Memo to the RNC: End the game shows

posted at 8:47 am on November 3, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

There’s a nasty rumor going around, and I want to put a stop to it.  Some people are spreading an untruth — that Republicans have had too many debates.  We haven’t had any debates.  We’ve had game shows, complete with doorbells and G-mail chimes.  And unlike Jeopardy!, we’re not learning much from the debates except which candidates can deliver the best zinger, which is a great quality … for a late-night TV comic.  Which politician can deliver the best policy outcomes?  The debates aren’t telling us that at all.

In my column this week for The Fiscal Times, I challenge the RNC to stand up to the media outlets and produce a format that will inform voters rather than entertain voyeurs:

The RNC should take a lesson from two of its candidates. This weekend will feature a two-hour, “Lincoln-Douglas” style debate, sponsored by the Texas Tea Party PAC, between Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain. …

This format could be easily adapted for upcoming debates. Instead of having all eight candidates on stage at once, pair them off to conduct shorter “Lincoln-Douglas” debates on particular policy issues, rotating pairings in each event.  (The November 22 debate is already scheduled as a foreign-policy debate, for instance.) Let the debate run for two hours; with eight candidates, each pairing could have 30 minutes (or 25 minutes to accommodate commercial break). Give each candidate eight minutes for their statements, and then four minutes each for rebuttals and a minute for a buffer. The only rules would be that microphones would go dead when time expires and that candidates should refrain from discussing an opponent in a different pairing.

This format would give Republicans another advantage, one which the RNC and the candidates could have used from the beginning.  Since the debates would not require dozens of questions being pitched from the stage, there would be no opportunity for media personalities to push the discussions in any particular direction,  insert their own narratives, or — most especially — provoke the candidates into attacking each other. Journalists who want to ask specific questions have plenty of time to do so in one-on-one interviews, but a debate shouldn’t be a shotgun-style media interview. It should be a substantive exchange of ideas that gives voters clear insights into the depth of each candidate, the viability of their positions, and their skill at presenting them. The RNC should insist on revamping the remaining debates along these lines if it wants to build confidence in the eventual nominee.

One complaint regularly heard and seen from conservatives is the fact that the GOP allows media outlets to “moderate” these debates with loaded questions and attempts to pit candidates against each other.  In the game-show format that has been adopted by every media outlet, there is little choice but to push for that, since the format won’t produce anything of substance anyway.  Why not, then, turn the forum into a Colisseum instead and offer some gladitorial virtual combat?

The DNC should pay attention as well.  They don’t have to worry about primary debates this year, but four years from now they’ll have to put their candidates through the same wringer.  In that case, Democratic voters will end up being ill-served by the process, and the quality of their eventual nominee won’t be improved by it, either.

Let’s put an end to American Idol: White House and demand something better for American voters.

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Well said, Captain.

CTSherman on November 3, 2011 at 8:49 AM

Hear hear!

Caiwyn on November 3, 2011 at 8:51 AM

I have more suggestions, put real conservatives in the questioning mode, not these liberals disguised as journalists as moderators.

Have Limbaugh and Levin moderate one debate each. That would be interesting.

karenhasfreedom on November 3, 2011 at 8:52 AM

I’ll second that. The debates have been painful to watch and extremely frustrating.

Mord on November 3, 2011 at 8:53 AM

I too support The Morrissey Plan.

petefrt on November 3, 2011 at 8:53 AM

karenhasfreedom on November 3, 2011 at 8:52 AM Yes! Yes! Yes!

Shout it from the roof tops Ed!

red131 on November 3, 2011 at 8:54 AM

Have Limbaugh and Levin moderate one debate each. That would be interesting.

karenhasfreedom on November 3, 2011 at 8:52 AM

They’re excellent choices, but could we please have at least one with Mark Steyn, too?

WesternActor on November 3, 2011 at 8:54 AM

I’m trying to like Cain again, and Newt has a lot of baggage, but a debate between those two is going to be all Gingrich.

Bishop on November 3, 2011 at 8:55 AM

I think Gingrich’s idea of Licoln-Douglas style debates is awesome and I look forward to the debate between him and Cain.

A lot can still happen, but I see a Cain/Gingrich or vice versa ticket developing.

Jay on November 3, 2011 at 8:57 AM

Absolutely right–but is anyone listening?

