Should we have more debates in this primary cycle?

posted at 2:55 pm on February 6, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

We have gone ten days without a Republican debate, and the estimable NRO writer Katrina Trinko is having withdrawal pains.  Trinko argues in her USA Today column that we have not had enough debates despite the 19 already conducted in the primary season, and that we should see these as “an inspiration” for the future:

The debates have also allowed candidates to spar directly. When Gingrich lectured Romney about the individual mandate, Romney fired back, “Actually, Newt, we got the idea of an individual mandate from you.” Gingrich returned the favor two weeks later, scornfully dismissing Romney’s claim that he was a Washington outsider as “pious baloney.” Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann jousted with Ron Paul on Iran, while Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan was shot at as if it were a coyote Perry had seen during a morning jog.

That’s what primaries should include: a freewheeling arena where policies are heatedly debated. And because we don’t elect platonic ideals but flawed human beings, that means debates will occasionally tip over into the personal. That can be messy — but also revealing of a candidate’s character. …

In future primary cycles, this year’s debate-heavy schedule should be viewed as an inspiration, not a horror story. The candidate who makes a false or inane statement in a debate is likely to encounter a follow-up question from a moderator, a rebuttal from a rival, an outraged audience reaction — or some combination of the three. That’s healthy for the GOP’s policy discussion, as is the fact that candidates have to speak off the cuff when asked detailed policy questions.

For attentive voters, fewer debates would reduce the exercises to a controlled series of sound bites. Rinse and repeat. And that’s about as enthralling (and as authentic) as, well, watching a politician deliver a speech with his eyes glued to a teleprompter.

I’m not exactly buying that closing argument.  Debates in their current format are almost nothing but “a controlled series of sound bites,” almost none of them spontaneous in the least.  In fact, the current debate format practically precludes anything else.  We won’t get a serious, substantive debate on economic policy when the explanation of policy gets limited to 60 seconds or 30 seconds on a follow-up.  Matters of serious policy don’t lend themselves to sound bites, and if that’s not entirely enthralling, that’s an indictment of the viewer rather than the process — and that won’t improve with more debates, either.

There is a good argument that we’ve already had too many.  Most of the debates these days either tread over the same ground as earlier debates, focus way too much on debating various attack ads, or simply spend too much time on arcane nonsense, like the 15 minutes ABC spent discussing the non-existent threat of states banning contraception — an issue last raised in 1965.  They’re only notable for the eruptions of personal attacks that occur during them, which delights the media but does little for Republicans who want a substantive process to select a nominee and unity when that process finishes.

The only argument to be made for adding more debates in the current format (or keeping the ones already scheduled) is that candidates polling lower don’t have as many opportunities for national coverage without them.  Even with that acknowledged, though, they have all had 19 prime-time debates spanning almost 40 free hours to get their messages and points across to voters.  That should be enough.  If they cannot compete any other way, that tells us something about the viability of the candidacy, too.

What do you think? Take the poll:


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Comment pages: 1 2

..NO..NO..a thousand times NO!

*shrieks and runs from building*

The War Planner on February 6, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Yes, more debates!

tinkerthinker on February 6, 2012 at 2:58 PM

i think we have enough on schedule now.

and there have been too many already. i don’t see why there has to be so many. there have been times where there are two in one week. it’s just too much.

Sachiko on February 6, 2012 at 2:58 PM

I haven’t watched a moment of any GOP debate.

Who cares? All I want to do is to vote against Obama.

Who that’s for makes little difference to me. Especially since by the time the primary in Texas rolls around, everything will be settled.

NoDonkey on February 6, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Hmmm… that’s debatable.

beatcanvas on February 6, 2012 at 3:00 PM

Its incredible that the GOP smart guys haven’t figured this out yet. All the debates are doing is providing fodder for the MSM assault in the general.

If you haven’t noticed, policy is not a topic at these debates. The moderators (I just love that name) instigate a cat fight and egg it on as much as possible only to expose embarrassing positions and personal history of the GOP candidates.

