The Envy Of The World
All 38 contenders for the GOP's presidential nomination squared off at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California last night. The choice of venue was hardly a random one.
"We want the reactionary white voter who still thinks President Reagan saved the world from commies and Negroes to know that we are 'right' there with him," said Republican consultant Ted Reavis. "And I think that after tonight's debate, the reactionary white voter will be pleased."
Each candidate fought bitterly to claim Reagan's legacy as his own. John McCain was perhaps the most insistent, not only claiming to be one of Reagan's closet friends when the president was alive, but saying that Reagan's ghost regularly visits him for casual games of checkers, and has posthumously endorsed McCain as his political heir.
Mitt Romney tried to upstage McCain by donning a plastic Reagan mask and repeatedly saying, "Mr. McCain -- tear down that gall!"
But the true highlight of the evening came when Reagan's casket was wheeled out on stage and opened in front of the candidates. The stench made many in the library sick, but candidate after candidate took turns kissing what's left of Reagan's body, with John McCain attempting to crawl into the casket with the late president. Moderator Chris Matthews informed McCain that he was deviating from the scripted format, and awarded some of McCain's speaking time to GOP longshot Ron Paul, who used it to denounce the IRS, advocate the gold standard, and propose that Americans trash their debit cards in favor of a barter system using animals, fuel, and ammunition.
Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani stood out by wearing the still-dirty suit he had on during 9/11, and warned the audience that if he is not elected president, the terrorists will see it as a sign of weakness and decadence, and will set-off nuclear weapons in 15 major American cities. When Chris Matthews asked Giuliani how he knew such horrible events would happen, Giuliani replied, "I'm a time-traveler, Chris. I've already seen the future where I'm at best Secretary of the Interior, and it's not pretty."
Amid all the serious talk and posturing, a humorous moment arose when an unidentified man stood at an empty podium, and for a brief time was considered one of the candidates. When asked how he would win the war in Iraq, the man replied, "I just came up here to find my wife. Oh, there she is! Hi honey! I'll be right down!"