A Hot Air debate?

Last night, my friend Peter Ingemi expressed his dissatisfaction with the NBC debate — and the presidential debates in general — by proposing that Hot Air run a Republican primary debate, moderated by yours truly.  Peter says he’s “dead serious” about this:

Just watched yet another GOP debate and was totally unamazed by the lack of questions on fast and furious and BS questions such as: “Why did theBush Tax Cuts fail?”. I think political types are sick of questions from people who want the GOP to fail.

I have a solution:

I suggest Hotair send an invitation to each candidate for a 2 hour debate moderated by Ed Morrissey.

This got quite a response on Twitter last night and this morning.  It even has its own hashtag, #hotairdebate, and it’s been endorsed by the Boss Emeritus, Senate primary candidate Jamie Radtke, and a number of bloggers.  It even got an Instapundit endorsement, who said the proposal “sounds like a winner.”

Well, never let it be said that I would disappoint my friends.  I hereby offer an invitation to the remaining four major Republican candidates to hold an on-line debate sponsored and webcast by Hot Air/Townhall, moderated by myself and a small panel of conservative and center-right bloggers.  The most convenient place to conduct this would be at or around CPAC, which takes place in two weeks or so, and fortunately hits around the middle of a four-week lull in media debates.  I believe all four candidates will be appearing at CPAC, which should make this convenient for them as well. However, I’m certain that we could schedule this at any other time and place where we could have all four on stage at the same time.

I’d change the debate format somewhat, though, to get around the game-show aspect of the 19 previous televised debates.  In November, I wrote about how to make the debate format work better for better answers and improved voter understanding.  The first hour would consist of two head-to-head debates in which the panel would ask the same questions to both pairings, and the second a roundtable discussion with all four candidates present.  This way, we get to treat the candidates with more respect, allow them more time to answer, and start asking questions that really matter to Republicans and other voters today, rather than spend quarter-hours at a time on contraception and Terri Schiavo.

Will the Republicans running for President agree to a forum that actually speaks to the voters they want to convince?  I’ll let you know what answers we get.  In the meantime, I want to thank all our friends for the vote of confidence in proposing this idea.