Last night in Texas, presidential candidates Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich got together for a Lincoln-Douglas debate divided into three thirty-minute sections devoted entirely to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. If you missed it, it is well worth the time (you can watch the video on C-SPAN here): instead of the many-candidates, many-topics format that showcases the varying viewpoints but doesn't quite attack the heart of the issues, Cain and Gingrich got down to brass tacks on the big three entitlement programs that are slowly robbing us all blind.
The debate actually fell away from the precise Lincoln-Douglas style, but for Newt Gingrich especially, who's likely hoping to channel some Cainiacs and Anyone-But-Romney voters in his direction, this mano-a-mano format was very much his forte. He was able to get into serious policy detail on entitlement reform and talk up his old-guard experience to his wonkish heart's content, and while Cain didn't have quite the handle on the specifics that Newt did, this was overall a great discussion that hammered away at President Obama and the Democrats.
I'm hoping we'll get to see more debates of this type, between two candidates and covering a specific topic, as it stripped away much of the hullabaloo of production value, aggressive moderators, and in-fighting dramatics.