It's really early in the cycle but there is no mistaking that the 2012 Presidential Election season is upon us, especially given the amount of coverage the media has been devoting to the early Republican debates.
I only really catch what NPR has to say about them in the mornings, and last night's debate seems to have been quite the debacle at times. The level of discourse and the adherence to facts displayed by the candidates are astonishingly low (not that I was expecting much). The coup de grace was definitely delivered (if you can call it that) when Rick Perry stumbled his way through what I think was supposed to be an attack on Mitt Romney as a flip-flopper...
Unbelievably that transcript makes it sound better than it was, you can listen to the sequence here (it starts about the 2:40 mark) and somewhere there is sure to be video but I haven't looked for it. The transcript comes from this NPR blog piece.I think Americans just don't know sometimes which Mitt Romney they're dealing with. Is it the Mitt Romney that was on the side of — against the Second Amendment before he was for the Second Amendment? Was it — was before — he was before the social programs from the standpoint of — he was for standing up for Roe versus Wade before he was against first — Roe versus Wade? Him — he was for Race to the Top. He's for "Obamacare" and now he's against it. I mean, we'll wait until tomorrow and — and — and see which Mitt Romney we're really talking to tonight.
Also worth noting (as others have) that the crowds at these Republican debates have been cheering and jeering for some pretty embarrassing things; cheering executions and letting the uninsured die, and booing an active duty soldier in Iraq (just wow on that last one). Not that everyone who is a Republican agrees with the folks doing the yelling but it's still ugly and at the very least it means that this nastiness is a piece of what the Republican party base believes in these days.
It's gonna be a looong election cycle...
Prompted by Greg Sargent, I want to add that the real problem and travesty isn't the way the crowds (or individuals in them) have been acting but the ways in which the candidates have reacted.