I think the last policy that was a part of a debate was Cain’s “9-9-9″ plan.

BobMbx on February 6, 2012 at 3:00 PM

No more debates

burrata on February 6, 2012 at 3:01 PM

“The only argument to be made for adding more debates…”

… are the drinking games!

:)

Seven Percent Solution on February 6, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Enough is enough. Between Speaker Moonbase trying to debate with the moderatos and the jerky whine of Santorum we had enough. Go to traditional campaign.

Falz on February 6, 2012 at 3:02 PM

NoDonkey on February 6, 2012 at 2:58 PM

I’m with you buddy. No B.O.

Youngs98 on February 6, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Only if you insist upon giving “conservatism” the worst possible airing before the American people…..so yes! 5 more!

libfreeordie on February 6, 2012 at 3:03 PM

No more debates. My liver has been pickled and can’t handle it anymore.

JPeterman on February 6, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Absolutely not. in fact, we should have had half the debates we did. And this is why.

An abundance of debates rewards candidates with a strong message, whereas the actual general election, as well as all vote counts, reward candidates with a strong campaign. Even if we had one debate every hour from now until Super Tuesday, that wouldn’t change the fact that the general will have three debates only.

A candidate who survives on free and earned media alone is a sitting duck in the general election, in which candidates are expected to raise money and build turnout and vote-gathering operations.

KingGold on February 6, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Frankly, I’m tired of the circus. I’m tired of jokes of candidates making our party appear insane, I’m tired of these reality-show like debates that create these cults of personality. I’m tired of seeing Republicans bludgeoning each-other, and moderators asking questions that are designed to make the candidates look out of touch.

As far as I’m concerned, the debates thus far have been designed to damage our party as much as possible before the general. Why else have so many of them, so early, and why else would they be structured in such an un-serious manner.

So no, I don’t particularly want to see any more of them. The candidates have been campaigning for last spring for crying out loud. This has all gone on long enough already.

WolvenOne on February 6, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Yes we need more debates, especially substantive ones so that the ideas and principles of Conservatism can get a wider audience. Plus it helps to sharpen our candidate for the main event.

Iblis on February 6, 2012 at 3:06 PM

I think we need to debate the need for a poll on the polling of debates.

WisRich on February 6, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Now that I think about it a little more, maybe we can have the following debate :
4 Rs sitting around a big round table, with our Mr Ed and
Mr Andy Levy conducting the discussion

burrata on February 6, 2012 at 3:08 PM

If the RNC picks the venue and the moderator…from now on!
Otherwise…I’d rather they WATERBOARD ME!

KOOLAID2 on February 6, 2012 at 3:09 PM

“The only argument to be made for adding more debates…”
… are the drinking games!

:)

Seven Percent Solution on February 6, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Your poor liver!

KOOLAID2 on February 6, 2012 at 3:11 PM

They are no longer debating issues. Just attacking one another, or the media. It’s not a contest of who is the most clever or who has the best opp research.

We’ve had nearly 20…is that not enough? Frankly 10 is enough.

rubberneck on February 6, 2012 at 3:12 PM

I have watched everyone of the debates, I love them.

jsunrise on February 6, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Enough already. They are worthless at this point.

ObamatheMessiah on February 6, 2012 at 3:13 PM

I think the best answer is a few in the beginning to give some of the less-known candidates a shot. Then perhaps a lull.

With fewer candidates later in the cycle, the responses become more substantive, interesting, and relevant (not just soundbites).

Does anyone really think that the issues that have come up in the most recent debates weren’t going to come up if they didn’t come up in a debate? Does anyone doubt that the candidates have gotten better after each debate? The fact that the polls change so significantly after debates shows they are meaningful.

Let candidates address each other. Don’t let them hide behind moderators.

The alternative is watching a bunch of stump speeches (that is the ultimate in repetitive, low-information politicking).

