PLEASE GO TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS DIARY FOR THE UPDATE, which demonstrates RNC stupidity ( Reince…tell us WHY you’re agreeing to this)
The NY Times, and other members of the MSM, are now busy wondering just what the RNC is going to do with all those presidential candidates when the debates start.
Well, actually, that’s not quite right. More likely they’re busy chortling at the problems this is supposedly going to pose for those poor Republicans.
As if they really care.
However, if handled properly, it poses a unique opportunity for Republicans to take advantage of the situation, and put it to good use.
(Note: I was going to cite the old maxim, “when given lemons, make lemonade,” but it somehow didn’t work in the context of this discussion.)
A little background first. The GOP 2012 election post-mortem strongly suggested that Romney was hurt by the long, and chaotic debate sequence. As a result, the RNC has taken control of the process, limiting the number of debates, and exercising control over the sponsors ( no MSNBC) and the moderators/questioners ( no Candy Crowley)
With the first debate scheduled in August, and potentially some 16 candidates wanting to participate, it would seem to some observers that the GOP has themselves a problem.
First, let’s remind ourselves of the objectives for the debates:
1. To let the candidates distinguish themselves from each other, and to introduce themselves to the voters.
2. To let Republican voters ( and others in states that still stupidly allow open primaries) decide who to vote for in the several primaries.
3.To hopefully allow Republicans to convey their conservative message of hope for America’s future to whatever segment of the population that is paying attention this early on, and to do so without the biased filters of the MSM
So, what’s going on this coming August?
Hillary will likely have not yet spoken to the press. The Democrat contest is a sleep inducing, stultifyingly boring one.
We Republicans have the field all to ourselves.
So, for the first three debates, August, Sept, and Oct, on FOX, CNN and CNBC, the RNC should tell the sponsors that we’re going to have THREE debates each cycle, one right after the other…three days running.
There will be no more than 5 candidates on the stage at any one event. ( If there are indeed 16 early on who have formally declared, and established committees, then it would be a 5-5-6 format.
Erick Erickson had a great column a while back “Tired of it already” in which he expressed the hope that the GOP candidates not waste time bickering with each other, or attacking Hillary incessantly. Rather, he wants them to paint a picture of what they each hope America will look like at the end of their first term.
It’s brilliant, and it’s what we should do for the first debate cycles. And they only have to be one hour long…to keep the audience focused.
With only 5 maximum on stage each time, for the first series, on FOX, divide it into two sections, one on domestic affairs, the other on foreign policy. It could go something like this:
Each candidate gets a one minute opening statement, to introduce himself. Then, 2 minutes to talk about domestic affairs; their vision. Another 1:30 minute round. Then a two minute round on foreign affairs, followed by another. 1:30 round Then a one minute closing statement. With 5 candidates on stage, that’s 45 minutes.
No need for lengthy questions..just a pledge by each to abide by the rules…not to speak about each other..but rather speak TO the American people about THEIR vision for the country….. the problems we face, and the solutions they would offer us.
Here’s another bonus opportunity.
Among the most popular sporting events on television are the NFL and NBA drafts.
So, assume we have 15 candidates, and three debates in succession. Who appears with who?
Easy. The night before, have a drawing. have all the candidates assembled, and have Preibus pull the names out of a hat. This will generate a lot of attention.
You’ll turn 4 days into a mini-convention, with lots of attendant media coverage.
Here’s a possible schedule, for the first debate, on FOX. Candidates fly into Ohio on Monday. Preibus holds the drawing live on O’Reilly’s show, ( heck , have Mitt pull the names out of the hat) then there’s lots of political panel discussions on O’Reilly, Meghan, and Hannity.
Tuesday, Wed, and Thursday, at 9, the three debates occur. Discussion before and after, as is usual. The other news networks will wrap their coverage around the debate; they’ll give it lots of play.
The Republicans will own the news cycle for 4 days, and they can do it again a month later.
Obviously, this is still in its rough idea form…there’s lots to consider and tweak, but it will work. The cable networks will love it..it gives them something to talk about incessantly.
And there’s nothing else going on in August, unless Israel bombs Iran.
Point is, for at least the first two, if not three debates, RNC should not exclude anyone. We have a superb field this time out. Any one of them, even Jeb, would be far better than Hillary and/or Obama. They each deserve the chance to make their case to the voters early on.
After all, even Gary Johnson had his moment in the sun in 2012. There are no Gary Johnsons in the 2016 field.
After the first two, or three debates, THEN the RNC can use whatever previously disclosed criteria it chooses to winnow the field.
Many have said that there should be fundraising and/or polling minimums in order to stay in the game.
I can’t speak to the money aspect; I lack the expertise. I would however point out the utter, abysmal, and total failure of polls to get even remotely right three recent, and crucial events: The 2014 midterm election, The Israeli election, and the British election just concluded.
I suspect that we may not have a break out candidate until well into next year. It’s more likely early on that you’ll have 3-5 each polling between 15-20%….a wide open field.
So let’s not be too eager to bump anyone just yet. Let them self-select out. Debates like these will show who isn’t ready for prime time, the big leagues. And others will surprise, if not amaze, and zoom into contention via a heightened public awareness.
Rather, let’s use this unique opportunity, coupled with a pathetic Democrat contest, to shape and dominate the political news cycle.
Republican Lemonade tastes delicious, and it’s very refreshing.
Let Hillary suck lemons…
Politico reports that the RNC wants to winnow the field to 9-12 on stage, but most important, each sponsoring network will be allowed to decide who gets to participate.
This just after the George Stephanopoulos mess breaks, and we find out that the new host of CBS’ “Face the Nation” once advised Obama to “stomp out the GOP.
And you’re going to allow these “unbiased” organizations to decide which of our candidates should be allowed to debate?