When I saw Liz's post, my first thought was, I didn't even know there was a debate. It reminded me of that scene in one of the James Bond movies where some mobster throws Bond's lady friend out a window. She ends up landing safely in a swimming pool, but the mobster tells Bond, "I didn't know there was a pool down there."
My point is that once upon a time, not too long ago, I would have cared that there was a Republican debate. Now I would just as soon watch an infomercial.
Incidentally, there was something in the Fabrizio poll that I meant to mention for Andrew's benefit. Republicans were asked if they had any friends or family that are gay. Almost half indicated some gay contact: 18 percent have a gay family member, 28 percent have a gay friend, 15 percent have a gay co-worker, and 1 percent said they were gay. Obviously, there is some overlap among these.
I don't know what these numbers mean. No comparison to 1997 is presented, so there is no way of knowing whether the contact that Republicans have with gay people has changed. But I think it is reasonable to assume that the figure has grown over time as more and more gays come out of the closet. I don't what, if any, political impact this may have, but my casual observation is that issues such as gay marriage don't have the political potency they used to have. This may be because as more and more people realize that they have gay family members and acquaintances, the more they come to accept that it is not a life style decision, but just the way some people are; a condition akin to left-handedness and nothing more.