The Detroit Republican debate starring Donald Trump, Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, and Gov. John Kasich was short on policy, long on sniping. Nobody was pulling punches when it came to attacking endless frontrunner Trump, even faux nice guy Kasich who was just full of emotions. Kasich wants us to stop fighting, be an adult like him and start a new war with Russia.

Most importantly, though, Donald Trump finally responded to the joke Rubio made at a Virginia rally about small hands meaning small you know. Trump assured the American people “there’s no problem” there. The frontrunner for the Republican nomination heavily implied his penis is large enough on Thursday, and it wasn’t nearly as shocking as it could or should have been. Mostly because Trump delivered the line with the exact same vague confidence that he does when speaking of America’s need to be great again.

In turn, Cruz enjoyed condescending to Trump, and it was fun to see him tell the pruny real estate mogul to “breathe” and count instead of interrupting. Petulant is a demeanor that fits Cruz and his pointy face a little too well. Rubio made a related quip about yoga, which made him look like a human being.

Probably the feeling was mutual.

Oh, right, policy. There was a great deal of talk about foreign policy, during which Donald Trump managed to advocate for torture, forcing troops to follow potentially unlawful orders, and for more peaceful foreign dealings at the same time. Cruz had a weird, gross thing on his face for a while, but then he ate it. Everybody wanted to bomb at least a little bit and accept gay people in an extremely limited sort of way. Cruz managed to sidestep a question about whether he supported gay couples being allowed to adopt by saying that it was a state’s rights issue.

Now, not everything makes Trump feel as confident as his penis or America’s potential to win again. He was once again faced off with his arch nemesis Megyn Kelly who was her usual hard-ass self.

Much was made of Trump’s reported off-the-record talk with New York Times publishers, in which he purportedly said he didn’t really mean some of that anti-immigration stuff. Cruz and Rubio hammered Trump again and again on his failed business ventures, including the class action-provoking Trump University, and he started to look sweaty and more rattled than usual. However, at the end of it all, he managed to talk himself out of most traps set for him, just like a real politician with a real shot at the Oval Office does. In short, he learned to flip-flop.

After this two-hour slap-fest, every candidate agreed to endorse whomever the GOP actually selects as its man. Even if that happens to be Trump, all three - Rubio, Cruz and Kasich - promised to bite their lips and say yes.

If there weren’t actual consequences to this unhinged medicine show, it would be so easy to buy a bottle of snake oil, drink up and enjoy the burning sensation. The great theater almost makes the poison worthwhile, except that it doesn’t.

Lucy Steigerwald is a contributing editor for Twitter: @lucystag.

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