December 14, 2007


How bad was the last debate in Iowa? So bad that Iowa Republicans want the candidates to use valuable campaign time to add another debate in the week before the Iowa caucus. The Politico reports that we won't see Carolyn Washburn again:

Dissatisfied with the debate here Wednesday that drew widespread scorn, Iowa Republicans will discuss on Friday the possibility of holding another forum before the January 3rd caucuses.

The debate this week, sponsored by the Des Moines Register and Iowa Public Television, was to have been the final gathering of the GOP contenders, but one well-placed Iowa Republican said tonight that they were interested in getting the candidates back together ...

It's uncertain if all of the hopefuls would agree to an additional joint gathering or if there is even time enough to get one scheduled. But that Republicans are even mulling the prospect says much about just how upset they were about a forum that lacked any follow-up questions, avoided any attention on differences and mostly became a chance for the candidates to get their message out.

Well, maybe. The candidates themselves have pressing needs to press the flesh in Iowa, not stand up for another pointless exercise in which they only do damage. Mike Huckabee especially has nothing to gain from another round-robin sound-bite event, even if the contestants in the quiz show get limited to the top tier.

And really, why should anyone bother now? We have watched ten of these debates, and what have been the big takeaways? Fred chastised Washburn over the silliness of hand-voting at a debate, Rudy and Romney tangling over Mitt's lawncare contractor's staff, and the plant life of Hillary Clinton backers. All we learn from these debates is how the candidates do in the pointless format used for political debates.

It reminds me of Charles Schulz's brilliant riposte to the idea that adversity provides opportunity for growth. When Charlie Brown asks what adversity prepares him to face, Lucy says, "More adversity!"

We don't need another game show. Let the candidates speak to the voters, not self-appointed clockwatchers.


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