The whole thing — I can’t believe I watched all five hours of the Republican debates on Wednesday evening. That’s two hours longer than “Titanic,” an hour longer than “Gone with the Wind.” And what a ride it was, leaving me bewitched, bothered and bewildered, not to mention irritated and frightened.
But I’m no pundit, talking head, strategist or hired gun — just a little old lady with a keen, mean eye for details otherwise blown away by the hot air.
Therefore, my Dirty Dozen innocuous observations, albeit non-substantive, deserve a reading.
No.1: My father used to sneak into vaudeville shows on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. First, the warm-up act, usually B-grade performers who loosened up the audience. This time the Fab Four did so much more, like establishing a boring sartorial code of dark blue suits, white shirts and barely printed ties. Who says conservatives have to dress like conservatives? Except for Pataki’s comb-over, they reinforced the notion that politicians need good hair, also a political cartoonist’s statement that Bobby Jindal makes the best caricature since Richard Nixon. Is it my imagination, or was that really Caitlyn Jenner seated in the audience behind moderator Jake Tapper?
No.2: Longshot Pataki endeared himself by opening with “Donald Trump is not fit to be president.”
No.3: Lindsey Graham wants everybody to drink more. Some of his confusing, repetitive answers suggested the flag (not Confederate) was already up over South Carolina.
No.4: Surely Ben Carson’s striped suit came from The Steve Harvey Collection. I don’t think he really wants to be president — just along for the ride.
No.5: Donald Trump’s face is made of Silly Putty, which morphs from pursed lips to popped eyes to exaggerated grimaces and sneers. It even blushes. His bombastic adjective-prone proclamations about billions and casinos and “my people” who would overnight become presidential advisers finally met their match, which was silence, even a few boos. Fact-checking Trump is easy. He doesn’t have any.
No. 6: Poor Uncle Huck(abee) gained back the weight he lost for the last election.
No. 7: You go, girl! Leave Hewlett-Packard in a cloud of dust and kiss my grits! Darling Carly Fiorina showed the Big Boys that the eyebrow pencil’s mightier than the sword. Finally, a woman who can think on her expensively shod feet, hides a quick brain under carefully coiffed locks, and conceals a rapier in her Anne Klein clutch. Maybe if I talk nice enough, she’ll share the number of her cosmetic surgeon, esthetician and personal trainer. One look and Hillary called Jenny Craig.
No. 8: CNN’s chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, got a raw deal. When moderator Jake Tapper finally called on her to ask a question, she seemed flustered. Tokenism, maybe, in a pretty white dress?
No. 9: Chris Christie might have chosen Barker (as in circus) for his POTUS code name. He put on a really big show, full of sound and fury, signifying …? He is so much fun to watch, maybe on Broadway, not Pennsylvania Avenue.
No. 10: Rubio, Rubio, wherefore art thou, Rubio? Gratifying to hear a man who speaks in complete sentences, in two languages, while Trump murders one. Be his answers right or wrong, at least Marco has some.
No.11: What’s with those unsettling commercial messages during the breaks? One depicted a swastika replacing stars on the American flag. Another concerned Michael Bloomberg. Huh?
No. 12: Which leaves Jeb, poor Jebbie, whose dry humor and nice-guy smile neither inflame nor inspire voters. I’ll bet The Donald, who accused him of avoiding a last name on campaign posters, doesn’t know that JEB is an acronym for John Ellis Bush. I thought Jeb used great restraint not smacking Trump in the kisser over refusing to apologize to Spanish-speaking, legal-immigrant wife Columba. Watch out, Donnie Dearest. Your next magnum of Dom Perignon might be spiked with habaneras.
Now, I’m Biden’ my time until the Democratic Party debate on Oct. 13, where Clinton will face Sanders, O’Malley, Webb and Chafee. An educated guess: black pantsuit, pearls and a smile that even Crest WhiteStrips can’t render sincere.