The Obligatory GOP Debate Overhype Post
posted at 12:50 pm on September 7, 2011 by Karl
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.