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A quick overview of last night’s Republican debate in Arizona. Mitt Romney is the sane person who has to play crazy to try and convince the base that he’s one of them. Something he hasn’t been able to accomplish in 5 years of running for president, but he keeps trying. Rick Santorum knows his crazy appeals to the base but he has to try and appear sane for anyone outside the rabid right-wing who might be tuning in. Newt Gingrich has had his day in the sun and is now back to the bomb-throwing Newt of old, like calling President Obama the “most dangerous president on national security grounds in American history,” and Ron Paul is…well, Ron Paul. Admiral Stockdale version 2.0.

Obviously the Romney campaign had the hall packed with their supporters. Everything he said got a standing ovation. Romney also had the best non-response response of the night when moderator John King asked all the candidates what was the most popular misconception about themselves. Romney launched into his boilerplate campaign stump speech, “ make America strong,” “fundamental change in Washington,” blah blah blah. When King tried to bring him back to the original question Romney went Sarah Palin:

“[Y]ou ask the questions you want– I give the answers I want.”

But the best take I’ve seen this morning comes from Andrew Sullivan:

“It’s like an etch-a-sketch party. Shake it one election cycle – and the past disappears completely!”

Hammer. Nail. Bam. Republicans can’t shake their fixation on solutions which are proven failures. Like tax cuts equals economic growth and prosperity for all. Keep lowering taxes on the so-called job creators and somehow the supply-side fairy will come and sprinkle trickle-down pixie dust on everyone else. Never mind that we have 30 years of evidence to the contrary. Romney released another tax cut plan yesterday, because the first one wasn’t big enough, which will cost 4 times what the Bush cuts did and by some slight-of-hand not increase the deficit.

Like get the gub’mint out of the way, cut regulations, and let the unfettered free market work. Never mind that lack of proper regulation and letting Wall Street run free is what led to the near-collapse of our entire system in 2008.

Like beating the war drums with the threat of imminent nuclear attack from Iran. Gingrich was the lead drummer last night:

“Everybody needs to understand, and by the way, we live in an age when we have to generally worry about nuclear weapons going off in our own cities. So everyone who serves in the fire department, the police department, not just the first responders but our National Guard, whoever’s going to respond, all of us are more at risk today, men and women, boys and girls, than at any time in the history of this country.”

That all sound very familiar. Never mind that it cost us a trillion dollars and 4400 dead Americans the first time we were sold that line, and that it is just as much a fabricated claim now as it was in 2003. The etch-a-sketch has been shaken since then.

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