Three hours of sleep, three hours of debate

OK, I’m on three hours sleep and just watched three hours of the GOP debate, so bear with me.

Did you watch it? If so, did you watch all three hours of it?

The debate, not me sleeping. Wait, did you watch me sleeping? Ok, prove it. What was I wearing?

If you guessed “period accurate colonial era formal wear including tri-corner hat” then I’m going to ask you to stay out of my bedroom.

As far as the debate went, I was hoping for more Trump insanity, Trumpsanity, if you will. It really seemed like everybody was far more interested in telling me that 1: This is the greatest country the world has ever seen, ever will see, and that we sit in an unrivaled position of power among the world powers and, with equal fervor, 2: This country is in shambles, teetering on the brink of destruction by enemies within and without, and unless one of them is elected we will all die at the hands of Barack Obama’s Flying Fortress of Nuclear Destruction and Apologizing for America.

So, you know, pretty standard.

Since we Iowans get the enviable position of being exposed to this toxic nonsense more than a full year ahead of the actual election you would think we would develop some kind of natural defense mechanism against high-powered gibberish. Alas we have yet to evolve the giant wings necessary to escape the impending danger portended by the phrase “BLANK most/least in American history!”

It’s always the most or least of something in history with politicians, isn’t it?

Is that due to America being such a young country? If we were as old as, say, the United Kingdom, would it be harder to say “worst tax increase in American history” or are these guys adjusting for inflation?

No, it isn’t because we’re young. We still think the rest of the world will start liking root beer and ranch dressing because we’re young; too young to realize some food only works in a very specific geographic region.

Side note: Do you know what they call Cool Ranch Doritos in Europe? Cool American Doritos. Europeans have no idea what I ranch is, since they have old European things like “estates” and “landed gentry” and “kilometer.”

I’m tired of the rhetorical whiplash. And not just due to my continued, decades long battle with actually being able to sleep like a person.

I’m tired of everything being dire, every action destined to tip us over the precipice to either paradise or the inferno.

On no less than a dozen occasions in tonight’s debate we heard that the country was about to tear itself apart and suffer some massive international humiliation, usually at the hand of either North Korea or Iran.

Oh, and for good measure, they threw in a whole bunch of stuff about how all the candidates would “get tough” with Putin.

Whatever happened to George W. Bush’s “soul scanning” superpower he employed during his presidency? Bush the Second said “I looked the man in the eye … I was able to get a sense of his soul.” Are we not trusting his appraisal, just because Putin has been arming Assad’s forces in Syria? And the years and years of corruption and murdering journalists and choosing to hang out with Steven Seagal?

And where was the Trump show? He didn’t insult the moderators, at least not very much. He didn’t threaten to run as a third-party candidate, bisecting the Republican party. He didn’t even get in a joke about his time on “The Apprentice!” How am I supposed to get retweeted by Omarosa if he won’t mention “The Apprentice?”

We weren’t left totally bereft of Trumpness. He kept mocking Sen. Rand Paul for only polling inside the margin of error. Trump co-opting the populist insult of “one percenter” was a staggering act of accidental genius.

Oh, and he called Carly Fiorina ugly in an interview. Maybe. It depends on who you ask. But then he said she’s a beautiful woman. And then a CNN moderator wanted to know what Carly Fiorina thought about what Trump thought about her looks. Then Carly Fiorina tried to act like this wasn’t going to be the defining moment of her candidacy. Maybe she’ll get lucky she’ll be remembered for ruining Hewlett Packard, then losing her run for the California senate seat, thereby paving the way for her to lose the presidency.

Governor John Kasich was also present.

I can only imagine what untold horrors the upcoming Democratic debate will hold. Although with the history of Democrats as of the last few decades I can only assume it will start out as smug superiority regarding the clown show that are the GOP debates, which will then quickly dissolve into the same tired bickering about who is acting more like a republican, who has too much baggage, and who will be the most transformative president in American history, followed by a quick mention about how were all going to die from [insert fear monger tactic here]. Then somebody will wake up Bernie Sanders and everybody will go home.

The real tragedy is that we all have another year of these hyperbolic children demonstrating to us that they are fit to run the most powerful country on Earth by using nothing more than bellicose doomsaying and the occasional folksy quip … which is usually about how we’re all going to die. The real victory, however, is that I think that debate might have been enough to actually get me to sleep.

Copy Editor Wes Burns is a Sunday columnist. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don’t necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Wes Burns at 641-753-6611 or