Theme Of The Day: The GOP Nomination Is Reality TV

September 7, 2011 6:12 a.m.

We now have two of the men who have tried unsuccessfully to build a big following in the 2012 Republican nomination contest comparing the experience to performing on the vapid and soulless reality TV stage.

One of the men, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, is actively still trying to get the nomination (though polls show that’s not really working out.) The other, Tim Pawlenty, got voted off the island after Ames.Both say the same thing about their experience — running for president in 2012 is like fighting your way through the silly, scripted challenges of a reality TV show.

“It’s taking on more and more of a reality TV component, these races,” Pawlenty told Stephen Colbert last night. “You’ve got to have not just money but an entertainment component, too.”

But where Pawlenty saw the reality show comparison as a bad thing (he said “the electorate is looking for something else” other than “serious policy approaches” like he brought), Santorum seems to think that the the overlap with reality TV is good for his campaign.

“It’s like an episode of Survivor is what it is,” Santorum told ABC News. He explained:

We’ve seen a lot of candidates considered to be top tier all of a sudden become bottom tier or get out of the race. I’m not going to worry about who’s the top tier candidate in the first week of September. What matters is if you’re a first-tier candidate in the first week of February. And that’s what we plan on being.

Watch Santorum:

In DC yesterday, another man who apparently would really like to be the next Republican president said something similar. Rudy Giuliani told a crowd at the National Press Club that he could probably beat President Obama in a general election, but because the nominating process has become an episode of Who Wants To Appeal To An Ultra-Conservative Evangelical? he’ll likely never get the chance to be the nominee.

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