Green Room

The Obligatory GOP Debate Overhype Post

posted at 12:50 pm on September 7, 2011 by

The Week neatly rounds up all the conventional wisdom you need about tonight’s GOP presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. Viewers will get their first real look at the putative frontrunner, Rick Perry, an infrequent but reportedly solid debater. Perry will come under rhetorical fire from chief rival Mitt Romney, as well as those who want the NotRomney slot, e.g., Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul. After all, these candidates will not want to “pull a Pawlenty’ by backing away from their offstage critiques of Perry. Jon Huntsman will likely target Romney also, although any buzz he got from his tax plan may evaporate with the news that he has a touch of laryngitis. All concerned will have nice things to say about Reagan while at his library.

However, if no one pulls a Pawlenty, folks ought to watch solely for the entertainment value, if any. As political scientitsts John Sides and Brendan Nyhan will tell you, a presidential candidate who hopes to change the dynamic of a campaign in a debate is likely to fail. Candidates will spin their performances and those of their rivals. Much of the establsihment media — and the blogosphere — will pretend it matters, because they have space to fill. Absent the unforeseen, I will have a difficult time getting worked up over it. This is why I am a bad blogger.

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Another question is how long can NBC News and Politico hold off the inevitable “please bash Sarah Palin now” questions?

You know they will do it.

Brian1972 on September 7, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Those will likely come after the obligatory Darwin questions.

Karl on September 7, 2011 at 1:24 PM

Im aching to know if any of the candidates switches from Coke to Pepsi or briefs to boxers since the last debate. Does Perry prefer hand-tossed or thin-n-crispy? I make my primary decision based on this vital information.

Jeddite on September 7, 2011 at 1:25 PM

I guess Karl is right, but frankly, it’s going to do my heart good to watch a group of Republican leaders giving real answers, in the Reagan Library.

J.E. Dyer on September 7, 2011 at 6:24 PM