Yesterday was a big day for political news. The unexpected death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, shocking in itself, also raised the stakes for the upcoming election. The precise implications of this political shockwave are yet to be determined, but one thing was for certain last night – it put the Republican candidates on edge. The result? One of the craziest ass debates I have ever seen.
If you missed it, frankly I feel sorry for you. But still – need a recap? Read on for a loosely-interpreted version of events.
John Dickerson: Here are the Republican candidates for president, whom we have wisely determined will walk out on stage in a single-file line to prevent any entrance mishaps. And now please join me in a moment of silence for Justice Scalia. (Pause). Thanks.
Okay everybody, let’s hash out what this Court vacancy will mean. Donald Trump? Would you nominate someone if you were president right now?
Trump: I would, and Obama will. It’s up to us to delay it. Delay, delay, delay.
Dickerson: Governor Kasich? Same question.
Kasich: Well John, if I were president we wouldn’t have the divisions in the country we have today. This is just going to turn into yet another partisan fight, and the president will make everything 100 times worse by trying to nominate someone before he leaves office next year. We need to wait until the NEXT person – preferably Republican – takes office, so that the partisan fight will at least work in our favor.
Dickerson: Dr. Carson, what does the Constitution say about this?
Carson: Well, it doesn’t, but let’s remember that when the Constitution was written there was an average life expectancy of around 50 in this country. Therefore the whole concept of lifetime appointments for Supreme Court judges was not considered to be a big deal. Obviously that has changed, and now we have really, really old people sitting on that bench. Old people! This cannot stand.
Dickerson: Rubio, you’re a lawyer. Tell us what the Constitution says about who has the power to appoint Supreme Court justices.
Rubio: The president should not appoint someone. This is VERY IMPORTANT! And we need to put people on the bench who understand that the Constitution is very important, which means that one of us should do the appointing. Not, you know, the person who right now has the constitutional authority to do so.
Dickerson: Governor Bush?
Bush: Of course the president has every right to nominate Supreme Court justices. I’m an Article II guy. But there needs to be consensus on the nomination.
Dickerson: I’m gonna go ahead and call on Senator Cruz next, because there is no way he agrees with anything you just said.
Cruz: You’re damn right I don’t agree! We have 80 years of precedent of not confirming Supreme Court justices in an election year.
(Dickerson interrupts): Sorry, did you say 80 years? Kennedy was confirmed in ’88.
Cruz: No, ’87.
Dickerson: No, I have this right in front of me, it was ’88.
Audience: BOOOOOOOO! WE HATE YOUR FACTS, DICKERSON! LET TED CRUZ PROCLAIM HIS LIES!
Cruz: (slimy smile) Thank you, audience. Thank you. My plaintive eyebrows and I are much obliged. Now let me drive in the nail here with some sentimental statements regarding Justice Scalia.
Dickerson: Alright, moving on to national security. Here’s a quote about the Republican campaigns being too simplistic; let’s work on getting more specific answers tonight. Mr. Trump, picture this: It’s your first day in the White House. What 3 questions do you ask your national security experts about the world? Remember to be specific.
Trump: What we want to do, when we want to do it, and how hard do we want to hit? Also, let’s not forget here – Syria? What about Russia? Iran deal … that’s a disgrace … I voted not to go into Iraq in 2002, don’t forget … “You’ll destabilize the Middle East,” I said! … and I said, “attack the oil and keep the oil,” I said that and they didn’t listen, they just started that a few months ago.
Dickerson: Thank you for that … um, clarity and insight. Senator Rubio, what questions would you ask?
Rubio: 1) What are we doing in the Asia-Pacific region? 2) What are we doing in the Middle East? 3) How do we rebuild and reinvigorate NATO in the European theater?
Trump: That was what I was going to say. I was actually going to say that, you just didn’t let me finish.
Dickerson: Dr. Carson, I want to ask you a question. You said you’ve had a lot of 2 a.m. phone calls, but you used a foundation of medical knowledge to respond to those phone calls. If you were president, wouldn’t you need a political foundation when those 2 a.m. phone calls come in?
Carson: No, but first let me say, I do actually know who nominates Supreme Court justices, and it is the president. Just in case you thought I didn’t know that. Because I do. Or should I say, “We the People” do. (smug smile)
Secondly, thank you for asking me questions and including me in this debate. I find that my polling numbers do quite well after I whine extensively about my (lack of) debate participation.
And third, you don’t need political knowledge to answer 2 a.m. phone calls, you need JUDGMENT. I’ve been known in my career for doing things that haven’t been done before, and no amount of experience can really prepare you for that.
Dickerson: So – could someone without experience, then, just do a lot of those things that you are talking about? Related to neurosurgery?
Carson: Absolutely. If they have good JUDGMENT.
Dickerson: That actually scares me, Dr. Carson. Are you listening to yourself right now?
Carson: Only God can know that, John. Praise Him.
Dickerson: What? I don’t…I have to move on. Governor Bush, let’s get back into foreign policy.
Bush: Donald Trump wants to accommodate Russia in dealing with the Syrian conflict. That is ludicrous! You asked a good question before about the three things. I would restore the military and reverse the sequester, have a strategy to destroy ISIS, and create a policy of containment related to Iran’s ambitions.
