GOOD

Who Really Won the GOP Debate? That Airplane.

Did a decommissioned Air Force One come across as more presidential than a stage full of actual candidates?

Wednesday night’s GOP presidential debate was full of high drama and–if we’re being honest here– relatively low impact. After a marathon three hour session designed to pit candidate against candidate, none of the participants could rightfully claim a decisive debate victory, much less establish themselves as an uncontested front runner for the Republican presidential nomination. Yes, Carly Fiorina had a very good night, and sure, Trump-mania may finally be showing signs of dying down, but when all is said and done, the Republican party still has a long way to go before their presidential aspirations come into sharp focus.


However, if absolutely forced to pick a single, stand-out star of Wednesday’s debate, why limit ourselves to the eleven candidates standing on the CNN stage? In fact, after careful consideration, it seems clear that the debate’s *true* winner wasn’t a candidate at all. Instead, it was the Boeing VC-137C (call sign: “SAM 27000”)–a customized version of the company’s commercial 707 airplane model–which stood behind the assembled debaters throughout the night, providing a sufficiently executive backdrop for the entirely of their time on camera.

image via youtube screen capture

Currently on display at the Ronald Reagan Library, where Wednesday’s debates were held, the plane, which flew multiple commanders-in-chief as their Air Force One (a designation which only applies when presidents are on-board), not only Left Shark-ed the whole evening, but ultimately came across as more presidential than nearly all the assembled candidates combined. Here, then, are five reasons why SAM 27000 definitively, absolutely, unquestionably won the second GOP primary debate:

It was the only debate attendee with an extensive track record of presidential experience: From 1973 to until its decommissioning in 2001, SAM 27000 operated as the mobile Oval Office for seven presidents, from Nixon to George W. Bush. With nearly thirty years in active presidential service, the plane has more Executive Branch experience at the Federal level than the entire GOP (as well as the Democratic) field.

It’s played an active role in crucial geopolitical events: As was mentioned many times over the course of the evening: Track records matter. And while each candidate on the debate stage has their own list of accomplishments about which they can brag, as well as must defend, nearly all pale in comparison to the global events in which SAM 27000 has played a crucial role. In an almost Zelig-like fashion, the plane can be found in proximity to any number of crucial historical moments: From shuttling former President carter to welcome home the 52 American hostages released from Iran, to carrying Ronald Reagan to and from his historic summits with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, during which he famously exclaimed “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

It’s entirely bipartisan: While most associated with President Ronald Reagan, for whom it flew over six hundred thousand miles, SAM 27000 served as Air Force One under both Republican and Democratic administrations. In an era in which political divisiveness seems to have reached a fever pitch, SAM 27000 has demonstrated an ability to reach across the aisle, do what needs to be done, and go where it needs to go, regardless of party affiliation. It’s the sort of optimistic, inclusive spirit which the other debate participants seemed to lack.

It looked great on Television: Yes, presidential elections are not beauty contests, but ever since the infamously telegenic JFK walloped a sallow and sickly looking Richard Nixon in the first-ever televised presidential debates, it’s been an inescapable fact of politics: Looking good on TV can only help a campaign. While Wednesday night’s debaters all looked prim, proper, and ready for primetime, it was the SAM 27000 which dazzled television viewers. With 40+ yards of polished metal, and traditional blue and white coloring, SAM 27000 not only dominated the debate arena, but was present in nearly every televised shot, ensuring it more screen time than all the other candidates, combined. And people definitely noticed:

image via twitter / athenacnn

image via twitter / ericgeller

image via twitter / alcivar

It kept above the fray: Much of last night’s three hour (!) debate was spent watching candidates snipe back and forth over everything from smoking pot to whether or not vaccines cause autism (C’mon, seriously? No, they don’t.) Through it all, nearly ever participant had their turn to look petty, clueless, mean, or simply out of the league. SAM 27000, on the other hand, kept quiet, and stayed away from the oftentimes rancorous back-and-forths between candidates. “Sure,” you might say, “but airplanes can’t talk in general.” True, I like to think that even if they could, SAM 27000 would have chosen discretion as the better part of valor, letting actions and stature, rather than talking points, make its case.

Of course, no matter how accomplished or credentialed an airplane might be, it will never truly “win” a presidential debate. It is, after all, just an airplane. Still, in an election cycle where a medical doctor fails refute quack science suggesting a link between autism and vaccinations, or when a leading candidate suggests putting another country’s head of state on American currency, well...never say never.

Articles
Ottawa Humane Society / Flickr

The Trump Administration won't be remembered for being kind to animals.

In 2018, it launched a new effort to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska that had been outlawed under Obama. Hunters will be able to shoot hibernating bear cubs, murder wolf and coyote cubs while in their dens, and use dogs to hunt black bears.

Efforts to end animal cruelty by the USDA have been curtailed as well. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the USDA issued 4,944 animal welfare citations, in two years the numbers dropped to just 1,716.

Keep Reading Show less
Science
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
test
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less
Health