Moderating Extremists


Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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17 Responses

  1. Avatar Koz says:

    Hugh has a point but it’s pretty weak and for me at least gets swallowed up in other considerations.

    First of all, on the Republican side the real issue with the debates isn’t who but when. In contrast to 2008, the GOP front tier of candidates look pretty weak but the underlying brand is strong. Our side needs to let events develop for the next year or so that the GOP base and would-be candidates can evaluate each other based on real moves in the game instead of more-or-less irrelevant soundbites.

    When the debates do come, I don’t want Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity or Levin anywhere near them. Their personas are too bombastic and suck all the oxygen out of the room. We need moderators who can set the table and let the candidates talk. (For the same reason, a debate hosted by Rachel Maddow and Katrina Vandenheuvel might be interesting, but Keith Olbermann and Michael Moore are completely unwatchable.) Medved is much better and for that matter so is Hewitt himself.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      Re: “In contrast to 2008” (and I assume you mean by ‘our side’ you mean Republicans and/or conservatives – and to be clear, with respect, this is not ‘my side’) — my impression so far is that the Republican ‘top tier’ candidates are virtually the same ones that ran in ’08 – Romney, Huckabee, Paul are all going to be in the mix again. McCain obviously won’t, and Giuliani and Thompson probably won’t either, but I’d have a hard time calling either of the last two ‘top tier’ the way they ran their campaigns.

      I do fully endorse everything written by Mark Thompson; a really good piece of analysis.Report

      • Avatar Koz says:

        I don’t anticipate Ron Paul being a candidate this cycle. As far as the bigger point goes, for the last cycle we had McCain, Paul, Romney and Guiliani plus a few others as candidates. And for various reasons they were not likely Presidents, but at the very least they were all accomplished men, as opposed to the hacks and time-servers the other team had.

        This year, the stakes are higher: a good Republican candidate will probably win. We have Palin, Gingrich, Romney and Huckabee in the first tier. I think Romney is the best of these four but I’m not super-excited about any of them. The second tier of candidates is pretty strong, I’d like to them get their fair shot.Report

  2. Avatar Kyle Cupp says:

    I think I agree with you. Levin and the rest wouldn’t be my first choice for conservative moderators, but they would bring benefits to the discussion not brought by your garden variety “debate” moderators, as you note.

    It would also be interesting to see how the candidates relate or distance themselves from the radio hosts while in the difficult position of being grilled by conservative opinion leaders while also being watched by all the politically interested voters.Report

  3. Avatar Matt says:

    Hewitt and the people he names are clowns, but that doesn’t make this a bad idea, provided that the right kind of person could be found. George Will would be good, not least because he’d treat the candidates with the condescension they deserve.Report

  4. Avatar tom van dyke says:

    ” Andrew Sullivan quickly moves to mock said member of America’s Most Easily Mocked Pundits™ for this facially absurd suggestion…”

    Excitable Andy?Report

  5. Avatar MFarmer says:

    Beck would do a good job.Report

  6. Avatar North says:

    I’m all for it. Anything would be better than the current standard moderator.Report

    • Avatar ThatPirateGuy says:

      As long as they don’t ask a candidate dumb questions like will you promise not to run negative ads? How could they be worse?Report

  7. Avatar Seamus says:

    IIRC, one of the Kennedy-Nixon debates was moderated by Jack Parr, so maybe we ought to have David Letterman or Jay Leno moderate the debates in 2012.Report

  8. Avatar James K says:

    Perhaps we should take Alex Tabarrok’s suggestion of replacing presidential debates with a game show.Report