Like a child who wants to play by his own set of rules, Newt Gingrich is threatening to withdraw from future debates if audiences aren’t allowed to be actors in the play he’s staging. I wish the networks would call his bluff by using no audience at all.
Modern political “debates” aren’t debates at all. They’ve become some kind of weird mishmash that’s halfway a free-for-all and halfway a joint news conference.
Since Gingrich’s entire strategy is based on running against the news media, he counts on the audience to roar with approval when he attacks — in order to influence the audience at home, just like a laugh track in a sitcom. In a very real way, he is staging a show, not debating ideas.
In Monday night’s debate, NBC News insisted that the audience stay out of the contest and just let the candidates answer questions. Now Gingrich is mad that he can’t have his way, so he’s threatening to pull out. If you ever had any doubts about the insufferable narcissism of the man, this should make it very clear.
Watch his interview with Fox News and see if you can’t imagine a spoiled little boy threatening to take his ball and go home when the other kids won’t let him make up his own rules.