ElectricPhase on November 3, 2011 at 8:58 AM

Bishop on November 3, 2011 at 8:55 AM

I would love to see a Gingrich – Romney debate.

antisocial on November 3, 2011 at 8:59 AM

The ONLY reason the MSM wants so many debates is precisely for that reason. They want the GOP to mortally wound itself.
Think back a couple of decades, to before many of us knew how stacked the deck was.
Do you think for a nanosecond that if Ross Perot were going to hurt Clinton more than Bush that the networks would have included him in the “final” debates? Perot was as much a phenomenon of the media as his own “self-funding.” No, they knew what they were doing and Perot handed the White House to Clinton.
Newt actually does best in the current format because he’s smart enough to call a spade a spade, but also because he’s been low enough in the polls that no candidate is really aiming their guns on him.

Sugar Land on November 3, 2011 at 8:59 AM

candidates should refrain from discussing an opponent in a different pairing.

sorry- that isn’t going to happen…

I applaud the effort to bring substance and civility to these debates, however, I don’t see the path forward given the number of engaged candidates. The format of the PBS debate with all candidates seated around a table IMO was a measurable improvement over the jeopardy set – maybe that would be a good first step.

gatorboy on November 3, 2011 at 9:02 AM

Have Limbaugh and Levin moderate one debate each. That would be interesting.

karenhasfreedom on November 3, 2011 at 8:52 AM

AMEN. Have them do one together. The nomination would be settled the next day, and probably with near unanimous agreement around here. Hannity can stand out front and park cars or collect tickets. He is a worthless softball, which is why they flock to him.

Marcus on November 3, 2011 at 9:02 AM

I think they’ve all forgotten why they’re running and what they’re running for.

rplat on November 3, 2011 at 9:03 AM

The memo is more-appropriately sent to the various sponsors of the debates and the candidates. Last I checked, the RNC didn’t run a single debate.

Steve Eggleston on November 3, 2011 at 9:04 AM

I would love to see a Gingrich – Romney debate.

antisocial on November 3, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Have mercy on the janitors. They’d be picking up Mitt pieces for weeks

katy the mean old lady on November 3, 2011 at 9:04 AM

Great idea Ed.

rbj on November 3, 2011 at 9:05 AM

Let’s put an end to American Idol: White House and demand something better for American voters.

Excellent post Ed!! Bravo.

Sound bites and zingers can’t carry the day…they can only carry a news cycle. You have made an excellent suggestion.

ted c on November 3, 2011 at 9:05 AM

That’s is what democracy looks like. Opposing points made on issues that are coming up today presented with passion and courtesy.

But the crowd expects blood from gladiators at a circus.

And the crowd maybe right about combat revealing reactions of true personality and thought.

The debates between friends turn into scripted infomercials with team drivers drafting for the other driver secretly on their team.

jimw on November 3, 2011 at 9:08 AM

Why not, then, turn the forum into a Colisseum instead and offer some gladitorial virtual combat?

The ONLY reason the MSM wants so many debates is precisely for that reason. They want the GOP to mortally wound itself.

Sugar Land on November 3, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Precisely. And, you have to question the compliant nature of all the candidates who are willingly walking into these bogus Colisseums time after time with nary a complaint. (Newt’s attempts duly noted.)

Fallon on November 3, 2011 at 9:11 AM

The alphabets running the ‘debates’ aren’t going to change the format, they’re having too much fun with the way they are now. It’s a winwin for them. They get the R candidates to pick on each other and not be able to present a clear message to the voters.

Kissmygrits on November 3, 2011 at 9:12 AM

Be careful, Ed, people will start calling you a coward like they did Perry when he pointed out the TRUTH.

-Aslan’s Girl

Aslans Girl on November 3, 2011 at 9:13 AM

I think they’ve all forgotten why they’re running and what they’re running for.

rplat on November 3, 2011 at 9:03 AM

They forgot that the second Perry entered. Before that, they all played nice with each other and attacked O. As soon as Perry got in, they all (except Gingrich) went into attack mode and ripped Perry to shreds. Watch them on youtube to see the evolution of these “debates”. They knew Perry upset their tea-party and would try to wrest the crown from Romney and they didn’t like it one bit.

