In case you were thinking that the GOP would-be nominees had pretty much been obliged to exchange pleasantries with every single talking head on every cable network, think again. Here’s the schedule of debates left in 2011:
Saturday, November 12: CBS, the National Journal and the South Carolina Republican Party hosts a debate at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina at 8 PM EST.
Saturday, November 19: The Thanksgiving Family Forum rolls out at the First Federated Church in Des Moines at 5 PM EST.
Tuesday, November 22: The American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation inexplicably team up with CNN–how many swings and misses does CNN get this debate season before someone realizes they are incapable of running anything remotely like a fair debate?-in Washington D.C., at 8 PM EST.
Saturday, December 10: ABC and the Republican Party of Iowa bring the candidates back to Des Moines, this time to Drake University, at 9 PM EST.
Thursday, December 15: It is Fox News’ turn, partnered again with the Republican Party of Iowa, but this time at the Sioux City Convention Center, again at 9 PM EST.
Monday, December 19: This one is guaranteed to be the crowning glory of smug media. Iowa PBS plus the Newshour of national PBS fame, plus the Des Moines Register and assisted by Google and You Tube wrap up the year’s debating marathon. Because of Christmas shopping no doubt, this debate gets underway at 4 PM EST.
Thus six more made-for-TV gathering, managed almost completely by Beltway-Manhattan media elites that, as Newt Gingrich pointed out, don’t know history or economics, but who have done a wonderful job trying to embarrass all the candidates when they weren’t attempting to start fights between them.
What would be refreshing would be if the front-runner (a 70.6% probability of nomination at InTrade this morning) Mitt Romney and the two other plausible candidates, Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Speaker Newt Gingrich were to make a joint deal followed by a joint announcement that while they have no objection to the schedule, they will not be appearing unless (1) every answer in every situation be allowed at least three minutes in response from everyone called upon to speak, and (2) the candidates get to choose the individuals who will ask at least half of the questions to assure that issues of concern to Republican primary voters finally get an opportunity not to hear the prejudices and often hilarious biases of the MSM repackaged as questions but rather get to hear real questions about the serious problems the president has bequeathed his successor.