Revisiting a post that I wrote a few days back, I noted that the YouTube debate seemed to offer a fairly unfiltered encounter between candidates and The Base. If the Democratic Base was as loopy as blogosphere right seems to think it is then there should have been some cringemoments, yet yet that really didn’t happen. The guy stroking his gun creeped me out a bit, but maybe it’s just because I come from a middle class urban area where normal people don’t do that.
Maybe Cooper filtered out the wild-eyed A.N.S.W.E.R. activists wanting to know why we don’t surrender to the terrorists like, TODAY, but I doubt it. I’ve never met anybody like that and I doubt that they exist in significant numbers.
The GOP base, though, strikes me as another story. Look at John’s post below – even among the mainstream every issue seems to bring an undercurrent of anger and violence. The idea of stringing up liberals, war critics, apostate Republicans as traitors seeps into every forum. They love torture, they hate civil rights and long ago the right’s mainstream leaders declared the entire religion of Islam a free-fire zone. Better still, six years of holding government in a headlock has left these guys with a sense that they’re entitled to say all this without apology or self-consciousness.
Letting through one or a few of Charles Johnson’s true believers could put the GOP candidates in a mighty bind. Either reject the idea of nuking Tehran and lose the surprisingly large number of Republicans who think that is a smart idea, or horrify the rest of America. With hardline GOP policies polling behind Democrats across the board there are dozens of possible Sophie’s Choices to make the candidates squirm.
Hence it doesn’t really surprise me that the GOPers with the most to lose have started planning for withdrawal . Unlike, say, Ron Paul, Rudy benefits more the less he spends in close contact with The Base. I don’t doubt that Romney would prefer not to field questions from a guy in a Flipper suit. Running away from a debate won’t count as the bravest moment in either of these candidates’ lives, but you could see it coming.
Credit where credit is due, the always entertaining Blogs for Brownback has a prior use claim on my post title.
Also, three posts from Josh Marshall indicate that the orderly YouTube withdrawal may have devolved into a precipitous bugout. If I was Rudy I wouldn’t want to face firefighters either, and you can guess the kind of antics that will be aimed at Romney. But what does Fred Thompson have to be afraid of? Maybe he doesn’t want to talk about his fling with pro-choicers, who knows. These guys aren’t ready for prime time.