Aslans Girl on November 3, 2011 at 9:16 AM

I have been saying this since the first: “I know you are, but what am I” Q&A pony show.

darwin-t on November 3, 2011 at 9:16 AM

I’m all for getting rid of moderators (or extremerators as I think of them). Could you imagine Obama in a debate without a moderator steering things his way? He would probably refuse to debate under those circumstances.

zmdavid on November 3, 2011 at 9:17 AM

I would love to see a Gingrich – Romney debate.

antisocial on November 3, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Have mercy on the janitors. They’d be picking up Mitt pieces for weeks

katy the mean old lady on November 3, 2011 at 9:04 AM

They get paid.

Steve Eggleston on November 3, 2011 at 9:17 AM

Excellent idea, Ed. Hope Priebus gets the message.

TXUS on November 3, 2011 at 9:19 AM

The alphabets running the ‘debates’ aren’t going to change the format, they’re having too much fun with the way they are now. It’s a winwin for them. They get the R candidates to pick on each other and not be able to present a clear message to the voters.

Kissmygrits on November 3, 2011 at 9:12 AM

You point out the very problem. The networks are ‘running’ the debates. Let’s end that.

I rarely bother watching these game shows(great simile). Too aggravating for the amount of real info I get.

OBQuiet on November 3, 2011 at 9:19 AM

Why are you pitching this excellent idea to the RNC, Ed? This weekend’s debate between Gingrich and Cain, from what I understand, completely went around the RNC. The candidates can arranged these things themselves, from what I can tell.

parteagirl on November 3, 2011 at 9:20 AM

Welcome to the party!

This Saturday will be the first debate I watch.

MNHawk on November 3, 2011 at 9:22 AM

These debates have turned into “The Gong Show”. The Democrats would not nor will they ever do something as stupid as put on all these debates with hostile moderators. ENUF….

suzyk on November 3, 2011 at 9:23 AM

In my column this week for The Fiscal Times, I challenge the RNC to stand up to the media outlets and produce a format that will inform voters rather than entertain voyeurs:

I made this case when the media blocked McCotter from the debates. By who’s standard does the media get to decide who debates? Their own – they apply some old standard NBC came up with. Television Networks are not “public debates” they are media programming. It’s a way for corproate media to act as a gate keeper, and choose our candidates for us. This way corporations keep their advantage vs say we the people.

My latest post, asks the question. Which Presidential candidate would you like to have a beer with? Obama’s way out in front when it comes to, The Beer Test and Joe Six Pack.

But the MSM isn’t going to report on Obama’s overt courting of the middle class, accept in the most flattering terms. Tired of the media picking your candidates- complain it’s the only thing people can do or just ignore the dinosaur media.

Dr Evil on November 3, 2011 at 9:25 AM

Ed, forget the RNC. Call Rush and Levin and Mark Steyn – as suggested by other commenters above – and you guys conduct discussions, debates, whatever you want to call them. But get at the governing principles that will guide their decisions and policy-making. Then juxtapose that against their previous governing decisions and find out why they’re different now, if they are.

What we need to know are the principles to which they will adhere, and how that will affect their policies. We need people on the philosophical right to commandeer that discussion, because lefty journalists can’t.

You, Rush, Levin, and Steyn. Just put the call out there to the candidates and set it up, whether individually or in group(s). Forget the RNC.

beatcanvas on November 3, 2011 at 9:26 AM

Reminds one of the 2008 Iowa debate in which the dimwit moderator asked for a show of hands, and Teh Fred had the backbone to say, “I don’t do hands” or something like that.

Wethal on November 3, 2011 at 9:28 AM

Love the Dating Game picture — hilarious!

KS Rex on November 3, 2011 at 9:32 AM

Have Limbaugh and Levin moderate one debate each. That would be interesting.

karenhasfreedom on November 3, 2011 at 8:52 AM

so you want to go from one partial forum to another partial forum? ummm, ok

gatorboy on November 3, 2011 at 9:34 AM

This is all giving Obama the advantage, he’s able to use the media to deflect attention from his missteps and make in roads with the people the republicans need to get elected in 2012.

The Independents are watching.

Dr Evil on November 3, 2011 at 9:34 AM

The problem is that the small fry want the debates because it’s free air time.

The bigger players don’t want an empty chair there “representing” them, so they show up.

Wethal on November 3, 2011 at 9:36 AM

They’re excellent choices, but could we please have at least one with Mark Steyn, too?

WesternActor on November 3, 2011 at 8:54 AM

To represent the undocumented hosts?

TugboatPhil on November 3, 2011 at 9:39 AM

The problem is that the small fry want the debates because it’s free air time.

