Jon Stewart Media Criticism Award: Fox News. As with CNN and Wolf Blitzer, a seeming predisposition to set this debate up as a two person affair. As Stewart has critiqued, the press seems to have decided these are the GOP’s only two choices. Continually allowing the Mitt and Rick Show to run overtime, and also giving Perry the opening shot as though everyone else was following up.
New York Times Review of Books Ironic Flip-Flopper Award: Shared, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. With specific citations to hard copy and softcover editions, and allegations of flip-flopping flying back and forth on health care and social security, this was a classic example of politicians having to eat their words.
Grover Norquist Give Me My Money Back Award: Michele Bachmann. Initially she claims no taxes should ever be paid. At all. Every dollar you earn is yours, not the government’s. But then immediately retreats…”Obviously we have to give money back to the government” (to pay her salary?)
Kurt Cobain/Jon Huntsman Weird Reference Award: Mitt Romney, quoting Bill Clinton who said he “didn’t inhale.” In this case the pot-smoking reference was used to attack Perry for inhaling the elixir of governmental power: Running, and winning, time after time.
Viva Pinochet! Award: Herman Cain, who continues to cite the “Chilean model” of social security, instituted under Augusto Pinochet’s one-party, dictatorial regime.
Thomas Jefferson Rolling-Over-In-His-Grave Award: Michele Bachmann. Misuse of Thomas Jefferson’s Danbury letter, containing the phrase “wall of separation” is nothing new. What was noteworthy here was her statement that TJ would not have objected to religion in “the public sphere” or “in a public school.” The reason Thomas Jefferson and James Madison wrote, and succeeded in passing the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom — prior to the Constitutional Convention — was precisely to keep religious influence out of the schools. Those seeking details, look here.
Imperial Yellow Award: Tie (pun intended), for Jon Huntsman and Herman Cain, whose bright yellow ties led to their eventual decision to be running mates — or a signal to the Chinese, for whom yellow remains the sacred Imperial color, the equivalent of red for the communists.