As you may have noticed, the 2012 GOP debates have followed a depressingly rigid format. Next time, just read this handy outline instead. You’ll save yourself a couple of hours, punch marks in the drywall, and a despair coma.
Everybody look Presidential!
A. …Except for Newt Gingrich, who will bloat out like a bullfrog in the hopes of distracting the audience from the part where he’s a professor now (Eeeewww!) and the part where he had to resign in disgrace from being Speaker of the House. Sad note: No one even bothers calling him on these things. He is that far out of it.
B. You can’t see it, but Michele Bachmann’s handlers join hands and start tension-crying.
C. The crowd loses their minds when Herman Cain is introduced as “businessman Herman Cain.” Also they are NOT BIGOTS! They just distrust Muslims, fear Mexicans, and wish LGBT people didn’t exist. All for VERY GOOD REASONS.
D. Mitt Romney tries very hard to do something that makes him seem like just a normal, natural, regular guy. He looks like each body part is being operated by a different gnome, and they are fighting with each other.
E. Why are they showing Mitt Romney agai – Oh, it’s Huntsman.
F. Ron Paul starts his inevitable deterioration into Crazy Old Cowboy Movie Gold Miner in Long Underwear. It’s just a matter of time.
G. Rick Perry hits his mark, finds his light, and looks up and to the right, as though he is watching an Archangel fly one of the Blue Angels. Ain’t he pretty?
H. How did Rick Santorum show up again? Wasn’t someone supposed to drop a few gentle hints?
A. Defending our millionaire job creators
1. Massive corporations and the super-rich pay more taxes than anyone – ANYONE! – even when they actually get hundreds of millions in refunds.
2. Suggesting that the rich should be weaned off Bush’s massive tax giveaways is exactly the same as hunting them with spiked clubs.
B. Explaining how taxing corporations and the super-rich at the same rates they had during our country’s most prosperous periods would be disastrous now.
C. Taxation Limbo: We all know that corporations and the rich should be at 0%. How low will the candidates go for everyone else? Flat-out lying and/or making things up about economics is encouraged.
D. The whole idea that government needs funding from anyone other than pixies and water sprites is a huge, generation-spanning lie. Which brings us to…
III. Government Is Evil
A. Funding schools, fire departments, the police, and any kind of infrastructure or social safety net equals mugging you, the voter, and giving your wallet to lazy drug addicts.
B. Just to be clear: The rich are inherently good and industrious; the poor are inherently weak, lazy, and greedy.
C. We certainly would hate to see you voters do anything that implies you are not on Team Rich.
D. Ron Paul says something completely batshit.
E. Uh, seniors, when we talk about ripping away the social safety nets for seniors such as Medicare and Social Security, the candidates certainly don’t mean you. They mean those other seniors. The lazy ones.
F. Freeform slandering of a sitting U.S. President.
3. Elitist socialist!
4. Elitist socialist academic!
5. Elitist socialist academic terrorist!
6. Misguided, or is he actively trying to destroy America? (See 5.)
IV. The Beatification of Saint Reagan
A. Again, candidates should feel free to just make things up.
B. Should anyone insult His memory by mentioning deficits or the fact that He raised taxes, a trap door will open up in the floor and the candidate shall be dropped straight into Socialist Hell.
C. Dilemma: Would you, the candidate, be willing to soul-kiss Reagan’s corpse? Should you do so if this is technically a Gay Thing? (Medics on hand in case Santorum spontaneously combusts.)
A. Who can demonstrate his or her American values by hating and fearing immigrants (brown kind only) the very most?
B. What kind of barrier should be between us and the scary brown people?
2. Electrified flaming wall
3. Electrified flaming wall made of swords and lightsabers
4. Hermetically seal the nation with a giant plastic dome (Keep the BPAs in there; NO government regulation!)
5. Can we get the Archangel Michael to contract with Halliburton or Xe?
VI. Audience Roulette (Caution: May happen at any time during the debate)
A. Audience member shouts out/cheers/boos something that should, by rights, make the whole nation weep with shame and re-examine our lives and culture.
B. Candidate Zen: The candidate must not react, but also must not fail to react. The candidate must agree without agreeing. Reach deep inside, candidate, and touch your base.
VII. Romney/Perry Slap Fight
A. You say things you don’t mean and can’t be trusted!
B. No YOU!
C. Rubber; glue.
D. Perry either reads from notes or panics and loses syntax or both.
E. Romney makes “joke.”
F. Winner is determined by ownership of the glossiest, most stationary hair.
VIII. Foreign Policy (Israel, China, and Scary, Scary Muslims)
D. Huntsman is trashed for knowing anything about China.
E. Gingrich manages to be infuriatingly smug, insanely boring, and irrelevant at the same time.
F. War is good! Who likes it the MOST? Bonus points for the most surprising suggestion re: who we should bomb next.
G. Ron Paul says something completely sensible about how maybe we shouldn’t be throwing away lives, money, and international goodwill by waging endless wars. Awkward silence from other candidates; possible boos and thrown bottles from audience.
H. Impossible dilemma: If you, the candidate, could soul kiss Reagan’s corpse or Israel, but had to choose only one, which would you pick?
1. Cautionary note: By “Israel,” candidates and moderators can only mean “Israel’s most right-wing party.”
2. Bonus points for talking about the End Times without talking about the End Times, if you know what we mean.
IX. Social Issues
A. Bachmann and Santorum finally perk up.
1. Were you aware that Bachmann has taken in foster children?
2. Santorum dons NASCAR-style painted logos for Lycos, Ask.com, and Bing.
B. Candidates explain how they are kind, gentle, tolerant souls who know that the best way to love The Gays is to wish they didn’t exist or at least had the decency to live their lives in the sewers, coming out only occasionally to visit airport bathrooms.
C. Who loves fetuses the most?
1. Ron Paul says something completely batshit.
2. Should anyone mention those things that fetuses use for getting around in and speculate on whether they, too, might have rights, the Trap Door to Hell will reopen.
D. Good luck getting Bachmann and Santorum out of this section. Moderators, keep crowbars and linseed oil handy.
X. Closing: Say One More Completely Meaningless Thing Based on a Softball Question
A. Huntsman: I’m here! Still in the debate and standing right here! Hello?
B. Santorum: I totally have a shot at this! Next time remember to invite me so I don’t have find out of the debate on Facebook, OK, guys? Guys? PS I love the gays, who are horrible and a danger to our nation!
C. Gingrich: The Smuggy Professor. Jesus, just buy a book and give me a speaking fee so I can go home.
D. Cain: Businessman!
E. Paul: Gold! YEEEEEHAW, goooollllllld! Gonna make another blimp!
G. Bachmann: Almost made it through this without scaring the daylights out of ordinary Americans! Remember that Jesus wants us each to sell a kidney so we can deal with the very real problem of fascist communist vampire children roaming the streets and trying to give people forcible vaccinations that cause possession and broken ribs and P.S. vegetarians and the Illuminati are trying to fluoridate our cantaloupes. Nailed it!
H. Johnson: What the hell am I doing here? I’m wondering if this was a prank just as much as you are.
I. Perry: America macho no taxes immigration macho macho Jesus, in any order. [Looks up and to the right]
J. Romney: I am just a regular guy who could give a dollar to every man, woman and child in the United States if that weren’t socialism. I step onto my ultrayacht one foot at a time just like you do. Besides, you’re getting me; get used to it. We all know the Republican kingmakers find everyone else up here uncouth. [Gnomes attempt a warm and trustworthy smile]