The bigger players don’t want an empty chair there “representing” them, so they show up.

Wethal on November 3, 2011 at 9:36 AM

If none of them attend, the media narrative is, they are inept or afraid so they bully them into participating. It doesn’t do any good to make an enemy of the media, but I don’t see an upside to playing the game by their rules. Donald Trump is a good example, of using the MSM for free advertising manipulate the MSM to your advantage. It’s really not that difficult. If one of these campaigns had anyone that was media savvy, they would be doing this on an ongoing basis.

Dr Evil on November 3, 2011 at 9:43 AM

Looking forward to the Gingrich/Cain event…

kringeesmom on November 3, 2011 at 9:45 AM

Gatorboy, we conservatives deserve to have conservative moderators. The libs can have their own moderators. Then let the squishy independents see clearly the difference If that happened, I doubt another dem will be elected into the White House again

karenhasfreedom on November 3, 2011 at 9:46 AM

I agree, I wish those in charge could see this.

Cindy Munford on November 3, 2011 at 9:47 AM

four years from now they’ll have to put their candidates through the same wringer.

No they won’t. Not unless the moderators are Hannity, Rush, and Levin. Why is it that our opponents get to be the moderators?

tims472 on November 3, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Let’s put an end to American Idol: White House and demand something better for American voters.

HEAR HEAR!

cmsinaz on November 3, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Did Kelsey Grammer ever get his network going? They could sit at a roundtable and pull cards with various issues printed on them and get 10 minutes to discuss their take on whatever issue they pulled and then that card gets passed to another candidate once. Don’t have it on Fox or any of the alphabets. Moderated by Steyn or Rush would be very worthy.

DanMan on November 3, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Let’s put an end to American Idol: White House and demand something better for American voters.

I’m still waiting for one of the candidates to simply state “This is a farce!” That will be the game-changer.

GarandFan on November 3, 2011 at 10:20 AM

I’m trying to like Cain again, and Newt has a lot of baggage, but a debate between those two is going to be all Gingrich.
Bishop on November 3, 2011 at 8:55 AM

Agreed. Considering what Cain has shown us thus far, I’m trying to figure what the upside for Cain will be in this debate w/ Newt.

Goody2Shoes on November 3, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Memo to the RNC: End the game shows

AMEN!!!

“Republican Roast” game shows are a total waste of time, and we’re tired of irrelevant subject matter from the left-wing partisan “moderators.”

One more thing: Put the debate on a regular broadcast network so we can actually WATCH it: some of us refuse to pay for cable TV until such time as there is some actual content worth watching (‘reality’ shows, liberal commentary, and brainless formulaic sitcoms written by computers don’t count).

PS to the RNC:
Until such time as you act as though you are REALLY TRYING TO GET US BETTER CANDIDATES and REALLY PROMOTING CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN IDEAS and you have stopped functioning as the RINO NOMINATING COMMITTEE, don’t bother calling or writing me for funds: I will distribute my funds myself.

landlines on November 3, 2011 at 10:45 AM

Amen, Ed. I’m tired of Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader – White House edition. The debate this weekend is going to be on C-SPAN and I hope people will watch it. Gingrich and Cain are both good debaters.

simkeith on November 3, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Twinkles UP!!

bitsy on November 3, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Let’s put an end to American Idol: White House and demand something better for American voters.

You mean SURVIVOR: White House, don’t you? American Idol contestants are actually pretty civil with each other. Some of them even bond. SURVIVOR contestants are devious and plot to eliminate each other.

scalleywag on November 3, 2011 at 11:19 AM

Or it could be compared to BIG BROTHER: White House

scalleywag on November 3, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Thank you for posting this, Ed. This is exactly why we chose this debate format.

The actual name of the tea party group hosting the debate is Texas Patriots PAC (www.TexasPatriotsPAC.com).

The debate will air on C-SPAN Saturday night at 7PM CST. Tickets are still available for people who want to attend in person.

Troll Feeder on November 3, 2011 at 11:23 AM

Excellent idea!

Another great format is Center Seat with each candidate being grilled by the pundits on Bret Baier’s show. No room for zingers in that room.

PattyJ on November 3, 2011 at 11:30 AM

FWIW, there will be very limited moderator input to this event. The candidates are expected to ask questions of one another about the three debate topics: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, with 30 minutes reserved for each topic.