ChrisL on February 6, 2012 at 3:13 PM

who cares? We need a decent choice for a Republican nominee . . . we don’t have one yet!!!!

Pragmatic on February 6, 2012 at 3:13 PM

The Huntsman/Gingrich 1v1 was a great debate. That’s how the formula should be. Make it like a NCAA sports schedule. Have everybody do at least 4 before the first primary, then add debates between the remainder candidates when some start dropping out.

Daikokuco on February 6, 2012 at 3:15 PM

What more will we possibly find out?

CorporatePiggy on February 6, 2012 at 3:15 PM

Here is a crazy idea! How about a debate moderated by someone who actually wants to see Obama(or any incumbent) be defeated? I’m sure we can find a couple, like the chairman of the RNC for example…..and he could solicit questions from sitting governors in advance! Surely a governor or state legislator would have a much deeper well of knowledge about federal policy to draw from than someone like….Wolf Blitzer. We’ll keep political posturing out of the questions by keeping the authors anonymous.

It’s just so crazy that it might work! The only drawback is we won’t get to see grown men get into rhetorical slap-fights, but that is what the internet is for after all.

Mord on February 6, 2012 at 3:15 PM

I have watched everyone of the debates, I love them.

jsunrise on February 6, 2012 at 3:12 PM

I would rather jam a sharp stick in my eye than watch even one of these debacles.

NoDonkey on February 6, 2012 at 3:16 PM

If the RNC Sarah Palin and/or the Tea Party caucus picks the venue and the moderator…from now on!
Otherwise…I’d rather they WATERBOARD ME!

KOOLAID2 on February 6, 2012 at 3:09 PM

Pragmatic on February 6, 2012 at 3:16 PM

Now that I think about it a little more, maybe we can have the following debate:

4 Rs sitting around a big round table, with our Mr Ed and
Mr Andy Levy conducting the discussion

burrata on February 6, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Can it just be Ed and the four candidates at the table and then you can send Andy over to my house?

“I apologize for nothing.”

Fallon on February 6, 2012 at 3:16 PM

What more will we possibly find out?

CorporatePiggy on February 6, 2012 at 3:15 PM

Bain Capital is more evil than Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

joey24007 on February 6, 2012 at 3:17 PM

It’s just so crazy that it might work! The only drawback is we won’t get to see grown men get into rhetorical slap-fights, but that is what the internet is for after all.

Mord on February 6, 2012 at 3:15 PM

I want to see an actual fist fight.

And the first candidate who promises to punch Barack Obama in the balls, gets my vote.

NoDonkey on February 6, 2012 at 3:17 PM

A candidate who survives on free and earned media alone is a sitting duck in the general election, in which candidates are expected to raise money and build turnout and vote-gathering operations.

KingGold on February 6, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Yes, absolutely, because it is the individual, not the whole of the party that accomplishes that in the general.

astonerii on February 6, 2012 at 3:17 PM

Only if Wolf Blitzer and Brian Williams moderate the rest of the debates.

joey24007 on February 6, 2012 at 3:17 PM

Can it just be Ed and the four candidates at the table and then you can send Andy over to my house?

“I apologize for nothing.”

Fallon on February 6, 2012 at 3:16 PM

OK done.
Ed and Gutfeld do the round table dicussion with the 4 Rs.
Levy goes to your home after getting out of my home …
:)

burrata on February 6, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Ron Paul would like more, it’s his primary source of income these days.

NoDonkey on February 6, 2012 at 3:21 PM

what happens when the 2012 primary cycle and its debates collide with the 2016 primary cycle and its debates?

What if some of the same candidates are running?

Strange…

hmm…

joey24007 on February 6, 2012 at 3:22 PM

I have watched everyone of the debates, I love them.

jsunrise on February 6, 2012 at 3:12 PM

dude, you need to get a life…:-)

RedInMD on February 6, 2012 at 3:22 PM

I want to see an actual fist fight.

