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GOP Hopefuls Converge on Milwaukee for First Debate

Eight GOP hopefuls convened in Milwaukee to debate their bona fides for the Republican nomination.

Eight GOP hopefuls convened in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the Fiserv Forum, home court to the Milwaukee Bucs, to debate their bona fides for the Republican nomination for the presidential election in 2024. The usual suspects were present, including former Vice President Mike Pence, one-time governors Chris Christie, Asa Hitchinson, and Nikky Haley, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, developer of Every Body, an exclusive line of sex toys.

GOP hopefuls
GOP hopefuls converge.

Before the debate, Fox News host Jessie Waters appraised the participants, advising them to “kick Chris Christie in the teeth.” Fox anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum served as hosts and questioners, offering up more than a score of questions to the panel. The debate was presented before some 4,000 ardent Republicans, who often booed the debaters, particularly Chris Christie, for his sharp remarks about former President Donald J. Trump. The ex-president, although he qualified for attendance, did not participate in the debate.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis brought the house down with an opening remark, that the GOP should “send Joe Biden back to his basement.” 38-year-old Vivek Ramaswamy drew cheers with his remark that America could “get back on track,” financially, by “drilling, fracking, and burning coal.” Ramaswamy argued that “more people died from deflecting climate change than died from climate change.” The audience cheered wildly.

Governor DeSantis derided the late Covid crisis, pointing out that in Florida, they refused to lock down, but rather kept the schools and businesses open. When confronted by Baier with the fact that more than one million Americans died from Covid, DeSantis waxed poetic: “Into every day a little rain must fall,” he said. On day one of a DeSantis administration, he said, he would “fire Merrick Garland and throw Anthony Fouci in jail.”

Former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson boasted that during his tenure, he had reduced the workforce by fifteen percent and that as president, he would reduce the federal payroll by ten percent. At that moment, a light fixture, operated by a unionized grip, plummeted to the stage and narrowly missed the former Arkansas chief executive

On the subject of abortion, the candidates seemed to agree. “I am proud to have signed into law the ‘heartbeat bill,” claimed DeSantis; “I am a champion of life,” averred Pence; and Sen. Tim Scott joined the others in deriding Democrats for supporting “abortion up to the final day of pregnancy,” even though such procedures, numbering just 1% of abortions, were performed almost exclusively in order to save the life of the mother. “A baby’s life is worth far more than a mother’s,” remarked Pence.

On the topic of crime and homelessness there was also general agreement. Said Mike Pence: “I oppose the Democrat creed of defunding the police.” He added, “Of course, in the case of former President Trump and his 91 felony charges, I may make an exception.” He grinned stupidly.

Virtually every candidate voted to shutter the Department of Education. Vivek Ramaswamy went further, saying he’d close the FBI, the Department of Justice, the ATF, and the DOJ. “Anything anti-Trump,” said Ramaswamy, “is on the chopping block.”

At the same time, former governor Christie said he would expand the federal prison system, to “make room for more convicts.” Hunter Biden, said Christie, would under a Christie administration instantly receive a 10-year stretch in federal prison. Ramaswamy expressed support for expanded qualified immunity for police, saying that law enforcement “can’t do their job if they’re looking over their shoulders, waiting to be sued.” The police, said Ramaswamy, “must be given the option of breaking skulls” in furtherance of a safe society.”

On the subject of major crimes, DeSantis remarked that he would fight to “forestall drag exhibitions, LGBTQs reading to our children in public libraries, and the very existence of transgenders.”

Former president Donald J. Trump was discussed by these GOP hopefuls, but only briefly, and then only to a chorus of boos and catcalls from the audience.

Governor Christie said that Trump’s behavior “could not continue to be normalized.” Ramaswamy disagreed, stating that Trump was “the greatest president of the 21st century. He added that he would pardon Trump, should he “be convicted of anything. Trump,” said Ramaswamy, “purchased a hell of a lot of sex toys.”

On the subject of foreign policy, in particular the war in Ukraine, DeSantis reprised his opinion that it was a “territorial dispute,” that merits “not another nickel.” U.S. funds, said DeSantis, would be better spent “eradicating transgenders and quarantining Disney World.”

Ramaswamy concurred and added that, if elected, he would “fire Blinken, Yellen, and Nod.” He grinned stupidly.

On the issue of education, every candidate swore they would eliminate the Dept. of Education. DeSantis went further, boasting that in Florida, he had eliminated CRT, African Studies AP courses, teachers’ unions, health care for Black women, and emergency medical care for transgenders.

During the final five minutes of the program, which ran eleven minutes past the hour, a photo of Ron DeSantis, in drag at the Iowa State Fair, was revealed on the arena monitors, and bedlam ensued. Out of control, Governor DeSantis was infused by emergency personnel with animal tranquilizers and transported by ambulance to St. Lukes hospital in downtown Milwaukee.

Bill Tope
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