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This is my first post, so be nice. On the other hand, the screen name is no joke; I’ve been around since the first podcast, months before the site was even launched. I had planned to wait until I retire in a few months before joining, and frankly I was hoping that Rob would get to the point of kneeling, sobbing, and just pleading for people to join. But now I have stuff on my mind …
As I assume everyone knows, the RNC is planning a greatly reduced debate schedule for the 2016 election cycle. The party believes (and without question, many agree) that the large number of debates hurt them in 2012. The committee apparently thought it unwise to give the candidates that many opportunities to say something stupid and waste a lot of valuable campaign time.
On the other hand, many of us (including me) loved having a debate every few days. For political junkies, it was like football season, and there was always another game coming up. For us oddballs, the idea that the schedule will be limited to just three or four debates is a huge disappointment.
There is also the logistics. Republicans are likely to have between 12 and 16 candidates in the running by the time the debates roll around. The opening and closing statements alone could consume more than half of a two-hour debate, leaving time for a bare handful of questions in between. Not the best way to get a good feel for their positions.
Having heard the number “16” on several occasions, and having just lived through another March Madness madness, I had the idea that maybe it would be better to have a modified playoff system. Call it July Madness.
Divide the candidates randomly into four groups. They could get a pretty girl with a ping-pong ball machine, or Reince Priebus could pick names out of a hat. Then hold a debate for each group, one at a time. After the first round, reshuffle the remaining candidates for the next round. Continue as needed, consolidating the number of groups as candidates withdraw, until the last couple of debates among the three or four candidates left after the initial primaries. With only a few candidates in each debate, the viewer would get a real peek-under-the-hood, kick-the-tires look. A chance to really hear what they have to say on a variety of subjects, which is especially important given that several of the candidates aren’t terribly well-known. The schedule won’t be a burden for them–just a debate every month or so. And it limits their exposure in the saying-something-stupid arena.
Plus, best of all, I’ll get at least a dozen debates out of it. Have Fox News host them all: Why let news organizations that work actively to elect Democrats host Republican debates? My panel of choice would be Megyn Kelly, Neil Cavuto, and Greg Gutfeld for the whole series. Megyn Kelly has a solid reputation for asking tough questions. I like Cavuto’s take on business and the economy. And although Gutfeld approaches things in a humorous manner, he’ll ask serious questions in an off-the-wall way, and I want to see how the candidates react to off-the-wall. I want to see if they have a sense of humor, as it tends to be a great indicator of intelligence and flexibility.
So, what do you think? Am I the next chairman of the RNC, or just another lone nut?