The crowd did cheer the individual mandate last night. Jonah Goldberg wonders:
There were definitely moments when Romney deserved the applause and cheers he got. But he also got applause and cheers for lines that have elicited no such response in the previous 8,000 debates. If Romney did pack the room with ringers, it was smart if also devious. Gingrich exposed a key vulnerability to his debate superpowers: he feeds off the energy from the audience. If Romney and his team figured that out and tampered with his energy source, that’s smart politics. It’s not like the President of the United States never has to speak to audiences that don’t cheer attacks on Saul Alinsky.
The complaint reminds what a highly strung mechanism the Gingrich psyche is. If a condition as mildly adverse as a less-than-enthusiastic audience can so disable Gingrich's performance, you do have to wonder what real adversity would do to him. Actually, you don't have to wonder. We learned in the 1990s. Real adversity utterly disorients and defeats him.