Come for the Politics, Stay for the Pathologies

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why Debates Don’t Matter

For Republicans that is.

Wood-TV poses the question “Do Debates Matter?” Specifically, the question is whether it matters if Michigan Gubernatorial candidates Rick Synder (R) and Virg Bernero (D) conduct formal debates ahead of November’s election.

The two have been haggling over terms and conditions of the debates since the primary. In a nutshell, Bernero, a career politician, wants “25” debates, since this is what he’s trained his entire career for.  Synder, an entrepreneur/businessman,  suggested a more reasonable 3. But as of last Friday Bernero objected to his terms so Synder  said forget it,  I’ll do 25  townhalls and talk directly to the citizens.  And then things got real interesting, with Bernero crashing one of Synder’s townhall meetings.

Bernero complained to local talk show host Paul W. Smith that Snyder “was trying to dictate the rules of the debates for his own benefit.” To which I say “hear, hear!” It’s about time Republicans caught on to the dynamics of liberal weighted debates. Or more to the point, it’s time they did something about it instead of carping behind the scenes.

Synder told Smith, correctly, that debates are primarily “sound bites and bickering.” Something that someone from the private sector apparently finds far more useless and distasteful than do career politicians.

These staged photo ops haven’t been real debates for years, not since the MSM choose sides and figured out that they could fraudulently assume the mantle of neutrality, unquestioned by anyone. Everything from the location of the debates (liberal universities are a favorite), to the audience to the moderator – never mind the questions – is intended to help advance the liberal cause and hurt the conservative case.

The cute contra-dance done by Democrats in the last Presidential election where their candidates all refused to participate in a Fox sponsored debate indicates all too clearly that they understand this dynamic – and are unwilling to participate when its not in play.

So I would like to suggest a new Republican campaign strategy for all future elections: Just say no.

“No” to participating in the blatantly biased MSM “debate” game. No to debates sponsored by “nonpartisan” entities with clear left-leaning agendas, such as the League of Women Voters. No to “debates”  sponsored or moderated by anyone from “nonpartisan” leftist media outlets like NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, Ms.NBC or, especially, PBS.

Such arenas have been for a very long time speed traps set up for anyone other than the chosen liberal Democrat. If you think otherwise, just ask Hillary Clinton.

While the very best can manage to beat them at this game, e.g. Reagan and Cheney, the majority of non-liberals succumb to  the perils of the Journolist echo chamber treatment. When 90% of the debate staff are actively working to get “their guy” elected, how do you imagine everyone is going to get a fair hearing? When questions are designed to highlight the merits of liberal positions that “tested favorably” and focus attention on whatever conservative position is showing up as unpopular, it is not – to borrow a liberalism – an even playing field.  You hardly need to be paranoid to realize this, you just have to be paying attention. And know their cute little games.

Honestly, it’s amazing Republicans ever win any elections under  current rules. But with the arrival of the new media in full force via Fox News,  right-friendly Internet news sources, blogs and social media sites, there’s less and less reason to play by the stacked deck rules of the old media.

So again, my advice to the party of No: keep it up. Someone has to just say no to the MSM.