The Ronnies!: Republican Debate Awards

Written by: Mitchell Robinson

Primary Source : Keep Talking, August 7, 2015.

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As a self-avowed policy wonk and political junkie (don’t judge me!), I forced myself to watch every minute of the two Republican presidential candidate debates last night–both the undercard, or “kids table” debate at 5pm, and the “grown up” show at 9pm…or 8:50pm, or whenever that debacle was actually supposed to air. So, in the interest of promoting democracy, or subverting sanity, here are my 2015 “Ronnies!,” named after Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of the Republican Party, who was mentioned no less than 1000 times, seemingly, last night by the assembled throngs on the Cleveland stage. Without further ado…

trump

The “I’m a Very Big Deal” Award goes to…The Donald! For his brilliant justification of misogyny and boorish behavior, as he mansplained to debate host, Megyn Kelly!, that “I quite frankly don’t have time for total political correctness” in response to her completely accurate take-down question concerning his discriminatory and Neanderthal language and treatment of women. In recognition of his importance, wealth, and importance, I am suggesting that, upon his election, the White House be immediately renamed the Trump Mahal! It will be really, really classy, and hugely successful!

black

The “Black Like Me” Award goes to…Dr. Ben Carson!, for his stunningly ignorant and/or naive dismissal of race in America, blithely expressed in this made for TV quote: “You know, I was asked by an NPR reporter once why don’t I talk about race that often. I said, “It’s because I’m a neurosurgeon.” And she thought that was a strange response . . . I said, “You see, when I take someone to the operating room, I’m actually operating on the thing that makes them who they are. The skin doesn’t make them who they are. The hair doesn’t make them who they are. And it’s time for us to move beyond that because . . . our strength as a nation comes in our unity.”

I think most of us would love for it to be “time for us to move beyond that”, Ben!, especially our fellow citizens in Ferguson, or Charleston, or those who make the mistake of not signaling when turning, or selling loose cigarettes, or…tragically, there are far too many examples to include here. So, for his dogged determination and denial, I’m sending Dr. Carson! a copy of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ brilliant new book, Between the World and Me, with the hope that he will actually read it…and think about what is really happening in terms of race relations in this country.

huckabee

The “Guns, Grits and Pimps” Award goes to…Mike Huckabee! for his insightful analysis that the solution to our country’s economic woes is to make those scofflaws, the “pimps and prostitutes,” pay their fair share in taxes. Just you never mind the way that America’s biggest corporations avoid paying billions in taxes by stashing their corporate holdings in offshore bank accounts, and locating their company headquarters in foreign countries: that just makes good economic sense, as pointed out by The Donald! “I pay as little as possible” Trump. Only suckers and minimum wage workers are stupid enough to actually pay their taxes! Oh, and pimps and hookers. (Note to self: why is Mr. Huckabee! so obsessed with sex?)

abc

The “Rock ’em, Sock ’em, Robots” Award goes to…Rand Paul! and Chris Christie!, for ignoring the rules of civil discourse, public decency and basic sanity, and snarling at each other like a couple of junk yard dogs, over…um…does anyone know what they were arguing about? The only thing that was clear from their juvenile display of testosterone-fueled aggression was that each man knows he’s a huuuuge underdog in this race, and that the only way to remain relevant is to manufacture the kind of drama more commonly seen on “The Bachelorette” than in political debates. If this cycle’s Republican logic holds true, both men will see huge improvements in their “favorables”, and will surge in the ratings. Neither stands a chance of winning, but my money is on that dreamy Rand as next season’s Bachelor!

jebbush

The “Pinocchio” Award goes to…Jeb!Bush!, for proudly rattling off a list of failed education policies that couldn’t have failed more in his home state of Florida (new state motto: “We’re #28!”), and will continue to fail if adopted nationally (Jeb!’s new campaign motto: #Fail!2016). Let’s put it this way: if Jeb! is the “education candidate,” then Lindsey “I’ve never seen a war I didn’t love” Graham! is the “peace candidate.” (Alternate award consideration for Jeb!: “Least Interested in Being On Stage for This Clown Party”)

The “US Postal Service” Award goes to…John Kasich!, who, evidently, is somehow related to a mailman, and really, really wants us all to know it. And yet, counterintuitively, also wants to shrink the government down to a size that would preclude government services, like…um, mailmen. Sorry, dad. #awkwardfamilyholiday

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Winners & Losers

Winners: This was a trick question. Ironically, given the way that Fox News treated this debate as a sporting event, complete with multiple “LeBron” references, and “shout outs” to the “great crowd” assembled in the arena, there were really no winners. The general level of immaturity and bombastic hype displayed by most of the candidates throughout the evening was unbecoming to a WWF event, much less a presidential debate.

Losers: Us. All of us.

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Mitchell Robinson
Mitchell Robinson is associate professor and chair of music education, and coordinator of the music student teaching program at Michigan State University. Robinson has held previous appointments as assistant professor and coordinator of the music education area at the University of Connecticut; assistant professor of school and community music education at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y.; and director of wind activities and wind ensemble conductor at the University of Rochester. Robinson’s public school teaching experience includes 10 years as an instrumental music teacher, music department facilitator and high school assistant principal in Fulton, N.Y.