Paul Ryan’s Roadmap is the starting point for the discussion, but they can go wherever they want with it, so long as they stay on point.

Steve King (R, IA) will provide a brief intro before each section.

Ben Streusand, Advisory Board Chairman of Americans for Prosperity – Texas, is the moderator, but he will intervene only if the candidates stray off topic.

Troll Feeder on November 3, 2011 at 11:33 AM

Pairing off won’t magically turn this farce into a debate.

A debate has to have something called a RESOLUTION: a topic about which one side is “pro”, and the other side is “con.” If you do that, you can have as many people as you want on each side.

But when the only point anyone is trying to make is: “I am better than you,” then by definition, it can never be anything but an ad hominem attack. If there are 8 people, it’s an unfunny roast of whomever happens to be ahead in the polls at the moment; if there are 2 people, then it’ll just be a weirdly unctuous back-and-forth insult contest.

In the Lincoln-Douglas debates, the topic tearing the nation apart at the time was – of course – slavery. One guy was fervently in favor of it, and the other guy was vehemently opposed. They were utterly viscious in their attacks, but they didn’t attack each other; each opponent attacked the other’s position. Sadly, most people today don’t even really know what objectivity is, let alone how it works in the context of a debate.

The elephant in the living room today is government spending. If you can’t get candidates to clearly state where they stand on that issue, then there will never be any meaningful public debate, and America will just continue its mindless trudge into Socialism. We may get a new face at the helm, and the rate of decline may speed up or slow down a bit, but without even an ATTEMPT to face the serious issues headon, the slide can only go in one direction.

logis on November 3, 2011 at 11:34 AM

Have Limbaugh and Levin moderate one debate each. That would be interesting.
karenhasfreedom on November 3, 2011 at 8:52 AM

They’re excellent choices, but could we please have at least one with Mark Steyn, too?
WesternActor on November 3, 2011 at 8:54 AM

I’m late to this thread, so you beat me to it.

The ONLY debate that’s going to matter to ‘conservative’ voters, is exactly the above, PERIOD.

Well, . . . . . . . . . . . . I wouldn’t mind throwing Glenn and Michael Savage in there as well.
Maybe David Horowitz?

listens2glenn on November 3, 2011 at 11:39 AM

I’m still waiting for one of the candidates to simply state “This is a farce!” That will be the game-changer.
GarandFan on November 3, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Newt Gingrich has said that a bunch of times. But, for some weird reason, the media don’t like to widely trumpet and infinitely repeat the “zingers” aimed at them.

logis on November 3, 2011 at 11:40 AM

Mark Levin should moderate all future debates… including the ones with Obama on stage…

Khun Joe on November 3, 2011 at 11:49 AM

I agree with the sentiment, but I don’t think the format change needs to be even as drastic as you suggest, Ed. Why not just have the debate consist of a series of rounds, one question per round, in which each candidate is given the same amount of time, say 2-3 minutes, to answer the same question?

As it is, it’s almost impossible to draw meaningful contrasts between candidates because the debate moderators insist on asking everyone a different question.

Inkblots on November 3, 2011 at 11:50 AM

. . . . put real conservatives in the questioning mode, not these liberals disguised as journalists as moderators.
Have Limbaugh and Levin moderate one debate each. That would be interesting.
karenhasfreedom on November 3, 2011 at 8:52 AM

Sorry karen, I overlooked your post on the same subject.
Your description of the Republican debates (up till now) is DEAD ON!

. . . . . liberals disguised as journalists as moderators.

Couldn’t say it better.

listens2glenn on November 3, 2011 at 11:56 AM

Mark Levin should moderate all future debates… including the ones with Obama on stage…

Khun Joe on November 3, 2011 at 11:49 AM

We’d all love that here, but would BHO be willing to submit to that?

listens2glenn on November 3, 2011 at 11:59 AM

Exactly what I have been saying to my wife. Dumbest format ever, but what is worse is that the potential world leaders are themselves led down this path of stupidity. The candidates should ignore the questions and debate their positions.

woodNfish on November 3, 2011 at 12:23 PM

AMEN BROTHER!!!!!
Take the message and the format back. I particularly like Newt’s comment a few weeks back as he motioned to all the candidates on the stage and addressed the moderator that all the Republican candidates were united in their opposition to the policies of the left and the President in particular.
That should have been a clarion call at just that moment to the RNC.

