09.23.11 3:27 AM ET
Lots of Noise, Little Movement
Of course the obvious winner of Thursday night’s GOP debate was James Spader. It is hard to imagine anyone (besides me and some other sadsack political junkies) not turning immediately to The Office after the first few minutes of tonight’s uneventful, technoweird, same old same old debate.
Yet again the evening was Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and the rest. Nobody else made a dent in the existing dynamic (with the possible exception of Jon Huntsman’s electric yellow tie). For the most part, a lot of the candidates seemed to have been asleep. I did learn Herman Cain had cancer, but from Fox News panelist Chris Wallace, not from Mr. Cain, who remains stubbornly determined to divulge nothing about himself while seeking our votes. Even Ron Paul was a dull version of himself. And in case anyone wondered, yes, everyone still thinks President Obama is a socialist. Worse yet the candidates had to contend with distracting new gimmicks, like Google “word clouds," video questions from random nobodies across America, and an annoying time-keeping bell that sounded like a computer that had been left on too long. Why can't we have a debate where, oh I don’t know, panelists just asked questions?
So did Romney knock out Perry? Nope. Did Perry ruin Romney? Nope. Does anything else matter? Nope. (Although there was one chilling moment last night when we had to face the prospect of Perry selecting Herman Cain’s severed head as his running mate.)
Someday we all might come to the conclusion that these debates need to be reimagined. Case in point: my absolute favorite moment of the debate, when the candidates were given an entire 30 seconds to explain how they were going to turn America around. (All I can remember is that Gary Johnson said something funny about dogs.)
Maybe things will go better next time. But who are we kidding?