Monday night's GOP debate started off in "fine reality show style," noted Jon Stewart last night, offering up as proof a clip of CNN's opening, in which the network actually assigned each candidate a title. (Mitt Romney is "the early frontrunner," Rick Perry "the newcomer," Michele Bachmann "the firebrand" ... you get the idea.) You'd think that would have been enough, but Wolf Blitzer then went on to enthusiastically introduce each candidate again—all while ensconced inside a debate set that "looks like the inside of Betsy Ross' vagina," Stewart groaned. "We get it! Everyone there loves America."
And the pageantry didn't end for a while: During the National Anthem, as the candidates posed earnestly, Rick Perry got a chance to do his best impersonation of a "patriotic collectable from the Franklin Mint." Then, the candidates were asked to keep their introductions brief: "So out of all the things we've seen so far on CNN—the Donald Trump Apprentice-like open, the New York Knicks-style candidate introductions, and the singing lady—the one area you can justify trimming is ... the candidates talking? Because God forbid your 24-hour network goes long and cuts into Piers Morgan talking to Liza Minnelli's authorized biographer."