The Republican presidential campaign has so far delighted us with sixteen debates in what has become the best reality freak show on television. And Saturday night's free-for-all in Iowa provided an extra special treat.
The candidates sparred over everything from the economy, health care and Palestinians to ethics and infidelity. There was even another huge "oops" moment, this time for Mitt Romney, who reinforced his reputation as a rich out-of-touch elitist by challenging Rick Perry to a $10,000 bet over his health care record (Perry would have lost the bet, BTW). This blunder didn't go over well in a state where the average income is $40,000. What the hell was he thinking? This one's gonna cost him dearly.
But the most fun came at the end of the debate when the candidates were asked what financial sacrifices they had made in their lives. And as my friend Paul keenly observed, this is when the debate turned into Monty Python's hilarious "Four Yorkshiremen" sketch where a bunch of snooty aristocrats wax nostalgic about their difficult upbringings, trying to out-poor each other with one absurd claim after another.
Perry said he his house didn't have running water until he was six, and that his mother sewed his clothes until he went off to college. Gingrich said he was raised in an apartment above a gas station. Ron Paul told of growing up through the Depression. Michele Bachmann said she had to work at 13 because her single mom fell below the poverty line. Romney sheepishly admitted he hadn't been poor, but that his father had been.
If only the Repubs had had more time they surely would've ended up describing how they had lived in a rolled up newspaper or a shoebox.
By the way, here's what I think of Romney's $10K bet...