Excuse Me, Waiter?

This evening my husband and I went out for tacos for Taco or Beer Challenge 2015 (#ToBC15) at a local Mexican restaurant.  We had a good time and excellent tacos.  Check us out…

Gillian Kratzer on Instagram “Eating tacos for the cause #tobc15 #reproductiverights” - Google Chrome 8212015 94319 PM.bmp

I love tacos.  There are few things that I love more than tacos, so it is a pleasure for me to eat them.  What is not a pleasure is having my dinner infected by sexism.

So this happens on the semi-regular when I go out to eat with my husband.  The waiter (or the waitress even) will put the check in front of my husband.  That’s fine, although in my head this happens…

evil-galadriel

But for the most part I sigh lightly and slide the check over to myself.  Although my husband is the primary breadwinner in our household, I handle all our finances and so usually I pay for things.

This particular restaurant visit went a little farther than that, though.  With the exception of the time that I was ordering, the waiter never addressed me, just my husband.  The check was pretty much the icing on the cake, but here’s how it went.

Waiter: Would you like your check?

Both my husband and I: Yes.

The waiter comes back with our check and puts it in front of my husband.  Before he walks away I slide the check in front of me.  After inserting my bank card in the folder I slid the folder toward the edge of the table on my side of the table.  

My husband and I chat for a moment and the waiter takes the check away.  We wait another minute or two and he brings the check back and sits it in front of my husband again.   Breathing extra deeply, I wrote in the tip and signed the check.

Am I saying this dude is intentionally sexist and an awful person?  No.  I’m saying that it is frustrating that the prevailing assumption is that when a man and a woman are at a restaurant the man will be paying.  It was also frustrating that – aside from specifically taking my order – the waiter appeared to entirely forget that I existed.

It turns out that I enjoy continued existence even in the presence of my husband.

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When Comedy Punches Down: Parental Leave Edition

larry-wilmore

I will start by saying that I’m a few days behind on this because I watch The Nightly Show on the day after at earliest because I don’t have cable.  Generally speaking I highly recommend The Nightly Show.  It’s a fantastic replacement for The Colbert Report and they do a great job.  …Mostly.  What I have observed is that Larry Wilmore and cast are excellent when it comes to issues of race.  They strike both hard and true.  On the other hand, there have been several instances when discussions of gender and/or LGBTQ issues got downright painful to watch.  This week contained one of those episodes.

On the Tuesday, August 11 episode, the big issue of the night was Netflix’s announcement that they would offer one year of paid maternity or paternity leave for new parents.  While initially feted as a huge progressive leap in supporting paid parental leave (just calling it parental leave from here on out unless I’m quoting someone), the other shoe quickly dropped when we discovered that this leave wasn’t going to apply to all Netflix employees.  And in fact that employees of Netflix’s DVD service (yeah, that’s still a thing) would not receive this benefit.  The Nightly Show did actually do an excellent job of jabbing at Netflix over this particular issue.

Where things started to steer off the tracks for me was during the panel portion of the show.  The guests that night were comedian Carey Reilly of notsoskinnymom.com, actress Regina Hall, and comedian/Nightly-Show-writer Jordan Carlos.  The panels starts off directly with the bang as Carey Reilly declares a year of paid parental leave “baloney”, following up by saying that especially paternity leave is baloney because “what did he do to get those kids?”  This is to say that men aren’t even remotely as physically taxed by the pregnancy/birth process and thus a father will not have “earned” a year off.  So let’s begin with this.

Having a baby is not a medical condition.  It’s not getting a growth removed, it’s having a baby.  It’s a thing that a certain segment of our population is built to be able to do if they so choose.  And yes, sometimes people have to/choose to give birth via c-section which in fact is a surgery.  Nevertheless, there is more to having a baby than recovering from the process of giving birth.  Parental leave is about being able to adequately bond with your child not to mention to figure out how the hell your life is going to work with another person in it who is dependent on you for every aspect of their existence.  This is a taxing process.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the parents of that child got to do that without having to tack it onto their pre-existing schedule like it’s an unspecified number of extra trips to the dry-cleaner?

The United States clearly does not have a culture that is accepting of the idea of longer paid parental leave.  Often what casual criticism like Reilly’s boil down to is “that’s not how I did it and my child is fine.”  Because we live inside the internet most of the time and the internet is full of people that want to yell at you about how you’re not doing your life right, most especially for…I was going to say women and moms but let’s just say anyone who isn’t a straight white cis man, we’re constantly trying to preemptively defend our (child-rearing) choices.

