So the eleventy-billionth — and presumably final — GOP candidate debate was held in Mesa, Arizona last night, six days before the critical Michigan and Arizona primaries and thirteen days before the all-important Super Tuesday elections on March 6.

I didn’t see it, thankfully, but reading about it and watching Lawrence O’Donnell afterward, I came to the conclusion that I was never so happy to be sitting through an hour-long Analytical Chemistry exam in my life as I was last night.

Roger Simon (I know, Politico, right-wing hackery, yadda yadda…just let me say this…exactly) summed it up better than anyone yet…“One word sums it up: desultory. Which Google tells us means “lacking a plan, purpose, or enthusiasm.”” He goes on to say that he would have been thrilled with any one of the three, but sadly, none ever surfaced.

Now, I could go find all sorts of “insightful analysis” and waste a whole bunch of electrons quoting multiple sources, but why bother? It was the twentieth one of these god-damned things and nothing new was said. Not during the freakshow, and not afterward either. It has literally all been said before. Ad nauseum.

The whole republican enterprise at this time boils down to one central tenet, and beyond that they got nuthin’…they hate President Obama, and they want to defeat him in November at any cost. That’s it. That’s their beginning and their end and there is no middle.

And that’s what puts the GOP squarely on the horns of a dilemma. The rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth hatred of President Obama that they have to put on display for the base to get their votes in the primaries is exactly what they have to avoid to keep from alienating the wide middle that is horrified by that sort of over-the-top rhetoric and tell pollsters over and over again that they hate politics because of behavior like that.

When the dust settles, the American people know that they have one hope and one hope only for victory in November: The economy has to tank. Catastrophically. They won’t come right out and say that, but it’s common knowledge to everyone watching that has more than two active neurons to rub together. They know that some of the things that the GOP is screaming about and calling tyranny and socialism have delivered direct benefits, if not to themselves to someone they know.

The one bright spot was Rick Santorum and his dominionist, authoritarian threat to the very fabric of our republic, getting set back on his heels a little bit, because that guy scares me witless.