The American Debate: A quiz on 2011's politics of the absurd

Posted: December 18, 2011

Was 2011 wacky, or what? See what you remember, and no fair peeking at the answers!

1. Donald "The Donald" Trump, commander in chief of Celebrity Apprentice, said that if he ran against Barack Obama, "there's a good chance I won't win." He said that he would be victimized by:

a. "A mystery president who was weaned on dirty tricks as a child in Kenya."

b. "Bloodsucking politicians."

c. "A stupid, stupid cabal of wimps who wouldn't last a day in the casino business."

d. "Bloodsuckers and their celebrity acolytes, like Robert DeNiro, who's not the brightest bulb on the planet."

2. An Obama flip-flop, true or false:

In 2010, he opposed anonymous campaign donations, but in 2011, he has stayed mum while his Democratic allies have taken anonymous campaign donations.

3. Rick Perry told Parade magazine, "Yes, ma'am, right in the shoulder." Which of these references is correct?

a. A flesh wound he received while flying an Air Force plane during the '70s.

b. A serious wound he inflicted when he shot a burglar with a .357 Magnum.

c. A fatal wound he inflicted on a coyote that he shot while jogging with a .380 Ruger.

d. A stab of pain he felt while trying to remember which federal agencies he wanted to kill.

4. Newt Gingrich told a Christian broadcasting network that his serial adulteries were:

a. "A lot more inexpensive than shopping at Tiffany's."

b. "A welcome break from worrying about the profound existential threat of Islamic fundamentalism."

c. "An inexcusable opportunity to not think about the science of cyber warfare."

d. "Partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country."

5. An Obama flip-flop, true or false:

Even though his health-care-reform law requires Americans to buy health coverage, and even though his government lawyers are preparing to defend the concept in the U.S. Supreme Court, he actually opposed the concept during the '08 campaign.

6. Tea party darling Christine O'Donnell, who cost the GOP a winnable Senate seat last year in Delaware, has resurfaced with a ringing endorsement of Mitt Romney. Which statement is correct?

a. "He's been consistent since he changed his mind."

b. "I'm not a witch, and neither are his Mormons."

c. "He's as deeply knowledgeable about the Constitution as I am."

d. "I would tea-party with Mitt anytime."

e. All of the above, except b.

7. Someone stood at a lectern this year and said, "If you are looking for any deep explanation, I don't have one." Name the politician.

a. Congressman Christopher Lee, on his decision to send shirtless photos of his manly chest to a woman he'd met on Craigslist.

b. Sen. John Ensign, on his decision to sleep with an aide's wife and then have his dad pay $100,000 to the cuckolded aide.

c. Sen. Harry Reid, on his DOA proposal to ban prostitution in the libertine state of Nevada.

d. Congressman Anthony Weiner, on his decision to tweet photos of his crotch to women he'd never met.

8. Complete this sentence with the accurate quote. Alleged Herman Cain extramarital paramour Ginger White said that, during sex with the pizza mogul:

a. "He would talk incessantly about the various drafts of his 9-9-9 plan."

b. "We would playfully debate the pros and cons of deep dish vs. thin crust."

c. "I was telling myself, 'This was immoral behavior for the future leader of the free world.' "

d. "I was looking up at the ceiling, thinking about, 'What am I going to buy at the grocery store tomorrow?' "

9. An Obama flip-flop, true or false:

During the '08 campaign, Obama said he was fine with state legalization of medical marijuana ("I'm not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws"), but now his Justice Department is saying that "commercial marijuana operations are illegal under federal law, and we will enforce federal law."

10. Which of these falsehoods was uttered by Michele Bachmann?

a. The first shots of the American Revolution were fired in New Hampshire. (It was Massachusetts.)

b. Founding father John Quincy Adams worked tirelessly to end slavery. (He was a college kid in Boston when the nation was founded in Philadelphia - and the founding document preserved slavery.)

c. The popular HPV vaccine causes mental retardation. (There has not been a single case.)

d. Paul Revere rode at midnight to warn the British. (He rode to warn the Americans.)

e. All of the above, except Revere.

f. All of the above.

11. True or false: Jon Corzine, whose MF Global investment firm recently collapsed, is only the second ex-senator in history to be hauled in front of his former colleagues, via a subpoena.

12. Mitt Romney said recently that he once told a landscaping company not to hire any "illegals" to work on his Massachusetts lawn, because:

a. "I'm running for office, for Pete's sake."

b. "I have a net worth of $200 million, and it would look bad."

c. "I bet my neighbor 10,000 bucks that I would enforce the law."

d. "I have made a solemn promise, unlike President Obama, never to apologize for America."

13. Sen. Jon Kyl said abortions make up "well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does." The actual figure is 3 percent. Asked to explain the discrepancy, a spokesman for the senator served up some spin. Name the real quote:

a. Kyl "trusted the 90 percent figure because he'd heard it on Fox News."

b. Kyl's Senate floor remark "was not intended to be a factual statement."

c. Kyl "loves America and resents the implication that he does not."

d. Kyl "always speaks from the heart, regardless of the left's so-called facts."

14. An Obama flip-flop, true or false:

For years, he opposed using military tribunals to prosecute terrorists, but now he supports them.

15. And finally, how did I variously describe Gingrich's presidential candidacy last spring (although not in this column)?

a. "Dead man talking."

b. "Smoking wreckage."

c. "Crash-and-burn."

d. "A shard of scorched crust."

e. All of the above.

Answers: 1. b, although Trump did say that about DeNiro; 2. True; 3. c; 4. d; 5. True; 6. a; 7. d; 8. d; 9. True; 10. e, the Revere falsehood was uttered by Sarah Palin; 11. False, Corzine is the first; 12. a; 13. b; 14. True; 15. e.


Contact columnist Dick Polman at dpolman@phillynews.com

or @dickpolman1 on Twitter.

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