Maybe we were all spoiled by the 2008 primary where Edwards, Clinton, Obama, and others had detailed policies on health care that they regularly defended. They had different plans for getting out of Iraq and other foreign policy positions. They differed on how to fix the over 4 dollar gas. In short, whatever silly nonsense distracted us throughout the campaign, the issues got discussed and hashed out in a meaningful way. I could tell people that even though I liked Clinton generally, I preferred Obama’s timetable in Iraq, etc.
Compared to the 2012 GOP contest, holy cow. I don’t know any of Romney’s plans. Well, that’s not entirely true: I know he put out a 523 (approximately, I didn’t look it up) point plan to fix the economy, but I can’t remember the last time he’s had to defend it, let alone speak intelligently about it. And I don’t know what’s in it. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think so: I’ve listened to several debates and read countless articles and blog posts about the campaign, so it isn’t like I’m uninformed.
And I haven’t heard any of the other candidates fill in the void. Newt Gingrich’s big plan seems to be to mine the Moon (a plan I’m fine with, but I don’t think it’s the easiest thing in space to get back to Earth once it’s mined) and he gets billed as their idea person. Huntsman was known (to the extent he was known for anything) for not thinking global warming was bunk, but he didn’t have a plan to fix it so far as I can tell. Perry is proud of Jesus, or something. No one really debated what it means to be a Republican or even basic policy other than Paul.
I’m not sure why that’s the case. Maybe an anti-incumbency mood in the Republican Party has pushed the candidates to explain why they hate Obama more than to explain their own policies. I mean we had a pretty anti-incumbent mood in 2008, but we knew he’d be out of the White House no matter what, so we could focus on issues a bit more. Maybe it’s the Romney inevitability, but Clinton’s health plan came out when she was still perceived in many circles to be inevitable. Maybe Democratic voters actually care about issues more than the Republicans. I don’t know, but after today’s 100,005th (approximately, I didn’t look it up) GOP debate, I still don’t know much about what kind of president Romney, or the other people running for the office would be or what policies they’re pushing.