And the first candidate who promises to punch Barack Obama in the balls, gets my vote.

NoDonkey on February 6, 2012 at 3:17 PM

Fistfights all all well and good, but we’ll never sway independents that way.

/s

Mord on February 6, 2012 at 3:22 PM

More debates…

… but they should all focus on Obowma, his failed policies, the cooking of the books, his over reach of power, and the trampling of the Constitution.

More, not less…

Seven Percent Solution on February 6, 2012 at 3:22 PM

The Huntsman/Gingrich 1v1 was a great debate. That’s how the formula should be.

Daikokuco on February 6, 2012 at 3:15 PM

As was the Cain/Gingrich debate. Gingrich has asked Romney twice in the past 6 weeks to participate in this style of debate, he has declined.

Flora Duh on February 6, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Also there should be a Jeopardy Tournament Special as part of the debates. I’d love to see these idiots unmasked for the empty suits they actually are.

Daikokuco on February 6, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Seven Percent Solution on February 6, 2012 at 3:01 PM

+ 100..:)

Dire Straits on February 6, 2012 at 3:23 PM

And the first candidate who promises to punch Barack Obama in the balls, gets my vote.

NoDonkey on February 6, 2012 at 3:17 PM

How can one punch something which does not exist?

burrata on February 6, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Fistfights all all well and good, but we’ll never sway independents that way.

/s

Mord on February 6, 2012 at 3:22 PM

Pool cues?

Dueling pistols?

Chainsaws?

What do Americans want?

NoDonkey on February 6, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Mord on February 6, 2012 at 3:22 PM

Bleh! it should read “Fist fights are all well and good”

Mord on February 6, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Unless the debates are substantive, I don’t need to see more to determine that I don’t like any of the candidates. I know that already. But a substantive debate might give a little more insight into what one of them actually thinks and might do if elected. The downside is potentially providing soundbytes for Obama that might be taken out of context…but that is happening already.

DRayRaven on February 6, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Yes, absolutely, because it is the individual, not the whole of the party that accomplishes that in the general.

astonerii on February 6, 2012 at 3:17 PM

It’s the party apparatus’ job to help all of its candidates win, not to act as fundraising proxy and drag the top of the ticket over the finish line. A candidate who’s got no campaign organization now is going to have no campaign organization in the fall.

And, I hasten to add, it’s the anti-establishmentarian candidates who profit the most from the debates. The RNC and Crossroads are most likely going to be the heavy lifters in any case. So, basically, you’re saying that you’re going to depend on the establishment GOP and Karl Rove himself to ensure victory. Okay, then.

KingGold on February 6, 2012 at 3:25 PM

And the first candidate who promises to punch Barack Obama in the balls, gets my vote.

NoDonkey on February 6, 2012 at 3:17 PM
How can one punch something which does not exist?

burrata on February 6, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Where they would be.

I’m sure he’s got something painful there.

NoDonkey on February 6, 2012 at 3:25 PM

The REAL issue is not about having more of fewer debates – the REAL issue is NOT having GOP debates degraded and made into a farce with socialist media stooges and puppets of the d-cRAT socialist party being moderators and questioners.

TeaPartyNation on February 6, 2012 at 3:27 PM

What do Americans want?

NoDonkey on February 6, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Mr. SMOD, if our voting habits are to be believed.

Mord on February 6, 2012 at 3:27 PM

No.

There’s nothing new that can be said and the probability of petty personal attacks increase each debate.

Any additional day this primary lasts, it’s a bonus for the Democrats and Obama. An additional debate to have Newt and his toxic and destructive presence poisoning the GOP brand is a lottery for them.

Gingrich already has Clinton’s reelection under his belt. Now he’s aiming for Obama’s reelection.

joana on February 6, 2012 at 3:29 PM

The RNC and Crossroads are most likely going to be the heavy lifters in any case. So, basically, you’re saying that you’re going to depend on the establishment GOP and Karl Rove himself to ensure victory. Okay, then.

