There have been so many that they're all blurring together. And I periodically am surprised to hear there was another one. Eg the CNN-Heritage Foundation Debate in DC's Constitution Hall, where the radio stations that afternoon were all discussing serious traffic delays due to an "event", but I only found out much later that night that it was because there was a debate. That's probably because they were afraid of being targeted by Occupy, and the media chose to play along so that all those Heritage Foundation puppets could get dropped off by their limos in peace.
I guess I could go do the research, and cross-index the number of primary candidate debates this year, with past election years, but hell, I'm lazy. I'll trust in the crowdsource. But also, shouldn't the media be talking about this? Am I crazy, or is this abnormal?
Theories after the jump - feel free to contribute yours...
Brand Erosion: Palin really broke the envelope on the criteria for a (vice-) presidential campaign, and triggered a "Race to the Bottom". I blame McCain for this element, which was truly irresponsible. But Palin paved the way for a swarm of idiots musing to themselves, "Hey, maybe I should give this a shot!". And after 8 years of being strong-armed by an elite core of cynical manipulators who were tactical genii into jingoistically supporting a dangerous moron, the R voter pool and psuedo-intelligentsia had lost whatever rational underpinnings they'd had.
The Celebrity Factor: Again, Palin's dominant here, but this is a discreet issue. Palin's made massive amounts of money flirting with the presidency, even though it was obvious throughout that she wasn't going anywhere. How many of the 2012 R candidates are just in it for the celebrity factor - selling books and speeches for the next X years? And getting hired by Fox?
The Media Factor: This is the sine qua non. They make money running their mouths about topics that will keep the droolers watching until the next commercial break, and having a bunch of characters in play amplifies the drama and let's the NewsBorg run their mouths even longer. We're talking "Lost"-level ad revenue here.
The TeaParty factor: When McCain lost, the R movement found themselves staring at a bleak apocalypse landscape that was terribly reality-based. So they let loose the Hounds of Crazy. And found themselves suddenly at the reins of a rabid, easily-influenced horde of noisy barkers. Sure looked like a movement. The success of the Tea Party undermined the standard kingmaker dynamic, and the main R operatives had made so much money off of the W years, that they sat back for a few years to glut, allowing their Grassroots Crazy to build up influence.
The Obama factor: Obama 2008, based on existing "knowledge", from a campaign perspective, was an impossible long-shot. A newbie freshman like Obama should not have been able to beat the Clinton machine or (as a relative D outsider), the R machine. A shallow analysis of the Obama 2008 campaign could easily lead Rs to think "Let's start thinking out of the box!".
How does this lead to an abnormal number of debates?The R 2012 primary suddenly found itself with a glut of candidates, and an absence of traditional controls. Suddenly the primary drivers of the process were 1. Candidate greed and 2. Media greed. All that a news channel or think-tank has to do is book an auditorium for a night, make a few calls, and they get a 3-hour media blitz + all the ads they can sell. Everybody wins! Except, of course, for the electoral process, if you're some kind of diehard profit-hating romantic.
What does this mean, from a DK perspective?
1:An R acceptance of Darwinian theory is certainly a worrying development. Next thing they'll be incorporating heliocentricism into their platform.
2:There is way plenty of crazy out there and some of them vote.
3:A flailing R 2012 campaign makes it harder for the Left to put effective pressure on Obama.
4:R's and the MSM are achieving zombie-levels of stupid, which is discouraging for those of us who still believe in rational discourse and decision-making.
5:We have to keep fighting the zombie hordes on issues like gay marriage, education, health care, human rights, democracy and social justice for a few more years.
6:The donkey and elephant are closer bedfellows than we'd like to believe, and the R 2012 primary could easily be a foreshadowing of the D 2016 primary...
7:DEAR GOD, WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN!