At last night's Republican debate/hate-fisting fest, you could say, if you were so inclined, that Sen. Marco Rubio "won," if by "won," you mean, "Still had his pants on and his ass was relatively unspanked." Sure, why not? You could talk about the good jabs he got in on sentient stainless steel dildo Donald Trump, especially the upcoming civil case about "Trump University," the farcical con job perpetrated by Trump on his most desperate fans. You could nod in agreement when Rubio challenged Trump to explain a health care plan alternative to the Affordable Care Act. You could laugh along as Rubio accused Trump of his own mortal sin: repetition without awareness.
You could have a jolly time pretending that any of it mattered in the least. Because, see, in the world we are damned to exist in now, Rubio didn't lay a glove on Trump. Putting aside that it's truly hilarious that any Republican would criticize any other Republican for not having a credible health coverage proposal, and putting aside that Rubio gave a smug, dickish self-satisfied smile whenever he thought he got in a good line, like a home-schooled spelling bee champ who got the word right, Rubio accomplished virtually nothing beyond avoiding another week of headlines about how much Marco Rubio sucks at debating.
The content of the debate is meaningless since none of the candidates said anything that approached a workable, genuine "plan" on anything. Trump went on about his imaginary wall and immigrants, Ted Cruz batted at the phantoms of liberal hottentots storming the gates of his nice country, Rubio did his usual best to sound vaguely rational while talking about completely bugnuts shit, John Kasich responded to everything like he just got out of electroshock therapy (and had the haircut to prove it), and there is a rumor that Ben Carson was there. Let's not waste any time talking about how full of shit they all were other than to say, "Yeah, they were all full of shit."
Instead, look at this exchange:
"Trump: If people -- my plan is very simple. I will not -- we're going to have private -- we are going to have health care, but I will not allow people to die on the sidewalks and the streets of our country if I'm president. You may let it and you may be fine with it...
"Cruz: So does the government pay for everyone's health care?
"Trump: ... I'm not fine with it. We are going to take those people...
"Cruz: Yes or no. Just answer the question.
"Trump: Excuse me. We are going to take those people and those people are going to be serviced by doctors and hospitals. We're going to make great deals on it, but we're not going to let them die in the streets.
"Cruz: Who pays for it?"
It's not a stretch to say that Cruz is implying that he's fine with people dying "on the sidewalks and streets" as long as the nation doesn't have to pay for their health care. What passed for compassion at the Republican debate was stating that Americans should be able to stay alive. Greatest country in the history forever. That's the level of unrepentant fuckery at which we're playing here.
Trump really won because none of the candidates have even the slightest understanding about where Trump's support comes from. Rubio thought he could undermine Trump by showing how the supposed mogul's business dealings are shady at best and illegal at worst. Cruz tried to paint Trump as a Democrat in elephant drag, a fake conservative who would destroy conservative principles (which, apparently, involve immediately deporting children and letting poor people die while bombing other nations).
Both of their campaigns have fundamentally failed to grasp that Trump is in the lead simply because he's Trump. That's got little to do with Trump's experience or his politics beyond "He hates who I hate." It's just fuckin' cult of personality. People want to be with the dude who thinks he's a winner no matter how much of a loser he might be. You know how in high school there was a loudmouth dickhead football player who was verbally abusive and a buffoon but somehow had tons of friends and got all the tail? Yeah, that guy. That's Trump. Meanwhile, Rubio acts like an altar boy who's upset that he's the only one not molested by the priest. Cruz is the prick who wanted so badly to be the class clown but is just a cruel prankster whose asshole dad thinks he's funny.
So let's stop with the pretense that last night's debate did a goddamn thing. Republicans better accept their Trumpish overlord or get the fuck out.
The real story from last night is how fucking worthless Wolf Blitzer was as a moderator. He got steamrolled time and again, had no control over the candidates, pathetically attempted to keep things on track, barely asked follow-ups, and was a quivering, useless lump of flesh with white stubble by the end. On top of that, frightening Hugh Hewitt, who looks like a poorly-healed burn victim, attempted to get the candidates to agree to a "litmus test" of Supreme Court candidates on "religious liberty," which means something like "Don't make Christians follow the Constitution." How is that even a question at a supposedly "mainstream" debate?
Another disgraceful evening in the Republican primary season is over. Let's all have fruit salad and hang out with Polish workers and try to forget that the future of the nation might end up in the slime-encrusted hands of one of these ethical lepers.