Welcome to the Fox News-Google Debate, the third in fifteen days for the GOP presidential hopefuls and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson’s first trip to the debate stage with the national spotlight firmly on the primary.
Decoder has prepped debate primers before - see our tea party debate primer, and Iowa debate bit - but this time we’ve lassoed some of Tumblr’s most interesting political commentators for their perceptions, expectations and questions about tonight’s debate. (For the questions they would ask, see our prior post with commentary from Bart Hinckle, MostlyPolitical and HipsterLibertarian.)
Below, you’ll hear from:
1. Will anybody knock the Perry-Romney showdown narrative off track?
For a view of the debate from 10,000 feet, who else would you turn to but a Political Prof?
Will anything happen that destabilizes the media narrative that it’s a Perry vs. Romney race? Nothing - not Ron Paul’s standing in the polls, not the exclusion of candidates like Gary Johnson, has managed to break through the media frame that it is a two-person race for the nomination. Two candidates have been anointed months before a single Republican votes. This isn’t reporting. It’s taking charge. Will this tale get knocked off track?
2. Will social media doohickeys and other debate gizmos obscure the discussion?
Take it away, Ernie of Shortformblog:
To put it simply, tonight’s debate should prove interesting from the perspective of attention spans — who gets the time to talk? That doesn’t just break down to the politicians on the podium (though clearly Rick Perry and Mitt Romney will get most of it), but to the crowd and to all the social media doodads that made the first CNN debate a teeth-gritting experience.
Google is actually sponsoring this event, assuring we’re going to see some of this social media seep in. But it can’t be social media for the sake of it. These voters have real questions to ask these candidates, from Perry on down, and we worry that questions from YouTube users and instant polls of social media users take away from the debates.
You know who we’d like to see sponsor one of these events? Politifact. Instant fact checking? That would be awesome. Instead, we’re in serious danger of getting distracted from the real issue at hand, which is that in 14 months, we’re going to have to vote for one of these people, and we need to know more about them than if they prefer iPhones over BlackBerrys. We hope Fox News finds a balance
3. Ron Paul has a fellow libertarian candidate on stage for the first time - Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico. Johnson is more eloquent than Paul, in Evilteabagger’s estimation, but “needs to make sure he can portray himself as more than the ‘Pot Candidate.’” Moreover,