What fun. After the New Hampshire primary, it’s no longer necessary to watch “Saturday Night Live” for political satire; both Republican and Democratic candidates are providing all the laughs we need.
Last Saturday night, for instance, the stand-up comedy routine began with the announcer intoning that “Tonight, on the eve of Super Bowl 50, we present the Republican presidential debate!”
The conjunction of football and politics seemed a bit bizarre, but before the evening was over, it proved apt.
First, Chris Christie verbally tackled Marco Rubio and took him to the ground with the accusation that the only thing he’s good at is repeating canned talking points. Rubio proceeded to prove the point by doing just that, and finished in fifth place in New Hampshire. But Christie finished sixth and dropped out of the race.
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The scoring in this game is a bit different than football.
Ben Carson committed a personal foul by whining about not being called to the stage in the order they’d used during rehearsal. Really Ben? In a debate filled with behavior and rhetoric that only a campaign staffer would call presidential, that took the cake.
Fear and loathing was the order of the day, but for those with a sense of humor, it was the kind of fear and loathing we might experience at a good zombie movie. Immigrants, of course, were the first in line in this parade of scariness, but Ted Cruz assured the crowd he had a plan: “11 pages, single spaced.”
Single spaced! That’s reassuring.
ISIS fell to second place behind immigrants in the fear-and-loathing sweepstakes, but nonetheless, Cruz and Donald Trump vied for who would water-board the most terrorists. By Sunday, Trump was saying “We live in medieval times,” and he would do “a hell of a lot worse” than water-boarding. This might make even Dick Cheney cringe.
In the end, Trump stood victorious in New Hampshire as all the other Republican candidates shot each other down.
On the Democratic side, feminist icon and Hillary Clinton supporter Gloria Steinem — who once went undercover to work as a Playboy bunny for an article she wrote — gave the world’s lamest explanation for why young women weren’t on the Clinton bandwagon.
“When you’re young, you’re thinking: ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie (Sanders),’ ” Steinem said.
For this insult to the intelligence of an entire generation of women, she later fake-apologized and said she “misspoke.” That word “misspoke” is what passes now for “I screwed up so badly I should hang my head in shame and never speak in public again.”
Still, there are some silver linings in this year’s parody of a presidential campaign.
One is that supporters of Jeb Bush spent $17.7 million on attack ads in New Hampshire and still came in fourth, with only 11 percent of the vote. All the 1-percenters who’ve shoveled millions into his super-PAC must be pretty peeved.
Republican John Kasich, who has campaigned with a more moderate, positive message, finished second behind Trump in New Hampshire.
Another ray of hope is we still have 9 1/2 months and 48 state primaries or caucuses between now and Election Day.
At some point satire may return to the professional satirists, and a real presidential campaign might begin.