The big question is: now the debates don’t matter? For months, all we heard was that debates were the best way to select our candidates. On that basis, we ousted Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. Now debates have taken a backseat to basic campaigning.
(H/T: Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt) Actually, some people have been pushing back for some time on the idea that debates were the end-all and be-all of the process. I think that the original impulse to promote the idea of “all debates, all the time,” while understandable, was based on the surprisingly popular misconception that Barack Obama was particularly good at debating. He’s frankly not; the man talks too long, rambles too much, doesn’t react quickly enough to opportunities, and – most importantly – doesn’t really realize that he has these problems. A competent rhetorician would have demolished Obama in the last election; I personally regret that we couldn’t have swapped slots and sent in Palin after Obama. Obama would reacted perfectly… from my point of view. So I wasn’t exactly looking for a perfect debater. Just one who do better in debates than McCain did.
Plus, the damned things have long since devolved into soul-destroying, interminable monstrosities of pure ennui.
Anyway, I will leave it to my readers to determine for themselves whether the aforementioned collective Republican stance on debates has left us in an optimal position with regard to our candidates. After all, after a certain point you have to go to war with the armies that you have…