Although, in all honestly, lots of our child rearing choices weren’t really choices at all.  For instance, I stayed home for six years because I didn’t have a college degree and could not possibly have gotten a job that would pay for child care with more than gas money left over.  It didn’t make solid financial sense so I stayed home.  I didn’t stay home because I always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom.  Honestly if someone gave me a year of paid maternity leave I’m not even sure I’d take all of it.  That’s not me not loving my kid, that’s just me being a human being that prefers work outside the home.

As the discussion progresses, Regina Hall asks if this hypothetical year of paternity leave is going to a “father” or a “baby daddy”.  In other words, is this leave going to some guys who just knocked a woman up but aren’t involved in raising the child.  So, let’s take a moment to figure that the way that your company is assured of your having a baby is likely via the stuff going on with your health insurance and so when you add another human being to your health insurance, you are probably involved in that new human being’s life.  If you aren’t involved, you’re probably not adding that person to your health insurance …et voila!  You don’t get a year of paternity leave.  Maybe there are other ways of going about this confirmation.  Still, my point is that there are likely forms to be filled out and due diligence to be undertaken.

Jordan Carlos then jokes that he’d like eternity leave because he loves his daughter so much he’d just like to hang out with her forever.  That’s adorable.  Then he makes a joke about being a progressive dad and says that he needs leave to be able to recover from the birth process.  That’s not adorable.

All this, by the way, is the first minute of the conversation.  One minute in and the general tone of the conversation has been set to: parental leave is the joke.

So we continue this discussion and Larry turns us toward the idea that an actress in the process of making her name would never step out of the biz post-pregnancy (let’s be honest, if she even got pregnant in the first place).  This was, I suppose, by way of wondering whether people would be afraid that someone would steal their work-thunder while they’re away.  And yes, this is a real problem for women.  One of the reasons that this is a real problem for women is that even though women are expected to have babies, we’re expected to do it in a way that is convenient for the rest of the world or face the consequences and women do all the time.  Imagine, however, a world where paid parental leave was an option for everyone.  Maybe you aren’t taking a whole year off, but you’re taking the time you need to a.) recover b.) bond and c.) integrate a child into your life.  Even if you’re adopting and you’re only doing b and c, that’s still something that families should be able to do.

And by the way, let me take a moment to address this aspect of the parental leave discussion, how about adoptive families?  Parental leave is definitely not about recovery time for parents who adopt.  It is certainly about bonding and integration and those are processes which take time and which we should support.

So the conversation moves briefly onto the way that women are penalized for having babies to which I wanted to scream at the television: THAT’S WHY WE NEED PAID PARENTAL LEAVE!!  We need leave that guarantees that you can have a baby and come back to work without fearing the loss of your position or employment.

Hey, do you ever wonder if single people, presumably here we mean people who don’t have or are choosing not to have children, think people taking parental leave are lazy?  *ahem*  Fuck those people.  I’m not in any way sorry to resort to swearing right there because that is simply an asinine thing to say, especially coming from Larry Wilmore who I’m pretty sure actually has kids.  Though Larry then goes on to refer to maternity leave as “a year off”.

Think for a moment about the implications of this statement.  Do you think stay-at-home moms are perpetually “off”?  They aren’t.  Staying at home is not for the faint of heart.  As I mentioned, I didn’t do it because I wanted to but because it was fiscally more sensible at the time.  It is mentally draining for an adult to be alone with children constantly.  You need other adults to talk to.  You just do.  Stay-at-home moms don’t have lunch hours.  They don’t have hours at all.  All the hours are your hours when you are a stay-at-home mom, which, by the way, is why it’s so important for men to have paternity leave because households where men take paternity leave are more likely to share house work equally.  Just because a parent isn’t at work doesn’t mean they aren’t working.  Even if you like cuddly, cooing babies you will eventually need a break for your own mental well-being.

Sloppy conclusion time: I’m disappointed in The Nightly Show because I think Larry Wilmore can do and has done far better than this.  There have been multiple occasions when the show has included guests that could be considered experts.  It seems logical to me that if you’ve wandered into territory that you find unfamiliar, it might behoove the show to call an expert.  In this case, they could maybe call someone from any of the more than 170 countries with some form of paid parental/family leave.  This episode was, for me, rage-inducing and painful to watch.  Do. Better.

