Speaking of Stephanopoulos, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus hinted at the real motivation behind the RNC’s desire to cut down on the total number of debates, on ABC This Week: “I’m trying to get a hold of a primary process and a debate debacle that, as you know, I’ve called a traveling circus,” Priebus said.
And a traveling circus is exactly what the 2012 Republican presidential primary was. From Herman Cain to Newt Gingrich to Michele Bachmann, the GOP field was chock full of personalities that had no real chance of winning the nomination, or advancing a larger cause, but instead were clearly only there because they wanted to build their own celebrity and the TV cameras at the debate helped them do it.
So, yes, while internal policy debates are healthy for a party, and they can help sharpen the debating skills of the eventual nominee, too many debates can attract the wrong kind of candidate that makes the entire process full of clowns. Ultimately, however, it will be up to the frontrunners of 2016 to control the process by choosing which debates to skip.