Dishing on the Debate

David Russell Beach
2 min readAug 24, 2023

August 24, 2023

I had a dream last night. I first encountered Ron DeSantis on a train, and then again in a long line at an Italian restaurant. He wasn’t really pugilistic, just a screamer. I attempted rationalization, but any parent knows you can’t be rational with a screaming toddler. Eventually, I just pushed him away, and he evaporated. A nice fantasy. We have some more screams piercing our ears in the months to come.

Then there’s Vivek Ramaswamy. (Besides the former president, he reminded me of two people I know but will protect their identities to avoid retaliation.) What? Was he auditioning to be Trump’s running mate? “I’m the only person on the stage who isn’t bought and paid for.” “The only war that I will declare…is the war on the federal administrative state.” “The U.S.S.R. does not exist anymore.” Chris Christie aptly compared him to ChatGPT, spitting out fast answers that don’t always make sense.

Chris Christie. He’s on a hero’s journey, and now he’s in the third act. October 31, 2012, days after Hurricane Sandy and just days before that year’s election, he lauded Obama, even hugged him, when Obama helped New Jersey. That didn’t clinch the win for the Democrats, but it didn’t help Mitt Romney, and the conservative establishment snubbed Christie for a while until the 2016 election when he was a key orchestrator in Trump’s nomination. After January 6, 2021, Christie spurned Trump, supporting the Constitution. Now, he’s in a crowded field of contenders for the GOP nomination. Last night, he stood by the Constitution. He was booed and heckled. But he pushed back: “Booing is allowed, but it doesn’t change the truth.”

Poor Mike Pence. He did the right thing and was booed. It does not change the truth.

Asa Hutchinson could have been my grandfather. Mature, steady, thoughtful, a kind smile. A modern Reagan. His text-for-pay campaign to get him on last night’s stage is distasteful. Going into last night’s debate, I thought, “I could live with him.” He may be the first to fall.

North Dakota governor Doug Burgum. Whenever I watched the pageants (before I stopped watching because of all the issues around them), I’d cheer for Miss North Dakota in the parade of states since that would be the only time we’d see her. (NB: Cara Mund, Miss North Dakota, was crowned Miss America 2018, so I stand corrected.) Yay Doug Burgum!!

When Tim Scott started speaking, I thought of Lea Michele. How many times in my life do I have to hear her sing “Don’t Rain on My Parade”? (Once was enough.) How many times do we have to hear about Scott being raised in a poor, single parent household?

Nikki Haley summoned the spirit of Thatcher and leaned into her gender with “If you want something done, ask a woman.” Clashed with Pence over abortion. Chastised Ramaswamy on his lack of foreign policy experience. Said her old boss added $8 trillion to the debt. You go, Girl! Shantay, you stay.

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David Russell Beach

David Beach is playwright/writer, director, dramaturg, and educator. He holds a PhD in education and an MFA in playwriting, and is a professor at Radford U.