Tonight we get a preview of coming attractions. Not the fun stuff you get at the movies, not the lure of romance, the thrill of high adventure or a Sherlock Holmes-style battle of wits.
No. What we’re going to get is a preview of a 2012 presidential election in which the winner isn’t the candidate who comes off the best in debate or who woos the American people with a brilliant campaign of persuasion and hope.
No. What we’re going to see tonight is the power of destruction, how spending three million dollars in negative advertising gets your guy elected without having him take the personal responsibility for the blood he has spilled, for the attack he’s waged to destroy his opponent.
So ready, get set, go: Whoever wins the Republican nomination will know what works - kill the rival with negative ads and get your friends, your rich friends to pay for it.
The victim of what happened here in Iowa isn’t Newt Gingrich. It’s any semblance of true democracy. If what we’ve watched here is democracy, it isn’t much. It’s not what people fight for, not what people believe in. Mitt Romney can quote America the Beautiful - this campaign he’s put together has putrefied it.