Last night, when we got back from dinner, we did some channel-surfing and saw there was a Republican presidential debate. Today, there was another one. That’s right — two separate debates, back-to-back.
I understand that the New Hampshire primary is Tuesday, but what possible rationale is there for having two debates less than 24 hours apart? The issues didn’t change, and the candidates certainly haven’t. The only difference was the questioners — and the fact that the candidates could get a kind of immediate do-over, after being coached by their staffs, while the prior debate was still fresh in the minds of the handful of pathetic political junkies and reporters who watched it.
And therein lies the point. These Republican debates are so mind-numbingly frequent that I can’t believe most people actually watch them anymore. In fact, my guess is that most people would rather gouge out their eyeballs with a salt-encrusted wiper blade than have to watch another one. So, the filter provided by the media becomes especially important. If the press says that Mitt Romney “won” the debate, or that Rick Santorum made a gaffe, is any voter actually going to go back and try to watch the debate to see if the characterization is accurate? Only the most masochistic potential voter would want to endure the inept questioning or the windy discussions or the scripted applause lines.
Overexposure is a bad thing. People get sick of seeing you and tune you out. Celebrities like the Kardashians have learned that, and let’s hope the Republican candidates now have learned that, too. Go ahead and campaign, and run your ads in New Hampshire and South Carolina — but for heaven’s sake avoid any more of these silly televised “debates.” We just can’t take any more.