These debates are great, watching every single Republican candidate get mortally wounded, so it’s hard to single out a particular moment. But I thought this summed up an important undercurrent of the debate quality:
“Governor Perry, the 14th Amendment allows anybody — a child of illegal immigrants who is born here is automatically an American citizen,” Cooper said. “Should that change?”
“Well, let me address Herman’s issue that he just talked about,” Perry said. “Actually, I’d rather you answer that question,” Cooper told him. “I understand that. You get to ask the questions, I get to answer like I want to,” Perry said, prompting boos from the audience. “And Herman talked about –”
“That’s actually a response,” Cooper corrected. “That’s not an answer, but go ahead.”
The Republicans have problems because things like reason don’t really fly with the base. And so Republican politicians end up competing to see who can bluster the most, resulting in something more like a poorly scripted WWE Royal Rumble. The press is always suspect, easily dismissed, and so the seat-belt is unbuckled, glory to be found in FREEDOM. If Rick Perry doesn’t like your question, then screw you. If Herman Cain wants to jammer about apples and oranges and the whats-its of Uzbeki-beki-beki-stan-stan, then that’s what he’s going to say. It’s called “word salad,” and it means you string together the soundbites and buzzwords until your time is up.
The audience booed Perry, and they deserve some credit for that. But please, anybody who thought logic was invited to tonight’s debate in the first place is a bit naive at this point in history. They were mad that Perry was giving away the technique.