The Drop List: August Edition

I’ve had several days of intense analytical introspection about important issues so I feel the need to take a break and do something fun.  Happily, the rumor that Rick Perry has stopped paying his campaign staff in every state has come to rescue me.  Seeing that schadenfreude-tastic news made me think about what order the Republican candidates will start dropping like flies and when.

So first of all, let’s remember all the candidates in their current polling order.  Since this is a fun list, I’m using a fun poll, ie the NBC/SurveyMonkey Poll.  You should be pretty dubious of internet polls because of the issue of opt-in as well as the fact that internet users skew young, white, and male.  Nevertheless, here we go.

  • Donald Trump (23%)
  • Ted Cruz (13%)
  • Ben Carson (11%)
  • Carly Fiorina (8%)
  • Marco Rubio (8%)
  • Jeb! Bush (7%)
  • Scott Walker (7%)
  • Mike Huckabee (5%)
  • Rand Paul (5%)
  • Rick Perry (2%)
  • John Kasich (2%)
  • Lindsay Graham (1%)
  • Bobby Jindal (1%)
  • Chris Christie (1%)
  • George Pataki (0%)
  • Rick Santorum (0%)

The idea that Ted Cruz is number two right now seems patently stupid to me, but whatever.  Let’s roll with it.

Here, therefore, is my list of the order in which Republicans will drop out of the Primary and who they’ll throw their SuperPac money behind (with creative story-telling)…

Rick Perry

So this is pretty obvious.  His campaign staff have all recently been changed to “volunteer status” (Shout out to Gabriel).  In other words, the campaign has stopped paying everyone because they’re almost broke.  At least his SuperPAC has $17 million.  That’ll be helpful next week when the indicted two-time Governor announces that he’s stepping out of the campaign in order to focus on his continuing ability to remain unincarcerated.

Throws His SuperPac Behind: Jeb! Bush

Lindsay Graham

Oh Lindsay.  He’s probably clutching his pearls constantly about these poll numbers.  He was so looking forward to his sister serving as First Lady without even a hint of irony.  Still, once Rick drops out Lindsay can at least leave knowing that he wasn’t the first to go.  If he doesn’t make it to the main stage in the next debate I think he’ll leave because he’s “needed in the Senate.”  You know, to make sure that we go to war with Iran.

Throws His SuperPAC Behind: Marco Rubio (Senators run tight, son!)

George Pataki

He’s going to slip out quietly after Lindsay, hoping that no one remembers he was there in the first place.  Wait…who were we talking about?

And the SuperPac Goes to… Oh come on, are you serious?  The SuperPAC that supports him has a name as awkward as his candidacy: We The People, Not Washington PAC …and they’ve raised $859,000.  How cute.

Bobby Jindal

As his favorables plummet further and further into the toilet in Louisiana and his Presidential polling numbers remain statistically zero, even Bobby Jindal’s monumental ego will give it up…especially considering his fundraising has been abysmal.  He won’t make it to January.  Will his exist be as awkward as his entrance?  Cross your fingers.  Maybe it’ll be another To Catch A Predator-esque hidden camera announcement.

SuperPAC funds?: What…you mean all twelve dollars?

Chris Christie

A part of me wonders where there will be a scandal big enough to actually put him under indictment?  Either that or he’ll stroke out yelling about how teachers are the worst people.  Stupid teachers…dedicating their lives to educating children.  Gross.

SuperPAC money: Secretly funnels it into legal funds for his many legal scandals.


Everyone else stays in at least until the after the September debate.  Here’s the weird thing, the next debate round is going – again – to have two debates: the top 10 and everyone left getting more than 1% of the polling.  At this point that’s basically no one.  Or rather, assuming everyone stays in until September 16, John Kasich will be debating himself on the second tier stage.  All I know is this, Donald Trump will continue to be the outlier to end all outliers and he will not flame out no matter how much you want him to.

And finally, these predictions are entirely for entertainment purposes…unless they bear out in which case yes, I am prescient.

