The GOP Debate Audience Redeems Itself?

Surprisingly, at tonight’s debate, Ron Paul drew raucous applause for condemning waterboarding — and all torture techniques — as un-American, illegal, and immoral. And Romney caught “boos” for endorsing the targeted assassination of American citizens. Is it possible that the Democratic narrative of the war on terror has finally prevailed?

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5 comments

  1. Nah. A couple hundred people in Spartanburg aren’t statistically significant. Probably just a lot of Paul-supporters around last night.

    I felt kinda bad for Huntsman, though. No one ever seems to notice that he’s the only one who really knows what he’s talking about. (Romney: “…so we’ll bring an action against China at the WTO for currency manipulation. Because that’ll show them!” – Huntsman: “I don’t think you can do that, Mitt.”)

    1. “No one ever seems to notice that he’s the only one who really knows what he’s talking about.”

      The American fourth estate is lazy and at best semi-competent. Giving Huntsman the degree of attention that would enable the public to notice he’s the only one of the media’s eight pre-selected candidates who really knows what he’s talking about would require effort on their part and that they understand the material they’re covering. Plus it would require them to drop their chosen narrative about the Republican Party since Huntsman doesn’t fit it. “All Republicans are ignorant troglodytes” doesn’t have anymore room for a non-ignorant-troglodyte like Huntsman or Johnson anymore than “All Democrats are detached intellectuals” had room for a passionate leader like Howard Dean. Which means just as the commercial news media went out of its way to destroy Dean’s candidacy it’s going to do all it can to keep Huntsman or Johnson or Paul from gaining traction or winning. That would be bad for business.

      Face it, if the media companies that run these debates had their way, every election would be John Kerry vs. Michelle Bachmann: easy ratings and they wouldn’t have to do shit in the way of actual journalism.

      1. I’m sure that’s a large part of it, although I see it as less of a conscious thing on part of the media and more a result of their emphasis on ratings as a success criterium. Rather than challenge the viewers with alternative interpretations, the media just keep producing the same thing over and over, which in turn means the viewers keep asking for the same. So there’s a self-perpetuating effect going on.

        But when you’re used to the British style of journalism, the US media also seem to be remarkably soft on the candidates, even on specialty programmes like Meet the Press. Seriously, an interview with e.g. Channel 4’s Jon Snow or the BBC Newsnight team would have any one of them weeping like little girls in two minutes at most.

      2. I don’t think it’s a purposeful slight by the media. I mean, as ever, the media just focuses on whatever can get them viewers. It’s kind of like how, Bachman recently flipped out when they were talking about ignoring her now, because she’s falling so far behind in the polls http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/14/us/politics/bachmann-says-cbs-news-e-mail-shows-bias.html I mean, she’s the Republican polar opposite of Huntsman, and it hasn’t helped her either.

        At the same time, Huntsman is clearly the Democrat’s choice out of the Republicans…so there really is no reason that he would be appealing for conservatives for the Republican primary.

        1. I’d rather say he’s the moderates’ choice – and he’s still pretty conservative on e.g. taxation, health care and abortion. So I guess one reason would be that he’d have a better chance of actually winning over the independents and thus the election.

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