KingGold on February 6, 2012 at 3:25 PM

No no, you got me mixed up with a sane person. I would much rather have Bain Capital and wall street do that. I mean, they can totally be counted on to be doing it for the country.

astonerii on February 6, 2012 at 3:29 PM

If you haven’t noticed, policy is not a topic at these debates. The moderators (I just love that name) instigate a cat fight and egg it on as much as possible only to expose embarrassing positions and personal history of the GOP candidates.

I think the last policy that was a part of a debate was Cain’s “9-9-9″ plan.

BobMbx on February 6, 2012 at 3:00 PM

And Fox is one of the worst offenders. Those knuckleheads are practically cackling up there when they’re trying to start a fight.

Dack Thrombosis on February 6, 2012 at 3:30 PM

I argue that the deeper discussion should be whether debates are the best way to pick a president.

When JFK beat Nixon in the very first televised debate because he was more photogenic (radio listeners generally felt Nixon won), an ugly Pandora’s Box was opened.

One statement that Rick Perry made in his own defense resonated with me, something like “we already have a great debater in the White House and look where that got us.”

No more debates, thanks.

Drained Brain on February 6, 2012 at 3:30 PM

And Fox is one of the worst offenders. Those knuckleheads are practically cackling up there when they’re trying to start a fight.

Dack Thrombosis on February 6, 2012 at 3:30 PM

its all about the ratingzzzzzz

joey24007 on February 6, 2012 at 3:32 PM

Should we have more debates in this primary cycle?

Yes! Your’s, Ed. How’s that coming, BTW?

We ought to have four of those, just to cleanse the campaign of the rotten taste the Legacy media has left in my mouth from their efforts up to now.

Dusty on February 6, 2012 at 3:34 PM

Only if you insist upon giving “conservatism” the worst possible airing before the American people…..so yes! 5 more!

libfreeordie on February 6, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Nope. But this makes us in the minority of people who are passionate about politics. For most, they are passionate about partisanship.

libfreeordie on February 6, 2012 at 2:39 PM

You lie!

Ditkaca on February 6, 2012 at 3:34 PM

No no, you got me mixed up with a sane person. I would much rather have Bain Capital and wall street do that. I mean, they can totally be counted on to be doing it for the country.

astonerii on February 6, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Someone’s drunk deeply from the class-warfare chalice.

That said, the more money our nominee raises, the more money the party apparatus will be able to dole out to shore up races down-ticket. You know, the races the Mitt-haters are abso-posi-you-better-believe-it sure he’ll lose.

KingGold on February 6, 2012 at 3:36 PM

I’d like the format to be more like the Dating Game:

Candidate Number 3, my economy is sagging and tied up with regulations. What would you do to get my engine going?

Well, first I’d loosen those regs and make sure you’re not held down by burdensome taxes so you’re free to move. With freedom, girl, you don’t need any other stimulation.

Okaaaaaaaaaay! (tee hee!)
Candidate Number 1, same question…

Dexter_Alarius on February 6, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Oh YES definitely!

I’d say at least 100 more!!s/c

Hey, it can’t be worse than the crap that’s on on other channels,

Toddlers and Tairas anyone??

ToddPA on February 6, 2012 at 3:37 PM

And Fox is one of the worst offenders. Those knuckleheads are practically cackling up there when they’re trying to start a fight.

Dack Thrombosis on February 6, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Agree.

Fox News is unwatchable these days.

Unless you like to be perpetually pissed off about something or other.

NoDonkey on February 6, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Yeah – we should have more debates so Obama has a lot of stuff to put in his campaign ads.

ArthurMachado on February 6, 2012 at 3:42 PM

ToddPA on February 6, 2012 at 3:37 PM

why not blend the debates with some of those shows?

joey24007 on February 6, 2012 at 3:44 PM

And Fox is one of the worst offenders. Those knuckleheads are practically cackling up there when they’re trying to start a fight.