Thinking Through the #BlackLivesMatter Interruption of Bernie Sanders

Yet another of Bernie Sanders rallies was interrupted by Black Lives Matter protesters.  Like most white liberals I have mixed feelings.  This is a a thing that I will honestly admit.  Personally, I’m not a Bernie supporter.  I mean, if he wins the Democratic nomination I’ll vote for him in the general; I’ll even campaign for him in the general election, but not yet.  In any case, this most recent interruption in Seattle is the third of which I am aware.  There was Netroots Nation, some thing in a park, and now a 15,000 person rally in Seattle.

…which brings me to this thing that was in my Facebook feed:

(1) Facebook - Google Chrome 892015 103435 AM.bmp

It is fair to point out that I am a Hillary Clinton supporter, although I did recently take a quiz designed to see which candidate you are most highly aligned with and I scored higher on Bernie Sanders than Hillary Clinton.  So it’s not that I don’t agree with Bernie on nearly every issue, I do.  That said, I think that the disruptions of Bernie Sanders rallies by the #BlackLivesMatter movement deserve some serious analytical thought rather than a knee jerk “but he was part of the Civil Rights movement” memery.

Let’s address this first.  When I Googled “Bernie, Black Lives Matter” I got a list of articles that looked like this…bernie, black lives matter - Google Search - Google Chrome 892015 41922 PM.bmp

Now, to say that #BlackLivesMatter disrupted or interrupted Bernie Sanders is absolutely a legitimate headline.  That happened.  Protesters did not drive Bernie from the stage.  It was a sizable stage, there was plenty of room.  They also didn’t “shut down” the rally by any stretch of the imagination since the rally continued once they accomplished their goal.

So thank you to NBC News, Time, and Daily Kos for using more accurately descriptive language in your headlines.  Using hyperbolic language does not help a conversation, although it certainly does drive clicks.  Let’s all remember that.

In any case, back to the meme.  Speaking of hyperbolic language, if you honestly and truly think that Bernie Sanders is the “only candidate willing to help” people of color I think you’re engaging in selective memory at best.  Remember the Clinton administration, when Bill was President?  I do.  I pretty specifically remember him being referred to as our first black President.  Isn’t that crazy?  That’s how impossible having an actual black President felt.  In any case, the Clintons have had strong ties with the black community for decades at this point and it’s not without reason, even if the relationship hasn’t always been perfect (I’m looking at you, 1994 crime bill).  This is not even to mention Martin O’Malley who, after having been prompted at the Netroots Nation rally at the same time as Bernie Sanders, has begun to put together a structural racism policy platform.  Hillary Clinton’s campaign has recently reached out to #BlackLivesMatter specifically.  To say that only Bernie can help the black community is hyperbolic – again – at best.

And yes, Bernie Sanders did fight for civil rights.  In fact he has continued to fight for the oppressed over the course of his career.  It’s not been highly covered in the media, but he’s done it.  Here are a few examples.  That’s fantastic, but it is inarguable that Bernie Sanders’ biggest, most all-encompassing platform is income inequality.  And no, income inequality and structural racism are not always the same thing.  What I would suggest that #BlackLivesMatters is trying to push Bernie Sanders on is to talk about structural racism separately from income inequality and to understand that even if you solved income inequality tomorrow we would still have race issues to work on.

While thinking about this I was doing some more Googling and came across a really well-written piece on Vox that makes some excellent points about Bernie Sanders’ policy positions.  Dara Lind’s piece brought up a Sanders profile by Andrew Prokop which included this:

“Bernie is in many ways a 1930s radical as opposed to a 1960s radical,” says professor Garrison Nelson of the University of Vermont. “The 1930s radicals were all about unions, corporations — basically economic issues rather than cultural ones.”

And I think that’s probably the best description of Bernie Sanders I’ve ever heard.  As a woman, I see the problem with thinking that fixing our economic issues will solve all our problems because Marxists had the same problem.  They thought that solving the economic issues would eliminate gender inequality.  What they didn’t address is that gender inequality doesn’t just exist in the workplace, it exists in the home as well.  These things certainly intertwine, but you can’t solve both by addressing just one.  That – incidentally – is one of the significant differences between Marxism and socialism, in case anyone ever asks.

I digress.  We should move down to the meme-creator’s commentary below the meme.  Once again, I take issue with the idea that Bernie Sanders is the only candidate willing to push for serious criminal justice reform.  Jamelle Bouie wrote a great piece both praising and critiquing Hillary Clinton’s late April speech about criminal justice reform.  Martin O’Malley has also chimed in on criminal justice reform.  Has that been the crown jewel of either candidate’s platforms?  No.  Clearly, however, Bernie Sanders is not the only candidate to touch on this issue.  Bernie Sanders has a longer record on criminal justice because he’s been in Congress since 1991.

