Fred Thompson won yesterday’s Republican debate. No, Mike Huckabee “shined” in an otherwise lackluster event. But it is really a battle of the plutocrats versus the theocrats in which the future of the Republican Party will be decided. And the bull goose loonies had their say with the magical appearance of Alan Keyes, who would replace the present Constitution with a new one that would preserve life to the point that women would have to report their menstrual cycles as another lost opportunity to raise another taxpayer and soldier. And because the forum was yet just one more opportunity to get these guys together to chant their talking points and prove that the Writers Guild strike needs to be settled now to save us from further plumbing of the depths of banality, everybody on stage and in the spin room turned their wrath on the moderator, Carolyn Washburn of the Des Moines Register, who could be heard to mutter “sheesh” after one of Alan Keyes’s incoherent rants. Michelle Malkin dubbed her “the schoolmarm,” and Fred Barnes of Fox compared her to Nurse Ratched. Hey, she couldn’t help it if the stage was crowded with rejects from the casting call of the new reality show Who Wants to Be a Pompous, Arrogant, Homophobic Bigot?
These debates long ago stopped being about the real issues at stake and are now seen as some sort of Rohrshach test of the pundits’ current favorites so they can go on cable TV and get some face time with Chris, Keith, Tucker, and Billo. I’d bet five bucks that not one voter in Iowa — or anywhere else, for that matter — changed their minds about who they’d caucus for on January 3 based on yesterday’s debate or even paid attention to it other than flipping past it on the news shows. That leaves pundits to read the tea leaves and for bloggers — including yours truly — to mock them.
Today the Democrats go at it and we get another chance to see if Obama is up or Clinton is down, and who is just tipping over.