OK, OK, OK, so last night’s debate was an exception to the general rule. It was exciting to watch one clear winner and one clear loser – if only because the outcome was such a surprise. The bloggers and the tweeters and the talking heads – all were veritably frothing at the mouth in some sort of national frenzy, stunned that the president had turned in so weak a performance, and even more stunned that the wooden Mitt Romney had finally been replaced by the “real” Mitt Romney.
Now as before, on TV anyway, the talking heads prevailed. But this time was different. This time they felt obligated to turn at every turn to the pollsters and the bloggers and the tweeters, to make sure they, the experts, were not out on a limb, to make sure they, the experts, were in lockstep with the American people.
Times have changed. As in every other aspect of 21st century life, followers are chiming in and weighing in as they never did, never were able to, before. And, for their part, the leaders, the experts, the people in positions of authority are reduced to sharing the stage with those who have no obvious calling cards, credentials, of any kind. But what they do have is a device – a device that gives them a voice. It’s enough to make even the high and mighty take to watching their back.