Dack Thrombosis on February 6, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Agree.

Fox News is unwatchable these days.

Unless you like to be perpetually pissed off about something or other.

NoDonkey on February 6, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Agree – FoxNews is terrible about trying create controversy so they improve their numbers. Not a lot of intelligent analysis there either unless Brit Hume is talking.

lhuffman34 on February 6, 2012 at 3:45 PM

There is a good argument that we’ve already had too many.

Way too many so far, and with no apparent thought to the real goal: winning in November.

The only way there should be even one more debate is if the format can be changed to something that takes control of the debate away from the media. If a decent model could emerge that could be promoted for the fall, then it would be worthwhile.

EconomicNeocon on February 6, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Pragmatic on February 6, 2012 at 3:16 PM

I like yours better!

KOOLAID2 on February 6, 2012 at 3:48 PM

Yes – more debates- but with a twist. Each debate they should have one guest celebrity to add some dimension, some excitement. Like Roseanne maybe ?

FlaMurph on February 6, 2012 at 3:49 PM

Hey, Ed, how’s that Hot Air debate idea coming? That’s the debate we need to see!

Shump on February 6, 2012 at 3:49 PM

why not blend the debates with some of those shows?

joey24007 on February 6, 2012 at 3:44 PM

Now that’s entertainment!!!

ToddPA on February 6, 2012 at 3:49 PM

Agree – FoxNews is terrible about trying create controversy so they improve their numbers. Not a lot of intelligent analysis there either unless Brit Hume is talking.

lhuffman34 on February 6, 2012 at 3:45 PM

My favorite is when they pull some completely irrelevant, unknown individual out of a hat and talk about what they said yesterday.

It’s the 15 minutes of hate Orwell spoke of.

Not that they originated the practice, they just perfected it.

I personally do not care if some celebrity or other, with no power over my life, says something insanely stupid.

If people follow celebrities, they’re voting Democrat anyway.

NoDonkey on February 6, 2012 at 3:50 PM

The problem with the debates is that we are not hearing anything new. So voters that have paid attention to the debates have settled on their candidates of choice and it is now just a forum for DNC and opponent ads if any of the candidates makes a mistake.

cd98 on February 6, 2012 at 3:50 PM

Only if Obama has to play too.

talkingpoints on February 6, 2012 at 3:51 PM

I may have a bias here because I think Romney is the least objectionable of the candidates, so I’m happy that the race is pretty much over, but I really don’t see any point to continuing the debates at the current time.

There have been 19, and they worked to demonstrate Rick Perry’s inadequacies as a presidential candidate.

Mister Mets on February 6, 2012 at 3:56 PM

please “god” no more…

Your Mamma loves me on February 6, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Now that’s entertainment!!!

ToddPA on February 6, 2012 at 3:49 PM

Howard Stern, that British guy Simon and Kate and her 8 or 12 kids can be moderators.

joey24007 on February 6, 2012 at 3:58 PM

Yes – more debates- but with a twist. Each debate they should have one guest celebrity to add some dimension, some excitement. Like Roseanne maybe ?

FlaMurph on February 6, 2012 at 3:49 PM

They should all debate the “Rev.” Al Sharpton. If any one of them looks bad after that they are automatically out.

dmn1972 on February 6, 2012 at 3:59 PM

Oh please. It’s getting like watching Obama. These people are way over-exposed. At this point, those who can’t muster enough votes are just hoping for some sort of gaff they can jump all over. Come on admit it… do you really think you are going to learn anything new at this point? If you say, yes, I think you’re kidding yourself.

rhombus on February 6, 2012 at 4:02 PM

Yes, there should’ve been more debates as more of the candidates dropped out of the race.

The problem was too many debates with too many candidates. Since the race became a four-man show, there’s only been three debates, most of which have been filled with Mitt vs. Newt questions.

