Thanks for the podium, Mr. Trump!
"Thanks for the podium, Mr. Trump!" Kobby Dagan /

Welp, here we are again, but there's something different this time. Something less orange, less misogynistic, less flatulent. Oh, I know: there's no Trump! Ahhhhh. It's like taking a vacation from the asylum.

Except not too much of a vacation, because it's on Fox News and it's for Republicans. Ugh. Okay, let's dive in to make fun of these jerks.

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6:05 Cruz tells Ben Carson he's a terrible surgeon, his best effort to do a jokey Trump impression. Can't wait to see that remixed by the Gregory Brothers.

6:06 Rubio complains "Barack Obama wants America to be more like the rest of the world," to which the audience grumbles. Yeah sure would suck if we had lower infant mortality rates and higher literacy rates and universal health care and...

6:07 Jeb: "I miss Donald Trump... he was always a little Teddy Bear to me." Thank you for THAT mental image.

6:10 Trump's event, by the way, is livestreaming over here. At least I think it is. It's ten minutes in and we're just looking at an empty podium. Where is Trump? Ehhhh who cares.

6:11 One of the moderators looks just like a Thunderbird marionette. He's asking Rand Paul if he didn't "embrace" his father enough — ideologically speaking, of course, but let's pretend he's talking about aloof, withholding fathers.

6:15 The trump livestream is so boring the camera operator is just swinging around to look at the various security guys. Still no sign of any hooting orange primates.

6:17 An INSANE metaphor (?) from a moderator who says that Ben Carson "has landed a lot of planes in the O.R." What does that even...?


6:21 Ted Cruz may be wearing a candy cane for a necktie. It looks delicious.

6:22 Megyn Kelly invites readers to go to Fox's website to vote on whose plan to defeat ISIS is the best, in a tone of voice that makes it clear that she RRRRRREALLY does not care what viewers think.

6:23 Trump protestors wisely wait until a commercial break in the real debate to cause a small fuss at his rally. Quickly escorted out.

6:27 Cruz is lashing out at moderator Chris Wallace for not letting him talk. Moderator shouts him down. Marvelous. Chris is now complaining that the questions are too mean and saying that he may have to leave the stage. OH GOD YES

6:30 Go ahead, watch this on a loop for the next few hours.

6:34 Now they're arguing about the best way to make life miserable for Muslims. For some reason, "closing diners" is one of the options on the table.

6:35 Oh lord, Trump just introduced Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum to say a few words.

6:37 Megyn Kelly goes after Chris Christie: he's telling a story about dangerous Muslims, and she breaks in to say "that's not true." Oh man, can you imagine if she had to do that every time one of these guys made something up?

6:39 Ben Carson complains about political correctness, because it is 1995 and he is a character on Murphy Brown.

6:40 Megyn Kelly brings up the "so-called back door" of cell phone encryption. Kasich said "it's best not to talk about back doors." Oh, John, if you don't talk about back doors to your kids they'll just learn about them on the streets.

6:43 Questions from Mark Watson, a black YouTube celeb, about why we don't have more body cameras on police. Rand Paul's answer is that too much of the average police budget comes from fines, which does not exactly answer anything.

6:46 Trump introduces a veteran who says that being introduced by Donald Trump makes him feel "cooler than Burt Reynolds," a very timely reference.

6:48 Trump's veteran says "America is the greatest thing that has ever happened to this planet." (Yeah, ok, but the dinosaurs were pretty cool too.) He says his name is "John Wayne" and he was born on the fourth of July, then adds, "YOU'RE WELCOME AMERICA" like he's a god damned drag queen.

6:52 Question for John Kasich about the Flint water poisoning, and what he'd have done differently "I don't know what's been done," Kasich says, but adds, "if people at home say they have a problem, listen to them."

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6:55 Megyn Kelley tosses to commercial with a tease for after the break: "immigration and something you've never seen before." What? Is David Copperfield waiting backstage?

7:00 So far no questions about one of the most pressing controversies of our time: how Chester Cheetah has been stepping up to welcome all the furries rejected on Twitter by Tony the Tiger.

