Open Thread: Debate Death March

The NYTimes informs us that Fox news will be sponsoring two additional debates, “adding to an already packed schedule of face-offs“, as the Grey Lady delicately phrases it. Possibly Fox, as the first NYTimes commentor suggests, has decided that “Are Any of the GOP Candidates Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?” is cheaper to produce and/or draws more viewers than its current reality show line-up. On the other hand, perhaps Roger Ailes’ underlings are worried that whichever one of the existing GOP-candidate pool “wins” the chance to run against President Obama may not only reverse the infamous 1984 Reagan-Mondale landslide, but destroy the entire Republican party, and so they’re grabbing whatever grift remains before the final train wreck.

Either way, I’m using it as an excuse to link to Gail Collins on the latest debate-debacle, because I agree that poor Seamus Romney must never be forgotten:

… This week’s debate was a triumph for Perry, who not only put Romney on the defensive, but did it in complete sentences. He did get lost in the weeds during a discussion of Romney’s Mormonism. (“And this country is based on, as Newt talked about, these values that are so important as we go forward, and the idea that we should not have our freedom of religion, to be taken away by any means.”)
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The whole First Amendment thing might be a little complicated for a governor whose State Constitution prohibits anyone who doesn’t believe in God from holding public office. This is not a joke.
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But about Mitt Romney and the landscapers. This is the story: In 2006, The Boston Globe reported that the yard of then-Governor Romney’s family home was being groomed by a landscaping firm with a history of using undocumented workers. The team of reporters, led by Jonathan Saltzman and Maria Cramer, tracked down people in Guatemala who recounted fond memories of their years of clipping the Romney grass without the requisite immigration papers.
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There was quite a bit of grass to clip. The family lived in an affluent Boston suburb in a house on two-and-a-half acres, with a pool and a tennis court. Not as fancy as the $12 million beachfront pad the Romneys are currently renovating in California, but it was home….
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Interestingly, though, Romney kept using the same service until a year later when he fired them after The Globe did a follow-up. (“Lawn Work at Romney’s Home Still Done by Illegal Immigrants.”)
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What do you think took him so long? Was he distracted by the pressure of preparing for the 2007-8 season of presidential debates, during which Romney accused Rudy Giuliani of making New York a “sanctuary city,” Mike Huckabee of supporting “in-state benefits for illegal immigrants” and McCain of pushing “amnesty”?
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Also, how was the paperless worker that Mitt ordered off the property transported away?
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If a crate on the roof plays any part in this story, we are going to be really, really disturbed.






35 replies
  1. 1
    amk says:

    mittens wishes that crate on that car roof had that faux texan cowboy inside it.

    At this rate, cage fights cannot be ruled out.

  2. 2
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    Meh. Romney is going to lose next year for reasons that have nothing to do with any of this, namely the harmonic convergence of the takeover of the party by its most extreme and virulent rabid core, emerging like a herpes outbreak to embarrass all of them and remind everyone that it’s there, and the more conservative (in the older sense of the word) establishment Republican contingent who were slow to realize that their cynical experiments had escaped from the lab and overreacted with the second most bland candidate they possibly could. I can’t even remember who the most bland one was — he was that good.

    Choosing Mitt Romney is kind of like treating an ulcer by pouring milk on it; it’s outdated, it ignores the actual root problem, and it won’t work.

    In the meantime I mean sure, why not. The more Perry can damage Mitt before slinking off into the sunset, the better. I do think “face off” is apt, I thoroughly expect one of them to go full chimp on one of the others at one of these debates soon.

  3. 3
    James says:

    More debates! More stark raving loonies on public display, the candidates AND the audience. This is Good News for John McCain Obama!

  4. 4
    TenguPhule says:

    Debate Death March

    Now that’s a format for the GOP I can get behind.

    Make them walk and talk at the same time.

    And remember to have lots of popcorn handy.

  5. 5
    SRW1 says:

    Nice example of how the interest of the parts conspire against the interest of the whole. The motivation of Fox and all candidates not named Romney are obvious: Fox get’s ratings and all candidates not named Romney get more opportunities to take shots at Mittens. But the GOP can’t possibly delude itself into the illusion that this clown car is envigorating support for the party.

  6. 6

    At what point does Obama have to report these debates as campaign contributions? I’m thinking some time last month.

  7. 7
    RosiesDad says:

    Gail Collins returning from book leave was the best thing to happen to the Times op ed page in quite some time.

  8. 8
    Cervantes says:

    Gail Collins returning from book leave was the best thing to happen to the Times op ed page since Gail Collins went on book leave.

  9. 9
    Baud says:

    I’m excited. More GOP debates means more hilarious BJ debate threads and post-debate commentary. Yay!

  10. 10
    dmsilev says:

    @Joseph Nobles: Someone, I believe on Twitter, reported the other day that “Barack Obama just won his sixth consecutive GOP debate.”.

  11. 11
    harlana says:

    Next debate, Perry’s just gonna pull out that concealed six-shooter and blast Mitt in the face.

  12. 12
    Geoduck says:

    @harlana:

    Next debate, Perry’s just gonna pull out that concealed six-shooter and blast Mitt in the face.

    Well, that would doubly clinch the nomination for him…

  13. 13
    ET says:

    I must admit I am confused as to why the candidates keep showing up. I know they are all deluded to one degree or another and actually think Americans support them more than they do, but more face time will not in fact, make people like them more. It might actually make more people more likely see them for the fools they are by giving people more opportunity to see them.

  14. 14
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    This week’s debate was a triumph for Perry

    I don’t get this. The post-debate commentary and real-time reaction online seemed to suggest Romney got the best of that pissing match.

    Can the pundits just decide who won based on how it fits with their punchlines?

  15. 15
    JD Rhoades says:

    @SRW1:

    Well, the frontrunners are stuck. There is no party establishment the fringe candidates will listen to that can say, “hey, this isn’t good for the Party, cut it out.” And if there aren’t constant debates, the fringers will be all “what are they scared of!?” So the party careens ever closer to the cliff.

  16. 16
    WereBear says:

    So far, the debates have sunk somebody. Keep bringin’ them on!

  17. 17
    Wil says:

    More debates=more Republiklans in the news=keeping the GOP in the news as much or more than Obama.

    In presidential elections, especially early in the cycle, the incumbent president enjoys a huge advantage simply because everything he says or does is reported on, as opposed to candidates striving to maintain a presence in the media even somewhat on par with a sitting president.

    That’s all this is. More debates=more media time.

  18. 18
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Everything that the press corps always said about Al Gore’s personality and demeanor seems to be actually true of Mitt Romney.

  19. 19
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Wil: Only if you subscribe to the “no publicity is bad publicity” theory. They look like goons every time. It’s media time, but it’s embarrassing media time, like Lindsay Lohan gets.

  20. 20
    drew42 says:

    Gail Collins writes weak, ineffectual crap that serves no purpose other than giving right wingers something to point to when they complain about the “elitist liberal” media.

    She’s never written anything that could possibly sway an independent or low information voter. Just self-serving shit that makes pseudo-liberal idiots chuckle, because they think she’s being clever and witty.

  21. 21
    chrome agnomen says:

    well, it’s not like any of the candidates has any actual governance to do which would conflict with the debate schedule. (or anything else.)

  22. 22
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Gail Collins: not a great troll

  23. 23
    cleek says:

    @Wil:
    yup

    it’s free air time and days of media attention for the GOP.

    @FlipYrWhig:
    sadly, there are plenty of (probably insane) people who think the GOP candidates are serious thinkers.

  24. 24
    dave says:

    This is the last post of Anne Laurie’s I will ever read. People who like Gail Collins and think the Seamus story has any journalistic value at all are political nihilists lacking all sound judgment. Also what drew42 @ 20 said.

  25. 25
    WereBear says:

    @dave: People who like Gail Collins and think the Seamus story has any journalistic value at all are political nihilists lacking all sound judgment.

    I think the Seamus story illustrates poor judgement, lack of empathy, and terrible child rearing practices.

    Not that it has anything to do with electing a Republican President…

  26. 26

    I initially saw “train wreck” as “brain wreck,” which works too.

  27. 27
    Judas Escargot says:

    @Wil:

    That’s all this is. More debates=more FREE media time.

    Just a little clarification there.

    Anyone else wonder if the incumbent was a Republican, and we had 7 Democratic challengers, would those Dems be getting all this free air time?

  28. 28
    Barry says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: “Can the pundits just decide who won based on how it fits with their punchlines?”

    Yes – see the archives of ‘The Daily Howler’ about the 2000 election for evidence (assuming that it goes back that far).

  29. 29
    catclub says:

    @SRW1: Interests indeed.
    Fox’s ratings have soared with the election of Obama. If he loses they can expect to go down.

    On the other hand Roger Ailes is a crazy right wing loon, who really wants the GOP to win.

  30. 30
    handsmile says:

    I believe Will’s comment above (17) astutely identifies the fundamental reason for the proliferation of GOP “debates.” Two other factors may also be in play, both deliberately designed to blunt Obama’s quick-wittedness and oratorical genius.

    Job training: These nationally-televised spectacles provide the eventual GOP presidential candidate (if you believe s/he will be chosen from among these klowns which I’m not yet convinced of) with invaluable experience in the structure and rhythms of the “debate” format. This will be of enormous benefit when the candidate finds him/herself on stage alone with Obama in the early autumn of 2012.

    Cheapening the product: With so many “debates” providing cheap entertainment but little substantive information, the purported value of a “Presidential Debate” may be debased. Television viewers may become disinclined to watch yet another such event, even one between the two (or three) nominated candidates.

    I fully concede this latter point may be dubious, but it is grounded in the declining television audience for broadcast award presentations, now that the number of such programs has significantly increased.

  31. 31
    eemom says:

    it pains me to type these words, but fucking Krauthammer of all people has a spot-on column today about Tuesday night’s clusterfuck. (Not gonna link though, lest my agonized wailing alarm the dogs.)

    There’s an especially good part where he skewers Mitty for his “plaintive” turning to “Anderson?” to bail his ass out when Perry was hammering him. “What’s he going to do in Vienna when Putin is poking a finger in his chest and yelling? Call Anderson?”

    To put it simply, Krautie sees the writing on the wall for his par-tay next year and he ain’t a happy camper. Not one little bit. Tee hee.

  32. 32
    feebog says:

    Not as fancy as the $12 million beachfront pad the Romneys are currently renovating in California, but it was home….

    Actually, the beachfront pad, while nice, is more expensive than the Boston compound because of location. La Jolla is about the most expensive chunk of real estate in California. That’s why Mittens wants to tear down what is a perfectly liveable house and turn it into a McMansion.

  33. 33
    giltay says:

    It appears that all of Michele Bachmann’s New Hampshire staff have quit.

  34. 34
    Beauzeaux says:

    “And this country is based on, as Newt talked about, these values that are so important as we go forward, and the idea that we should not have our freedom of religion, to be taken away by any means.)

    Maybe he’s Sarah Palin’s long-lost (though not long enough) brother/child/uncle/cousin. It has all the signs of her style.

  35. 35
    eemom says:

    @drew42:

    I agree. Can’t stand that smug smirk of hers.

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