Trump: I did say I would accommodate Russia, because Putin called me a genius, and I like that very much.
But back to Jeb – Jeb is so wrong. You got to fight ISIS first. Right now you have Russia, you have Iran, you have them with Assad, and you have them with Syria. You have to knock out ISIS. These are animals. You have to knock em out.
Bush: You have to… wait, what was that now? Knock out ISIS? Whoa!!!!!!! Why didn’t I think of that first?
Trump: Yes, yes. We have to knock them out FIRST. You and Lindsey Graham know nothing, by the way.
Trump: Shut up, lobbyists!
Bush: I will shove a lobbyist down your throat in a minute, Donald.
Trump: Not if I do it first.
Dickerson: Gentlemen, please.
Trump: Look, I get along with everybody. EVERYBODY. P.S. – Jeb, your brother is a moron and he really screwed up in Iraq.
Bush: Come on. I get to respond to that, he insulted my brother.
Trump: I’m being nice.
Bush: You can insult me, Donald, but not my family. You have insulted my whole family. My mother. My mother! The strongest person I know.
Trump: She should be running.
Bush: I hate you. I really do.
Dickerson: Governor Kasich, can you weigh in?
Kasich: Haha, sure! This is crazy. But anyway here are some policy points about why we shouldn’t get involved in civil wars elsewhere in the world.
Rubio: Personally I’m glad we had Bush during 9/11.
Trump: Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? The World Trade Center came down during his reign!
Dickerson: I’m sorry, his reign?
Trump: His reign!
Dickerson: Right. Anyway Dr. Carson, can a nice guy be tough on terrorists?
Carson: I could kill people. Let me show you the ways I could. Give me that chance.
(*At this point I took a shower. So imagine some other things that were discussed. Maybe House of Cards? Good show.)
Strassel: Talking about immigration. Senator Cruz, what will you do with illegal aliens?
Cruz: Well it sure as heck won’t be AMNESTY, that’s for sure. Unlike my pal Marco Rubio over here.
Strassel: Senator Rubio?
Rubio: Are we doing this again? Okay. Ted Cruz is a liar. Straight up.
Cruz: Marco went on Univision and said he wouldn’t rescind Obama’s executive amnesty on his first day in office.
Rubio: How would you know what I said? You don’t even speak Spanish.
Cruz: Que, Marco? QUE DICES? Donde esta la biblioteca, por favor?!!!
Marco: Let me just reiterate for the record how much Ted Cruz lies. He is a lying liar.
Bush: I think I need to jump in and channel Chris Christie here. Nobody wants to hear this back and forth!
Trump: Jeb Bush is the weakest person ever on immigration.
Bush: Oh yeah? You disparage women. Who’s weak now, bro? And how about the disabled? John McCain? Your language is disgusting.
Trump: Jeb Bush said he wants to take his pants off and moon everybody. But nobody reports that.
Bush: I…for the record, I did not say I was going to moon anyone.
Trump: It was reported by 10 different outlets!
Bush: Didn’t you just say nobody was reporting it?
Garret: We’ll get back to mooning, um later…Kasich, please say something.
Kasich: At this point we are basically just handing this election over to Hillary Clinton, guys.
Dickerson: Let’s change course. Mr. Trump, what’s a conservative idea you don’t agree with?
Trump: Eminent domain.
Bush: Eminent domain for private purposes is ridiculous.
Cruz: Yeah, just like Trump. He’s been a liberal for most of his life.
Trump: You are the single biggest liar ever, Ted Cruz. You’re worse than Jeb. Nasty guy.
Dickerson: Hang on guys, let’s turn this car around.
Everyone else: No!!!!!
… HE CALLED ME NAMES!
… RONALD REAGAN!!
… YOU LIE!
Dickerson: Marco Rubio, help. Help me.
Rubio: Should I just talk about anything?
Rubio: How about poverty?
Dickerson: That works.
(talks about poverty)
Dickerson: Dr. Carson? Say something that isn’t politically correct.
Carson: No. I’m not a politician, and I never will be a politician.
Dickerson: Probably true, at least with regard to the presidency. Anyhoo. Governor Kasich, are you a Democrat or what?
Kasich: I’m a uniter. I can give people hope, and I can give them change. I love Democrats, just like I love everyone.
Trump: We don’t need a uniter. We need someone who can hire experts to tell them everything they need to do, and that person who can hire those experts? Me.
Dickerson: What about your use of profanity?
Trump: F$%# you, Dickerson.
(Everyone brawls. Red and blue ties are askew. Camera pans out as Marco Rubio has Ted Cruz in a chokehold, chanting “Quien es tu papa, Ese?” while Jeb Bush sits casually astride Donald Trump, eating an orange and occasionally flicking him in the head. Donald Trump is conscious, but subdued. It’s possible he’s just waiting for the right moment to retaliate, as his hand reaches slowly for the piles of polling numbers that have been littered around the stage. They are just paper, yes, but the sheer number of them might be heavy enough to make an impact. Kasich is off to one side with John Dickerson, where they stand with mouths agape. Carson is offstage, unseen, but the sound of his soft sobbing can still be heard –just barely – over the din.)
Fade to black.