Amendment X on November 3, 2011 at 1:03 PM

AMEN!!!!!!

I have always thought that only 3 presidential “debates” where the moderators steer the conversation was a joke. The presidential candidates should have 3 debates PER WEEK, using satellite feeds. They should thoroughly debate every topic with minimal moderator influence other than to enforce approximately equal time for each candidate and steer the candidates back on topic if they get far away.

I always thought the reason a serious informative debate never happened was because there was no entity that could force the candidates to agree to debate and terms of the debate. Campaigns want to limit the time off script, and therefore they limit the debates to 3 and heavily script even those.

For the primaries, though, Republicans have no excuse. Ed is exactly right. The RNC should develop a format, or perhaps 2 or 3 different formats that encourage policy discussion that is educational (it would be a great opportunity to expose conservative ideas to a wider audience), highlight areas of agreement as well areas of disagreement, ensure that topics that the base wants to hear about are not entirely skipped, and allow all candidates plenty of time to state their ideas, not just in 30-60 seconds snippets.

The format(s) could include a few minutes of great videos like Paul Ryan’s Budget Committee videos, Dan Mitchell’s Center for Prosperity videos, Bill Whittle’s videos (like the EAT THE RICH one), or even clips from Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose TV series, which would all be great starting points for various topics. Moderator could ask candidates if they agree with the videos, if not where they differ, focus questions on what their proposed policy solutions would be, etc., but for the most part let the candidates discuss.

In order to ensure fairly equal time, all candidates could have timers in front of them for how long they had spoke so far. The moderator could try to gracefully throw the question to the candidates that had used the least time to try to even things up. Whenever a personal attack was made, the attacked candidate should always have adequate time to respond. The portion of their response directly relating to the attack should not count against their time. This would provide a disincentive against unfairly attacking your opponent because you know they will either waste their time or not have an adequate opportunity to respond.

As far as moderators, I have been really disappointed with the Fox News debates. I thought it would be good with Byron York on the panel, but then he started asking questions like the one to Michele Bachmann about whether she as president would submit to her husband, which was especially noxious because of the way he phrased the question. Chris Wallace is just in his Sunday morning “tough question” mode focusing on quick quotes or non-policy issues like Newt’s campaign staff quitting. All in all, it is such a waste of a great opportunity to hear the candidates on policy issues.

You should still keep a few debates like they are doing them now, because the candidates need to be tested in the debate format they will encounter in the presidential debates.

As far as moderators, I thought one of the best debates/forums in 2008 was the one put on by Rick Warren at Saddleback Church. He was the ideal moderator. He asked relevant questions and then respectfully got out of the way and allowed McCain and Obama to answer. It was surprisingly informative when the candidates had to come up with longer answers. The short 30-60 seconds canned debate answers also hide a candidates weaknesses by allowing them to give short scripted responses. Giving a candidate 2 or 3 minutes to fully answer a simple question like, “Is it the federal government’s role to feed and house the poor?” can be illuminating.

willamettevalley on November 3, 2011 at 1:08 PM

I have more suggestions, put real conservatives in the questioning mode, not these liberals disguised as journalists as moderators.

Have Limbaugh and Levin moderate one debate each. That would be interesting.

karenhasfreedom on November 3, 2011 at 8:52 AM

Ditto. No. More. Liberal. Moderators. Only Conservative to RINO pundits/commentators/thinkers may moderate.

AH_C on November 3, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Ed,
I am not sure if you saw my post from a week ago or so offering something similar…

How about having a debate in this manner (at least while we still have 8 candidates):
First Debate:
Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, Bachmann

Second Debate:
Paul, Perry, Cain, Huntsman

Third Debate:
Romney, Perry, Santorum, Paul

Fourth Debate:
Cain, Huntsman, Gingrich, Bachmann

They could hold the debates close enough for candidates that got fired upon to respond without too much time had passed. This would give each of the candidates up to 3-5 minutes to speak and actually say something coherent (or we hope with most) and it would give the others ample time to respond rather than 30 seconds.

This also may expose those that do not have anything more to say than a 30 second bite so it works both ways. Right now I agree with almost everyone that the way these are set up, and the problem is we have too many candidates, there just is not enough time for everyone to get a fair shot to answer questions and explain their positions.
What are your thoughts?

Either plan works a lot better than what we have.

g2825m on November 3, 2011 at 3:43 PM