A thought occurred to me as I’ve watched all of these Republican presidential debates and the numerous changes in the frontrunner: what if there had been this many debates in 2007? Would John McCain and Barack Obama have won their party’s nomination? Or would we have chosen differently?
Actually, there were quite a few debates in 2007, as this list shows. The difference seems to be two-fold: first, a lot of those debates were not broadcast for a national viewing audience. Second, and perhaps more importantly, the media played a much bigger role in deciding who the nominees would be.
This year, perhaps due to the continuing demise in influence of the mainstream media, there has been no consensus on who the nominee should be. No real meme has developed, leading, I think, to the Republican electorate changing its mind constantly on who should be their standard bearer. (To get some idea of this, watch this Republican focus group from NoVA earlier this month.) They are pretty much united behind one idea, though: beat Obama in 2012.
I find this pretty funny since so many of them played an “anybody but Hillary Clinton” game in 2008. Having settled on their nominee early, some Republicans spent a lot of energy playing this game.
Democrats will be able to return the favor in 2012, should they choose to. I’ve already heard some – including Nancy Pelosi, in an interview last night – say that Democrats shouldn’t engage in such behavior. Essentially she said let Republicans choose their nominee.
Democrats sit on the sidelines in the nominating process to their own peril, both in 2012 and in 2013 here in Virginia. We have no way of knowing what the situation will look like by Election Day, and it behooves us to have a say in who the next president – and governor – will be.
Just as the Republicans did in 2008 – and in 2009 here in Virginia.
We all live here. We all should be able to express our opinion on who should lead us – not only once the field has narrowed but in the process of narrowing the field.