I just watched the Des Moines Register Republican candidate debate, and learned little or nothing, other than that Alan Keyes is running for president again (guess I vaguely knew that, though the Register‘s decision to put him up on the debate stage, even as it excludes Dennis Kucinich from tomorrow’s Democratic debate, is just perverse).
I did find it a bit interesting that the first couple of questions, which focused on fiscal policy, elicited an immediate pledge from Giuliani to repeal corporate taxes, and two separate remarks by Thompson fretting about limitations on defense spending. That’s in case anyone was wondering if the candidates are still appealing to a relatively small sliver of the electorate. It was also illuminating to learn that after all sorts of gloomy talk about the fiscal crisis, only one candidate could bring himself to talk about asking Americans to sacrifice anything at all (and that was Thompson, who of course wants Americans to give up some Social Security and Medicare benefits).
All in all though, this debate was a snore-athon, and I don’t just say that because I’m a Democrat. Looking over at National Review’s The Corner, the boredom level was palpable, despite a general feeling that NR’s newly anointed favorite, Mitt Romney, was the winner. There was also a lot of carping about the debate’s sole moderator, Register editor Carolyn Washburn, who struggled to control the contestants and sounded annoyed much of the time. Best of all was this comment from Kathryn Jean Lopez:
What I don’t get is this is IOWA. Wouldn’t the editor of the DMR be a total political junkie? Wouldn’t she live for this? She looks and sounds bored out of her mind.
Welcome to today’s corporate media, K-Lo: Washburn is a Gannett careerist who was appointed to the Register editorship in September 2005, not an Iowan.