pretty much hypocrites about pretty much everything.
Instead, we're treated to Perry admonishing Romney for hiring a couple of illegal immigrants to mow his lawn a few years ago and Romney telling Perry to point the finger at himself for signing legislation that gave tuition breaks to illegals. Romney emerged from the confrontation as the clear winner -- if for no other reason than Perry coming across as a complete asshole -- but he couldn't do it without shooting himself in the foot.
While explaining the lawn mowing situation, Romney said, "So we went to the company, and we said, 'Look, we can't have illegals working on our property. I'm running for office, for Pete's sake. I can't have illegals.'"
So it's not really that Romney's against hiring illegals. He's only against it when he's running a political campaign. Got that?
And the bickering back and forth between those two about who has created more jobs is quickly rising to the top of the most annoying topics talked about in these debates. Can't we just call it a tie, gents, and move on to something with substance? Didn't think so.
Romney and Perry also teamed up with other candidates in attacking Herman Cain's 9-9-9 Plan, and Cain paid the price, as he failed to adequately combat their questions, repeatedly accusing both of comparing apples and oranges. Cain also slipped up when answering a question about negotiating with terrorists. Last night, he said he wouldn't do so under any circumstances, but he had made a statement previously that if an American life were at stake, he'd consider freeing prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
But really no Romney-Perry clash, Cain gaffe or even goofball comment by Ron Paul compares to the ineptness shown by Michele Bachmann.
Sure, she's screwed up plenty of times before this, and her performance last night wasn't her all-time worst, but this had to be the nail in her campaign's coffin. In short, if the debate was an episode of Survivor, Bachmann would have been the unanimous choice to pack her bags and go home.
While all the candidates reference Obama, she's by far the worst. Bachmann doesn't seem to grasp that she's running against the people on that stage, not the incumbent. And she takes swipes at the president in unnecessary ways, like pointing out that the uncle and aunt he doesn't have contact with are illegal immigrants.
Seemingly every time she opened her mouth, something crazy came out, but three of her comments stand out in particular as ones that make you want to jab an ice-pick in your eye and beg for mercy.
3: "This is one night when I hope what happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas."
So cheesy and manufactured. And: She needs to forget last night ever happened and hope everyone else does as well.
2: "I will build a double-walled fence with an area of security neutrality in between."
While discussing border control, Bachmann tried to one-up everyone else by saying she'd build not one, but two walls across the entire southern border of the U.S. Why two? Nobody asked, but apparently she plans on setting up some kind of Switzerland situation in between them. And two is better than one, right?
1: "The good news is the cake is baked. Barack Obama will be a one-term president. Now the question is: We need to listen to Ronald Reagan, who said, 'No pastels. Bold colors.' I am the most different candidate from Barack Obama than anyone on this stage. We can't settle in this race."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Anderson Cooper tried his hardest to keep Bachmann from uttering these words, claiming everyone's campaigns were urging him to wrap-up the debate, but Bachmann was able to shoe-horn in a phrase even more awkward and scripted than her previous one about Vegas, prepare everyone for a question she never posed and make a reference to bold colors while wearing only white and black. Priceless.
Bonus: "[Obama's] taken his eyes off the No. 1 issue in the world: that's Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon. That makes all of us much danger. And the president of Iran is a genocidal maniac."
That middle sentence is a direct quote. Enough said.
Oh, yeah, and the best candidate last night? Jon Huntsman, who claimed he boycotted the debate because he disapproves of Nevada's caucus date and instead spent the day in New Hampshire.