First: They were a mistake. For the Republicans.
Republicans do best when they’re not speaking. They’ve been speaking quite a bit for the past six months and, as a result, Barack Obama’s approval rating keeps going up.
Another unanticipated side effect of the “talking cure,” GOP style, has been the realization by Republican voters that they don’t like any of their candidates. (This is one area of agreement we have with Republicans.) None of the candidates can seal the deal with primary voters because, to use a technical term, they suck. Everybody on their side knows it, and everybody on their side will continue to hope for a boffo candidate to come out of nowhere and assume the mantle at the last minute.
Problems with that scenario, too – the potential saviors aren’t that great, either, from that shockingly obese fella from New Jersey to the guy whose last name is Bush. (That’s how desperate they are – they keep coming back to a guy named Bush.)
The more they talk, the more they – and their audience – show the rest of us what they’re all about: racism, misogyny, homophobia, and gun-fetishism. That’s about it.
They really blew it by talking so much, and they realize the need to stop – word from Republican National Committee higher-ups has it that the debates are being shut down, and right damn fast.
Mitt Romney still has a shot at the White House, provided he stop talking extemporaneously and “control his message.”
A TV ad that “controls his message” would look something like this
Mitt Romney stands before a billowing American flag. Voice Over by Fred Thompson: “When Mitt Romney was born, gasoline was 20 cents a gallon…. With Barack Obama as president, gasoline is 5 dollars a gallon…. Vote for Mitt Romney…. Vote for 20-cent a gallon gasoline….” Fade to Black.
There you go. And now it’s time for the Great Debates to fade out, too. It was fun seeing what Republicans are all about, getting a glimpse behind the curtain. They showed us unbelievable ignorance: Bachmann, Cain, and Perry. Shocking hubris: Gingrich. And homophobic, sexually twisted weirdness we thought was limited to psychology textbooks: Santorum. And Mitt Romney. Who’s just annoying. (We are ignoring Ron Paul because every Ron Paul supporter we know tells us “He’s not really a Republican. He’s a Libertarian.” We’ve come to accept that premise, and it’s natural conclusion to not consider him in the context of a Republican primary contest.)
The “merely annoying” will probably be the best the GOP can hope for this election cycle. And if they can keep their man on-script, avoid alienating every woman voter who is still in her ovulating years, and get lucky with the economy tanking, they might still have a shot at getting close enough in the vote count to steal a couple key states.
They have a chance. But only if they shut down these debates – now.
Fade to black.