Aizen on February 6, 2012 at 4:05 PM

dude, you need to get a life…:-)

RedInMD on February 6, 2012 at 3:22 PM

Holy crap! There’s three of us now.

Where you “at”, HON?

Laura in Maryland on February 6, 2012 at 4:17 PM

… are the drinking games!

:)

Seven Percent Solution on February 6, 2012 at 3:01 PM

I’ll lend you my copy of “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”.

Just remember to have enough drinks poured before the final song to get you all the way through “Da Who Doray”.

Laura in Maryland on February 6, 2012 at 4:21 PM

Yes, we need to see more from these candidates
Yes, but only if format changes to actual substantive debate
No, we have enough on the schedule now
No, we should get rid of the debates still on the schedule
Unsure/no opinion

You left one off:

Not only no, but hell no! Please Lord deliver us from this scourge!

There. That about covers it.

rogaineguy on February 6, 2012 at 4:30 PM

Very little has come from the debates that you couldn’t already get from campaign ads. I don’t need to see more of them.

In fact, if Romney is the nominee there really isn’t any point in Romney debating Obama. It’d be like watching either of them stand in front of their LSM mirrors preening like idiots.

Wolfmoon on February 6, 2012 at 4:35 PM

Sam Kinison: No, No, Noooooo!!!

slickwillie2001 on February 6, 2012 at 4:36 PM

How about some substantive questions on issues about the economy (jobs, inflation, energy prices, tax policy, regulations); about foreign policy generally and in specific hot-button places; about energy policy; about the security of our borders; and about the limitations of the federal government and its role in relation to state government?

How about we not use news personality moderators and instead use representative experts from think tanks? Since these are Republican debates, the experts should come from Republican/conservative/libertarian think tanks.

How about we stop the game-show, one-minute-manager response times and allow the candidates to elaborate on their answers and rebut each other with facts, not slogans and soundbites?

O/T JPeterson: I missed your late bid the other night to get in contact and chat. Why not set up a throwaway gmail account, and I will be glad to share my observations from travel.

onlineanalyst on February 6, 2012 at 4:39 PM

They can ask them a new question: “What time is it?”

Shain1611 on February 6, 2012 at 4:39 PM

I can’t watch the debates–no TV. But I read about them. I think they should continue but with a new format.

Each candidate should have 5-10 minutes for a monologue, like the radio talk show hosts or the late night TV “stars”.

Then the candidates can debate one another on the points brought up in their monologues. No questions from the moderators, they act only as referees, seeing to it that each candidate gets equal time.

It would be difficult to find moderators who are not biased. A liberal moderator in a Republican debate is a fox in the henhouse. In a debate among Republicans the moderator should at least be a Republican, preferably one who is not openly supporting any candidate. Hard to do, I admit.

The contraception question took me aback. It was irrelevent, stupid. If I had been asked a question like that in a presidential debate, I would not have answered it. Instead I would have stated one of my campaign points. You don’t have to answer a question just because someone asks it.

EL on February 6, 2012 at 4:43 PM

More debates…

… but they should all focus on Obowma, his failed policies, the cooking of the books, his over reach of power, and the trampling of the Constitution.

More, not less…

Seven Percent Solution on February 6, 2012 at 3:22 PM

I like your idea. Why not have the candidates discuss/critique decisions and policies of the Obama administration? The candidates would have to identify the flaws and what they would do differently.

onlineanalyst on February 6, 2012 at 4:49 PM

How about we not use news personality moderators and instead use representative experts from think tanks? Since these are Republican debates, the experts should come from Republican/conservative/libertarian think tanks.
onlineanalyst on February 6, 2012 at 4:39 PM

true.

its not a general election debate.

joey24007 on February 6, 2012 at 4:50 PM

And I don’t want the candidates to slough off the points by saying, “Go to my website.” If the candidate is familiar enough with his policy positions, he should be able to hit the high points and explain why they are workable and good for the national interest.

onlineanalyst on February 6, 2012 at 4:53 PM

Only if Alan Colmes is the moderator……….

