Robert Shrum: …. The GOP debate was not only economically vapid, but downright ugly, as the participants either trafficked in, or fellow-travelled with, appeals to fear and intolerance…..
No one on that stage rose to the defense of American Muslims or ventured to reprove Cain. But most of the candidates rushed to reassure the right wing on the question of gay rights. They were against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, for a constitutional prohibition of same-sex marriage…
…A former Republican officeholder, still active in the party, lamented that if you want to have a chance you have to cater to the fringe: “And it’s worse now that it’s ever been.”
….Waiting for Huntsman, yearning for Chris Christie of New Jersey, or Rick Perry of Texas: By the end of Monday’s debate, it was easier than ever to understand why. Americans seem to grasp the implausibility of the men – and the woman – who so starkly revealed themselves in New Hampshire. Even in the new economic doldrums, President Obama leads Romney by 6 points – and outside the South by far more – in the new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. Pawlenty gets trounced – and so would Bachmann, although it’s now conceivable that a fevered GOP might just nominate her.
I know which side I’m on as 2012 approaches, but I know the country deserves a genuine debate about the future. That wasn’t what we saw and heard from New Hampshire the other night. The debate was less serious and less substantive than Saturday Night Live…..