The metropolitan region of Las Vegas, Nevada, has suffered economic collapse more brutal than anywhere following the bursting of the housing bubble. Eighty percent of homeowners are underwater on their mortgages in some parts of the city. It suffers from worse unemployment than any other major metropolitan region in the country. And now, worst of all, the city will have to host a bunch of assholes running for president in tonight's 432nd GOP presidential debate since Labor Day. Who will "win"? The rich guy always wins.

Other important concerns going into tonight's desert squatfest, which airs on CNN at 8pm:

  • Will Mitt Romney attack new frontrunner Herman Cain, even if that makes him a racist? Probably not, because Mitt Romney doesn't give a shit about Herman Cain.
  • Jon Huntsman won't be at tonight's debate and no longer plans to contest either the Nevada or Iowa caucuses, over campaign cash concerns as well as a total lack of interest in his candidacy from the Republican electorate. Sad. How does CNN plan to keep viewers excited without Jon Huntsman there to say something calm and reasonable about preserving baseline levels of scientific research funding? Looks like the burden of charisma falls heavily on Rick Santorum tonight.
  • CNN, the world's lamest television channel, is hosting a presidential debate in Las Vegas. Quick — what does this mean? Patronizingly cheesy gambling jokes at every turn, is what it means! Lord knows what schmaltzy derpa-derp theme we'll get for the lightning round at the end. "I want each candidate to pretend to be a gambler, since we're in Las Vegas," the insufferable moderator will crack. "If you were President, and you were gambling what game would you gamble on? Because we're in Las Vegas, again, for the viewers at home. What sort of gambles will you make? When will you roll the dice and when will you fold? This is Las Vegas, after all, which is famous for gambling. So let's gamble ourselves and pass the dice over to Newt Gingrich first, he's a high roller - a-ha! — to answer our Las Vegas gambling question. Newt? Gambling? Dice? Rolling? Sand? Cards? Black Jack? Craps? We're in the city of Las Vegas. Newt, say any word." You know, something like that.
  • Will Rick Perry roll the dice and not fall asleep this time? Really, he might just be better off folding and taking a nap until everything's over.
  • You think I'm going over the top with CNN's penchant for excruciatingly flat wordplay? I just went to, and here's the fucking headline, top-left: "BLITZER'S BLOG: At tonight's debate, what happens in Vegas won't stay in Vegas." Further illumination in the closing paragraph: "In short, it will be lively on the Las Vegas Strip tonight. And at the debate, what happens in Vegas won't stay in Vegas. The whole world will be watching on CNN." It would be great if there were a Net Nanny-type program but all it did was block BLITZER'S BLOG.

The stakes are high! The aces are high too! There will perhaps be a royal flush tonight, of politics!

[Image of Mitt Romney preparing today with some sort of monster dance via Getty]