Lots of excitement on TV last night: Leonard and Penny might be getting back together, a great series of completely-immature-yet-still-hilarious double entendres from Sheldon, and a funny gag involving a life-size cardboard cutout of Zachary Quinto.
Oh, what's that? You came to Sunshine State Sarah for something other than a recap of Big Bang Theory's 100th episode? Heh. OK, fine. There was also some political stuff on last night too. Here's my thoughts...
- With Rick Perry dropping out of the race yesterday and Huntsman's exit a few days earlier, we were down to the Final Four at last night's debate. Good news: more time for substantive answers. Bad News: More time for Crazy Uncle Ron.
- Here's the debate video if you missed it:
- Best moment of that 1 hour 47 minute video starts at the 4:42 mark, when military cadets from The Citadel sang our national anthem a cappella. They gave an elegant and classy performance.
- CNN's John King was a complete train wreck as a debate moderator back in June, so of course our candidates reward him by letting him run another debate. Is anyone really shocked he started out with a gotcha question.
- About that gotcha question...the internet is buzzing with the brutal smackdown that Gingrich delivered in his response to King. BuzzFeed posted it on YouTube as "Gingrich Wins The GOP Debate In The First Five Minutes." Personally, it reminded me of this.
- The crowd reaction to Gingrich's answer shows how very, very sick Republican voters are of this kind of nonsense.
- I really liked Romney's response to this too: simply and emphatically stating that the voters want to get to the real issues. Yes, please.
- I'm also sick of how the media is in a tizzy about "how are female voters going to react to this??!" Well, I'm a female, Southern, Presbyterian, social conservative Republican voter and it's just not on the top of my list of most important issues in this race.
- Memo to the pundits who are puzzled why this scandal doesn't seem to be significantly affecting Gingrich's poll numbers: the whole dang planet knows Gingrich cheated on Mrs. Gingrich #1 with Mrs. Gingrich #2, and on #2 with #3. It's a mess, no one likes it, but it's there and his supporters have already factored it into the grading curve.
- If you are a Christian, then you believe that forgiveness is available for all of us, regardless of the sin. Again, I am not ever going to cheer for adultery, but I find Gingrich's story of finding faith and seeking redemption sincere.
- Kudos to Grey's Anatomy for being willing to have a character describe an abortion as "You killed our baby!" and showing the devastating aftermath of such a sad and tragic "choice." (OK, OK, I'll get back to the politics, but I just wanted to say that this Christina-Owen storyline has been heartwrenching...)
- Romney is strongest when he is defending the free market. "This president is the biggest impediment to jobs growth in this country." He needs to talk more about the details of his work with the Olympics and Bain Capital's successes. Also, high five for bringing up Obama's rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline.
- The anti-Bain attacks need to stop. Capitalism is a messy, chaotic, roller coaster - and that's exactly how it's supposed to be. If you want the successes - the Apple Computers and grocery store aisles with hundreds of choices for your breakfast cereal and cutting edge pharmaceutical drugs - then you also have to accept the bankruptcies and the layoffs. Trying to rein in venture capitalism would require oppressive regulation that would greatly hinder the energy and innovation of the American economy.
- Romney gave a stumbling, awkward answer to the inevitable RomneyCare question. He. Sounded. Like. William. Shatner. Figure out how to answer this question, Governor. It's not going away.
- Also not going away: the issue about Romney's tax returns. Yes, it's not legally required. Still, I strongly believe he should release them, as soon as possible. I do not think there's anything particularly devastating in there (we all know he's rich), but my fear is that the Democrats and certain of their allies in the media will try distort the information contained in those tax returns and make it seem like there's some sort of scandal there. Romney needs to release what are undoubtedly long and complicated returns along with a memo from his staff putting the information into context, and then be prepared to respond quickly and forcefully to any attacks. There will not be as much time to correct the record if he waits until the fall.
- Santorum had some solid answers, and landed some punches on his opponents. His whining about Gingrich saying he and Perry should drop out of the race was annoying. Gingrich fell in the polls when he whined about Romney's ads; this is not a good tactic. Santorum needs to pick up a copy of The Art of War and try not to overreact every time an opponent engages in a little political gamesmanship.
- Santorum's answer on the SOPA question was bad, really bad. HInt, hint, Senator, people really don't like someone saying they want to control the internet. Romney and Gingrich both had great answers on this issue.
- I am not a fan of Ron Paul. This is all I feel like saying about him in this post.
- Romney had the best answer to the "what would you do differently in your campaign" question, saying that he'd take the time he'd attacked his fellow Republican candidates and instead use it to attack Obama. We'll see if he sticks to that in future debates, but he is absolutely right that "any of them would be a better president than Barack Obama."
- Gingrich loves his big ideas. His big, grandiose ideas. I think his weakest moments last night were when he drifted from History Professor Gingrich to sounding more like Kristen Wiig's SNL character Penelope. The Romney campaign has compiled a snarky list of some of Gingrich's more outlandish boasts. You know Obama would do even worse to him.
- We had an excellent Snark Factor radio show after the debate, with special guest David Limbaugh. I'll post a link to the podcast as soon as it's up, and make sure to check out Limbaugh's latest column here.
- After the Snark Factor, I tuned into ABC's extremely over-hyped interview with Marianne Gingrich. There really weren't any bombshells, and the whole thing made me sad. Mrs. Gingrich #2 boasted that she had information that would ruin Gingrich's presidential campaign, but all she accomplished last night was to show a national television audience that she is a profoundly unhappy woman.
- Divorce is a loss with many similarities to actually losing someone to death, and there is a grieving process that some people handle better than others. Marianne Gingrich comes across as if she still carries an overwhelming burden of resentment and anger. (I also cannot get over the chutzpah of a woman who engaged in an affair with a married man trying to play high-and-mighty when he turns around and does the same thing to her.) Jeff Schreiber, a divorce attorney in Charleston, South Carolina, has written an excellent post on this topic at America's Right.
- Again, there are villagers in remote Amazonian tribes that are aware that Newt Gingrich was did some sleazy stuff. The only real "revelation" last night was Mrs. Gingrich #2's claim that he had asked her for an open marriage - a claim that both Gingrich and his daughters emphatically denied.
- While I question ABC's judgment in airing this interview to begin with, I will give them credit for giving equal time to Gingrich's daughters, who gave a strong and moving defense of their father. They came across as much classier than their former stepmother.
- Bottom line: Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich all had strong and weak points in last night's debate, but all three of them would be much, much better than Obama.
Another fun recap from The Other McCain.