No matter the results of the 2012 Presidential election, its debates will be notable for three phrases: Big Bird; binders full of women; and horses and bayonets.
Which is what Esquire's Stephen Marche comments on — and laments.
The early debates will be remembered for their production of memes. Big bird. Binders full of women. And now battleships. The two candidates took opposite tacks in dealing with the new reality. Romney clearly was trying not to saying anything memorable. That's why he stopped himself at the end of "I love teachers." Ordinarily, he might have said something like "I love teachers. They're wonderful gals." Or something like that. He probably knew, right there, or in preparations before, that something like that would end up on Buzzfeed, wittily repackaged in fifty different ways. Obama ran straight into the brave new world. Clearly the line "The 1980s called and they want their foreign policy back" was designed explicitly to generate a Twitter spike and it worked. "Horses and bayonets" alone drove a hundred and twenty-five thousand tweets per minute. #Horsesandbayonets started trending, and didn't stop. Almost instantly @horses_bayonets launched with a single line: "How do I monetize this?"
Twitter's first impact on presidential politics has been fun and has added a level of urgency to the spectacle, but it has also diminished at least somewhat the grace of the proceedings. That's too bad. Because if those debates showed anything, it's that we need grace more than ever. We need about as much grace as we can get.
I just wonder if regaining some semblance of grace is possible in this age of instant online vitriol.
For more, check out the post here.