Written by Hannah Dunleavy

In The News

Donkeys and Elephants: The Fox Debate

All 17 candidates in the Republican race were at the first primary debate – on Fox News, no less. Hannah Dunleavy, who is definitely not on her period, took a look.

Paul Rand illustration by Louise Boulter.

Rand Paul illustration by Louise Boulter.

Anyone in any doubt that 17 people is just too much choice for anything – even ice cream – could have done well to watch the first Republican Primary Debate. Especially when all the flavours are a variation of shit.

Here’s what I learned from the first debate of the US election:

• No one appeared to care about the second-tier debate. The lowest-rated seven contestants – Jindal, Fiorina, Graham, Santorum, Perry, Gilmore and Pataki – answered questions to an empty room, giving it all the atmosphere of any early episode of Thronecast.

• Santorum has seven kids because he has confidence in America. And not, as you may have suspected, because he doesn’t believe in contraception.

• Repealing Obamacare is the answer to all the world’s problems and could solve issues as wide-ranging as ISIS, Iran and education.

• Asking candidates if God has told them what issue to tackle first is a perfectly acceptable question.

“Donald Trump doesn’t need to know what the question is before he starts answering it. Also, his resting face looks like a shitting owl.”

• The African American candidate is the only guy on stage you need to ask a race-related question to.

• Rand Paul thinks Government should stay out of the business of churches, but not vice versa. And man, did he look pale and sweaty throughout. (Hope it’s not the start of measles.)

• Invoking Ronald Reagan will fill any gap where a policy should be.

• Donald Trump doesn’t need to know what the question is before he starts answering it. Also, his resting face looks like a shitting owl.

• Mark Rubio thinks making exceptions in an abortion ban for cases of rape or incest is discriminating against people “whose lives begin in violence.”

• Mike Huckabee thinks social security goes to “illegals, prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers.”

• Ben Carson doesn’t object to waterboarding as long as he doesn’t have to admit that he’s doing it.

• Facebook users object to the idea of “a huge monolith with too much power.” (Hahahahahaha.)

• Ted Cruz thinks the best way to fight an ideology is with guns.

• Scott Walker thinks there is an alternative to giving abortions in a case where a mother might die without one. (There is Scott; it’s death.)

• Donald Trump’s too busy to not call women fat pigs.

The winner: Well, it depends how you gauge a winner. If it’s who came across as the most reasonable human being on the stage, then it’s got to be John Kasich. Although being a reasonable human being doesn’t win you votes in this election.

The Ohio Governor pushed his home advantage and showed a remarkable amount of humanity in many of his answers. He spoke about sending fewer addicts and mentally ill people to prison, and addressed the party’s need to reach out to and include ethnic minorities. His answer on gay marriage, although stopping short of agreeing with it, was probably the most compassionate I’ve ever heard a Republican be on the subject. It got a huge round of applause and set Twitter a-twittering, and rightly so. However, and this is a big however, he wasn’t asked any questions on issues he does have some troubling views on.

The loser: Again, this is a piece of string question. On the night, Paul did awfully and Carson showed none of the pep you’d expect from someone who’s made so much money on the motivational speaking circuit. However, Trump made himself look a total dick, not least when, after the debate he implied, publicly, that he had been asked “the toughest questions” because Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly was on her period. Whether that will hurt in the polls remains to be seen.

Until next time. Stay frosty people.


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Written by Hannah Dunleavy

Hannah Dunleavy is the deputy editor of Standard Issue. She likes whisky and not having to run anywhere.