In terms of asking why aren’t #BlackLivesMatter protesting Republicans…  I would imagine because it would be more productive to yell at a wall.  Let’s move on.

If we look back I think you can see why Hillary Clinton hasn’t gotten the same treatment as Bernie Sanders.  Martin O’Malley probably only got interrupted at Netroots Nation because Bernie Sanders was there.  If there’s a Democratic campaign that you can justifiably ignore, it’s O’Malley’s. (I know it sounds mean, but seriously, Martin O’Malley is not going to be he Democratic nominee.)

Above everything else in this meme-message thing, however, what most makes me cringe/eyeroll most is the “Something doesn’t seem right here.”  No.  Something isn’t right, otherwise #BlackLivesMatter wouldn’t need to exist.  There isn’t a sinister plot to stop Bernie Sanders from becoming President.  People being critical of your chosen candidate aren’t conspiring to bring about their downfall, they are offering critique that is – certainly in this case – necessary.  Not only is it necessary, but apparently it’s sinking in because Bernie Sanders is actually making an effort to talk about structural racism.  What #BlackLivesMatter seem to be doing is pushing him outside his talking about an economics-only view of income inequality bubble, and that’s probably ultimately a good thing.  Bernie Sanders cannot win with white progressives alone.  He has to expand and that means acknowledging that the problems of economically disadvantaged people of color are rooted just as much in the “people of color” half of that equation as the “economically disadvantaged” half, if not more so.

If Bernie Sanders can take the heat, so should his supporters.  It’s safe to say that not everyone addresses their primary policy issues in the same way, but I don’t know that any one way is necessarily the best.  Disapprove of the methodology if you want, but disrupting Bernie’s speeches seems to have yielded results, even if the means “disappointed” him.

I would also add that the specific addition of a racial justice platform to Bernie’s website is important even if it only underlines the ways that his other policies address racial justice.  Having Bernie Sanders’ campaign make racial justice a policy platform is important in a larger way than just Bernie Sanders thinking about it.  It’s important because it signals to Bernie’s many white progressive supporters that racial justice is a separate issue that needs to be thought of as intersecting with, but not being entirely subsumed into economic and criminal justice.

Ultimately, we should remember that Bernie Sanders is neither magic nor without room for improvement.  Whether or not you agree with the drastic measures, it’s important for a candidate whose claim to fame is working for the common person that he recognizes that not all the common people have the same problems in the same ways.

Edited to add: “Bernie Sanders Taps African-American Organizer As Campaign Press Secretary” 

We’re Not That Stupid, Erick

As I was scrolling through my Facebook feed this morning, listening blissfully to Slate’s Political Gabfest and their thoughts on the recent Republican Primary debate I came across a story about Donald Trump.  This is not abnormal lately.  Donald Trump is everywhere.  Whether he’s retweeting men who think “bimbo” is a clever burn, complaining that Megyn Kelly was mean to him because she was on her period, or yet still because one of his functionaries retweeted someone who suggested gutting Megyn Kelly, Donald Trump has been all over my social media and I don’t really love it.

This morning however, the AP article that I came across via Huffington Post was titled “Trump Disinvited From Conservative Forum Over Megyn Kelly Comments“.  “Awesome!” I thought to myself.  It’s so great that someone in the conservative movement has found their line in terms of commentary about women.  Oh but wait, then I read it.  Here’s the innocuous, even pleasant quote that lures you in…

“I just don’t want someone on stage who gets a hostile question from a lady and his first inclination is to imply it was hormonal.”

Here’s the thing, the person that said that is Erick Erickson of RedState.  Just to give you an example of some of the things that Erick Erickson has said about women in the past:

Ladies earning money?  That's unpossible!
Ladies earning money?  That’s unpossible!

So when Erick Erickson disinvintes Donald Trump from his forum for implying that Megyn Kelly was on her period, you’ll excuse me for calling complete and total bullshit.

