I just read this piece on Talking Points Memo about the latest public display of ignorance at a Republican debate and it got me thinking about the benefit of live debates and the public behavior they often capture.
Used to be that debates captured shit like President Nixon sweating out his nerves or President Bush the 1st looking bored as hell and checking his watch.
But in recent years debates have become televised shows where a bunch of people wait for their chance to toss in a quotable zinger that they hope will give them an edge…and trust a bitch when I say that these people practice the zingers like a tennis player practices her serve.
The result is boring as hell if watched live and only sorta-interesting if consumed in sound bite form.
With one notable exception – the natural reactions from the audience.
Back in the day, GOP minions worked their asses off to make sure audiences were packed with loyalty oath screened folks who presented a positive frame for the party to showcase their candidates and eventual nominee.
As Evan McMorris-Santoro points out in his TPM post, the GOP debates have turned into Home Training Fail case studies. GOP debate audiences have enthusiastically cheered the fact that Texas has executed 234 people while Rick Perry has been Governor and screamed their support of allowing a hypothetical uninsured cancer victim to rot and die.
And now we have GOP audience members booing a soldier currently serving in Iraq because he is gay and asked a question about Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
My people call that disgraceful.
My first thought was that the GOP minions have lost their touch and that clearly they have not been screening audience members they way they used to.
But then I gave this outbreak of boorish GOP audience behavior some additional thought…and I cruised through some websites and blogs favored by those who adore tea, where I noted that contributor and comment-makers were thrilled by these outbursts…and it occurred to me that the GOP may be letting the audience send a message to the base that they don’t want their nominee sending lest she or he disgust the rest of the electorate.
Kind of like leaving a massive rock proclaiming “Niggerhead”out in front of your hunting lodge sends one message while appointing Texas' first black Chief Justice of the Supreme Court sends another.