140 Characters, No Plot

The winners in TheTeaParty.net's GOP Twitter debate: the candidates who didn't show up

David Weigel reports at Slate:

There were five winners in today’s first-of-its kind Twitter presidential debate. They were Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Buddy Roemer, and Mitt Romney. All of them are running for president, and all of them skipped the event, missing out on the most dignity-shredding, IQ-lowering pseudo-event of the campaign so far.

The six candidates who participated did themselves no damage. They couldn’t if they’d tried. The debate, put on by TheTeaParty.net and a grab-bag of conservative groups, attracted an audience of devout activists, smart-assed liberals, and easily-ignored interest groups. They started early, tweeting thoughts @140townhall and clicking a button on the event website that informed fellow tweeters who they thought would win.

“@TheHermanCain Will you be able to out debate Pres. #Obama as you did Pres. Clinton?” asked @BradMarston.

“@TeamBachmann You go!” tweeted LisaRichards124. “You're a real conservative & we need You! Keep speaking out & don’t give up!”

Shortly after 3 p.m., when the event was supposed to start, the conservative radio host Rusty Humphries began his live broadcast. His theme song was a straight rip/loving tribute of the theme from Team America.

RUSTY! Heck yeah! On the air, and he's gonna save the day, yeah!

It took a while for things to get going. Humphries killed time by interviewing the moderator, the author and TV pundit S.E. Cupp, about the meaning of it all.

“This is, I think, as substantive as you can get,” said Cupp. “You have a limited amount of time, a limit amount of text.”

What was wrong with the candidates that didn’t show?

“I question their judgment,” said Cupp. “They’ve got a captive audience.”

“I think some of this is cowardice,” offered Humphries. “Mitt Romney thinks he's going to sail to the nomination.” ...>more