As I mentioned before, I didn’t go. To the GOP debate in Greenville, that is. And I didn’t even think to watch it on TV last night (was it even on live? I wouldn’t know). When I got home from the Five Points event, the fam was watching a 1944 musical comedy called “Bathing Beauty,” starring Red Skelton, Esther Williams, Basil Rathbone, Xavier Cugat and Harry James and his orchestra. Which caused me to realize something: When he was young, Red Skelton looked a lot like Conan O’Brien.
Anyway, I read the stories about the debate in The State today — this one and this one — and didn’t get the sense that I missed anything at all.
But perhaps some of my readers DID see it, and were impressed by something or other. If so, this would be a good time to share.
I’m sure it wasn’t as bad as this guy says:
Hollywood is reportedly at work on a remake of the 1991 film “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead.” This, however, is unnecessary, because a remake is already playing. It’s called the Republican presidential primary.
In the original, a mom leaves her kids with a babysitter for three months, but after the babysitter dies of a heart attack, the children fend for themselves for the summer.
The GOP nominating contest so far follows a very similar plot. With the grown-ups (played by Jeb Bush and Mitch Daniels) out of town, the field has been left in the custody of caretakers (played by Mitt Romney, Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich). When even the babysitters fail to show up at the first debate of the season, the juveniles run the thing themselves.
At Thursday night’s debate in South Carolina, Libertarian Rep. Ron Paul explained why heroin and prostitution should be legal and why the Department of Homeland Security should be eliminated…
As I said, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t that bad. But… I don’t seem to have missed anything. There IS quite a bit of excitement among Ron Paul fans, partly because they’re always excited (which is why I put him in the headline — that’s always good for about 1,000 page views), and partly because apparently no one at the debate offered him any competition in attention-grabbing.
Bottom line, what’s going on here is… nothing. You might see some activity at some point in the future among some Republicans who, if they gain the nomination, just might have a chance of giving Barack “Hey, I Just Killed bin Laden” Obama a run for his money, but none of them were going to poke their heads out this week.
And I’m not going to bet that this ever gets competitive, with serious candidates really running hard. At least, not soon. (Which is a shame because, you know, I’d like to get some of those ad bucks here on the blog.)
The contrast to four years ago is palpable. In May 2007, there was a GOP presidential debate here in Columbia, and while I didn’t actually go to that one, either, I did watch it on TV. I watched it in a bar with Bob McAlister. The reason we were in the bar was that John McCain was supposed to show up there after. He did, and that’s when I shot my most popular candidate video ever — the one that has been viewed 62,671 times on YouTube — the one in which McCain refers to Lindsey Graham as “that little jerk.”
There were enough actual contenders for the nomination there that Ron Paul, while he attracted attention, was regarded as a curiosity, as the outlier he is. Not this time. Did you see that Rep. Paul had again raised a boatload of money? Don’t know exactly what he plans to do with it. Surely not even he believes he is ever likely to be president of the United States. I suppose it will be like last time — lots of posters and such, not all that many voters beyond the passionate core, who are sort of doing their own thing. Perhaps Doug can explain it to us…