Erick Erickson needed a really convenient reason to exclude Trump because – and as much as I hate to agree with Donald Trump on this – the Fox News crowd clearly doesn’t want Donald Trump to be a part of the GOP candidate pool.  I believe that people can change, even if only incrementally, but Erick Erickson hasn’t suddenly seen the light.  This is some combination of liking Megyn Kelly and disliking Donald Trump.  This has nothing to do with getting the vapors over Donald Trump suggesting Megyn Kelly was at the mercy of her hormones during the debate, though frankly it’s just like Erick Erickson to think women are so stupid that we wouldn’t notice.

So by all means, Erick, exclude Donald Trump, but have the fortitude to lose your flimsy excuses.  No intelligent human being thinks you actually care in any way about Trump’s rampant misogyny.

I Survived The First Republican Primary Debate…

Republican Big Ten Debate 2015

Unfortunately, I was not able to live-tweet the main debate last night because I had an evening meeting and I didn’t make it home until 10:15.  Given how totally entertaining I found the Republican Big Ten Debate last night (As opposed to the earlier-in-the-day junior varsity debate), I am nearly despondent that I had to watch it afterwards.  Still, watching it afterwards gave me the chance to really focus and take some good notes and not have to annoy my husband by constantly pausing to comment.  What follows are – from my perspective – some of the broad highlights (Is “highlights” the right word?  That makes it sound like they were good…interesting points, trainwreck moments?  You get it) for me.

I’ll go through in roughly chronological order, but I won’t include everything because there’s too much…

Most Bush Moment

One of Jeb Bush’s first questions was about his being a part of a political dynasty and whether that’s an issue.  He leaned on his experience as Governor (obviously) and said:

In Florida they called me ‘Jeb’ because I earned it.

That’s as may be, but even if they’re calling you Jeb…that still includes your family name.  Jeb Bush’s actual name is John Ellis Bush.  He goes by his full initials as a first name.  So you literally can’t call him by his name without using his family name.  He’s chained to it forever: John Ellis Bush Bush.  That’s awesome.

Trollingest Troll Moment

Megyn Kelly asked the question that was – for my money – the most telling question of the evening to Donald Trump.  She pointed out that Donald has in the past, basically since Donald Trump has been part of our national conscience, called women things like “slob”, “disgusting”, saying that a particular woman would make “a pretty picture on her knees.”  His initial response was to joke it off by saying “Yeah that was just Rosie O’Donnell.”  In my head I heard the classic “hur hur hur” laughter of a troll who doesn’t have the confidence to stick the landing on their extraordinarily unclever comeback.  Megyn Kelly pushes him to actually answer and he responds – in classic troll fashion – by blaming “political correctness”.  You know friends, Donald Trump is an important guy and he simply doesn’t have time to be a decent human being…I mean be politically correct.  Upshot?  This:

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)  Twitter - Google Chrome 872015 35604 PM.bmp

Donald Trump is a classy guy.  He won’t call Megyn Kelly a bimbo, but he’ll sure retweet someone who does.  By the way, if you ever want to see troll central, check out Donald Trump’s twitter feed.  There are more than a few “I’m a liberal…” and “I’m a Democrat but…” men who can’t wait to vote for Trump.  I assume they share his utter disdain for women (and possibly everyone else who isn’t a straight white cis man.)  Guys, you’re welcome to change your registration.  We neither want or need you.

Most Typical Politician Moment

How appropriate that this award goes to the “aggressively normal” Scott Walker.  Megyn Kelly asked Walker whether his views on abortion were out of step with most Americans.  She mentioned that he doesn’t support a life of the mother exception in anti-abortion laws whereas 83% of Americans do.  He basically went on to tell her that he knows that actually a lot of Americans really do agree with him.  And he’s right, in that there are 320 million Americans so that’s still like 54 million Americans which is indeed a lot of people.  You know what’s more though?  266 million people.  I’ve been in a room while a politician pulled that “the people I talk to” bullshit.  It’s really frustrating, especially when you’re not one of the “the people I talk to” and you’re literally standing right in front of a politician who is trying their best to pretend you don’t exist.

Most Terrifying/Stupid Defense of An Anti-Abortion Stance

Mike Huckabee will use the 5th and 14th amendments to make sure no women has the ability to control her own body ever again.  You know, because these amendments can apply to fetuses, but can be easily suspended for walking, talking, sentient women.

Person Most Oblivious to Policy Conversations for the Last Five Years Minimum

If it weren’t for me you wouldn’t even be talking about illegal immigration.