*ducks*

BacaDog on February 6, 2012 at 4:56 PM

Actual debates would be extremely useful.

The farces where the left-wing “moderators” make up stuff on the fly and actually become participants in the discussion are completely USELESS: we all know what George Step-on-all-of-us thinks, and none of us cares!!!

Debates require that ALL candidates get the same questions…IN ADVANCE!!! Debates also require that any discussion or argument be AMONG THE CANDIDATES during their allotted time for responses: the moderator should NOT BE ALLOWED TO ENTER THE DISCUSSION AT ALL!!!

If this kind of reasonable forum can be established, debates would be extremely useful.

As far as I’m concerned, we have NOT HAD ANY DEBATES: the exercises so far have been nothing but irrelevant prattling, with non-participant liberals lobbing their talking points in (as though we don’t hear them way too often already each ‘newscast’). The WORST part of this has been the obvious prejudice for certain candidates and against other candidates, and the freezing of certain candidates out of the discussion entirely by the format and/or the leftist ‘moderator’: this is extremely counterproductive, and works AGAINST the process!!!

landlines on February 6, 2012 at 4:56 PM

How about we not use news personality moderators and instead use representative experts from think tanks? Since these are Republican debates, the experts should come from Republican/conservative/libertarian think tanks.
onlineanalyst on February 6, 2012 at 4:39 PM

true.

its not a general election debate.

joey24007 on February 6, 2012 at 4:50 PM

Not only that, but the genuine philosophy of the party or of conservatism or of libertarianism would be made clear and not caricatured by a Lefty newsreader posturing as a
concerned journalist. Real issues phrased by real representation might open up the eyes and minds of the general election voter.

onlineanalyst on February 6, 2012 at 4:58 PM

More debates? Is this woman a sadist? The so called debates are worse than watching, “Are you smarter than a fifth grader”. They suck. They are not “debates” and to label them as such is a fraud. They are 30 second sound bites by candidates responding to some asinine liberal T.V. irrelevant jerk. We don’t need no stinkin’ debates, in primaries or general elections. This ain’t American Idol. The problem with the so called debates is that we are looking for a TV personality and not a POTUS. Enough of this pop culture crap.

they lie on February 6, 2012 at 5:04 PM

Yes, but only if format changes to actual substantive debate.

Dr Evil on February 6, 2012 at 5:09 PM

How about if short-clip excerpts of Obama’s speeches, formal and campaign ones be played, and the candidates puncture the flaws in reasoning and the downright fabrications made in them?

Obama has the bully pulpit and a complacent, complicit media. How about a chance for the candidates to rebut the nonsense?

onlineanalyst on February 6, 2012 at 5:13 PM

landlines on February 6, 2012 at 4:56 PM

Agree and well-said!

How about each candidate hosts Rush’s radio show for a week, where they field questions from conservative pundits (like Thomas Sowell, Victor Davis Hanson, Frank Gaffney, et. al.) and even other talk radio hosts (like Rush, Dennis Prager, Levin, et. al.) as well as everyday conservative listeners?

Never gonna happen of course, but would be telling (plus they’d have to rebroadcast during the evenings for those unable to listen in during the day).

ShainS on February 6, 2012 at 5:21 PM

And here are some points that the GOP contenders should be hammering the preening Presi-dunce on re the labor statistics: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/290274/happy-days-are-here-again-peter-kirsanow

onlineanalyst on February 6, 2012 at 5:23 PM

Not only that, but the genuine philosophy of the party or of conservatism or of libertarianism would be made clear and not caricatured by a Lefty newsreader posturing as a
concerned journalist. Real issues phrased by real representation might open up the eyes and minds of the general election voter.

onlineanalyst on February 6, 2012 at 4:58 PM

the current debate set up does not allow for any philosophical debate or any argument over political theory, that’s for sure.

joey24007 on February 6, 2012 at 5:31 PM

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