Chester for President!


7:01 Jeb Bush: "When you're elected, you need to do things." This has been Leadership Tips with Jeb Bush.

7:05 Oh shit Ted Cruz is angry! Fox just showed a montage of him contradicting himself on immigration and asked him to respond, and now we know that when Ted Cruz shouts in anger he sounds like a goat.

7:09 Igor Volsky from ThinkProgress is Tweeting about Barack Obama's accomplishments, among them the decrease in uninsured.

That may be true, but I'll tell you what: being self-employed, I got Ambetter insurance through the Washington Health Plan Finder so now I'm paying $200 a month for some MISERABLE coverage and I'm thinking of dropping it and going back to being uninsured. Ambetter says I'm covered for treatments and then when the provider calls for verification Ambetter says "no he isn't" and it's been a real pleasure for everyone. Also if you forget your password you have to call a 1-800 number to talk to a person and reset it, WHAT???

7:15 Chris Wallace asking Ted Cruz why all of his coworkers hate him. Cruz says that his coworkers are dumb, and all of his friends like James Dobson agrees. There was more to his answer but I was too distracted by how his face looks like a picture of Charlie Brown drawn on a gourd.

7:18 Jeb Bush says that he's seen polls showing him defeating Hillary. This must have been in one of those novelty newspapers

7:19 Rubio says Bernie Sanders would be a good president ... OF SWEDEN, hahahahaha. (Sweden does not, in fact, have a president. Whatever, there's not enough oil in that country for Republicans to care about it.)

7:22 Ad for this new Coen Brothers movie, Hail Caeser. This looks pretty great, right? I'm a sucker for movies about how dumb the golden age of Hollywood is. Have you seen Straight Jacket? So good.

7:28 Oh a gay question! Wasn't expecting this to come up. How is Kim Davis still a topic of conversation? Anyway, Chris Christie is grumbling that government offices ought to follow the law and also let employees break the law, which is a totally coherent position.

7:30 Rubio says that Americans donate to charity because they are Jewish or Christian. I guess because religious people are greedy assholes who only help the poor because they are afraid they'll go to Hell if they don't? Okay, Marco, whatever you say.

7:33 Question for Ben Carson about Putin and Estonia. Ben calls for more military exercises. "They're terrified by the saber-rattling," he says. Well don't SAY that it's saber-rattling! Also says that we need to do more fracking.

7:35 Rubio says he'll cancel the deal with Iran on his first day as president. Kasich says he wouldn't, but if we find that they're making a nuclear weapon we should take it away from them. These guys are talking about Iran like it's a teenager with a homework/allowance contract and an Xbox.

7:39 Just got a text from a friend that this debate is getting him frustrated. If you're having a similar response, please watch this soothing video game footage in which the player lovingly strokes a moaning fox man.

7:42 I was watching the Trump rally on mute and apparently this is what I missed:

7:43 Rand Paul says that if any businessman did what Bill Clinton did, they'd be fired and would never work in their industry again. (Which is neither relevant nor true.) He adds that Hillary can't claim to be a defender of women because of "that behavior." "Of her husband's," Megyn Kelly said.

7:49 In the comments, droctopu5 asks "Who is the asking-guy that looks like a Stay-Puft Seth MacFarlane? Is he literally a softball coach?" I believe that's a mannequin from JCPenney who has been magically brought to life by a bunch of children with an enchanted cheap suit.

7:53 Megyn Kelly's shade has been on-point tonight. It's a shame that she's on Fox News because if she was cool EVERY GAY MAN ON THE PLANET would want to get brunch with her.

7:56 Rand Paul's closing argument is about how he did some eye surgery over Christmas. Merry Chrismas Rand! Here's an eyeball for you to poke with a stick.

7:57 Ben Carson's closing argument is simply RECITING THE PREAMBLE OF THE CONSTITUTION, oh my God. I wonder if he knows, of if he just assumes his speechwriter put those words together.

8:00 And we're done! Megyn Kelly says that was a "debate for the ages," by which I think she means that only old people watched. Goodnight everyone!