Donald Trump, ladies and gents.  Do we even need to discuss the ridiculousness of that statement?  I thought not.

Moment Most Likely to Make Liberals Giggle

EVERYONE SHUT UP!  Chris Christie and Rand Paul are about to have a slap fight!  I absolutely 100% squealed with glee while Chris Christie and Rand Paul were yelling at each other because last year this is exactly what I predicted would happen if those two guys were on a stage together.

Christie got to tell his moving (if ever so slightly fabricated) line about being appointed as a US attorney the day before 9/11, which I’m pretty sure made him the first person to mention 9/11.  In the midst of his scrap with Rand Paul, Paul made sure to mention that he hugged President Obama at which point Christie invoked hugging 9/11 survivors.

Most Creative Way to Recommend the Flat Tax As a Prescription for All Our Ills 

During a question about taxes Ben Carson said he wanted to build a system of taxation around tithing because God really got it right.  He didn’t say the words “flat tax”, but that is exactly in every way what tithing is.  It wouldn’t be a Republican debate if someone didn’t suggest it.

Total Cliches

  • Marco Rubio (and pretty much everyone else): “We have to repeal and replace Obamacare.”
  • Rand Paul: Reagan reagan reagan reagan reagan.  No joke.  At one point he said Reagan like three times in one sentence.

Most Confused Old Man

John Kasich…I’m not even really totally sure that he was at the same debate as everyone else.  His debate prep apparently consisted of a list of prepared talking points and anecdotes which he let out – with some exceptions – at totally random moments.

Most Unintentionally Honest Quote

In a list of things Ted Cruz would do on his first day as President…

…the next thing I intend to do is to ask the Department of Justice and the IRS to start persecuting[sic] religious liberty.

I’m not kidding.  It’s in his closing statement.  I thought at first he might have meant “prosecuting” instead of “persecuting” but that doesn’t really even make sense either.  I’m honestly not sure how to interpret what he said to mean anything that doesn’t circle back to something that moves America closer to becoming The Handmaid’s Tale.

Most Uncomfortable Moment

Ben Carson decided that his night wasn’t going well and just skipped directly to doing a bad stand-up routine as part of his closing.

Most Kindergarten-Level Understanding of Equality

Ben Carson again!  Dr. Carson is a neurosurgeon in case he hasn’t mentioned it twenty thousand times.  And as a neurosurgeon he’s operated on people’s insides so he knows that on the inside we’re all the same.  Racism solved!

Most I-Don’t-Think-That-Means-What-You-Think-It-Means Moment

Jeb! kept calling on us to get on board the “energy revolution” train.  Except that at no point did he mention anything other than fossil fuels.  Fossil fuels aren’t revolutionary.  They’re pretty old.  I can’t even make a joke about how old it is in relation to other energy technology because I’d have to compare it to itself.

So, to wrap up.  This was an entertaining time.  I’m interested to see what the movement in the polls looks like in the next week or so.  Here’s my final thought on everyone:

Donald Trump – He was exactly who you thought he’d be and how you thought he’d be and if you were at all surprised then you haven’t been paying attention.

Jeb! Bush – Bumbly.  Not Rick Perry bumbly, but not great.  Could well be surpassed by…

Marco Rubio – Sure he may have claimed never to have supported a life of the mother and rape exception to anti-abortion laws when that’s not actually the case, but other than that he gave a solid if uninspired performance.

Mike Huckabee – Slow drop in the polls, but he won’t pull out.  After all…he doesn’t believe in birth control.

Ben Carson – Precipitous drop in the polls.  People think he knows a lot about medicine and not much about anything else and he did not do a lot to dispel those notions.

Ted Cruz – I literally almost forgot about him.  What does that tell you?

Scott Walker – “Aggressively normal” is probably a good description.  He’s mayonnaise on crustless white bread and proud of it.

Ron Paul…I mean Rand Paul – That’s not me being clever.  As I was trying to remember all the candidates in order I accidentally said Ron Paul, which accurately describes how he did.  The only difference is that his dad comes off as a crazy old coot and he looks like a perpetual twelve year old.

Chris Christie – He did a really good job of bloviating on a stage with world-class bloviater Donald Trump.  He also mentioned 9/11 the most times.  So…he’s like the Rudy Giuliani of this race?

John Kasich – Why?  I mean he seems like a nice gentleman, but I have no idea what he thinks he’s accomplishing.