Too much talk?
By Lisa Fabrizio
As the first primaries draw near, the complaint from both sides of the political aisle is that there are just too many Republican debates. So far there have been around a dozen, with another 13 or so more scheduled through March 2012, coming in all shapes, sizes and formats. And I hope it is not lost on America that the GOP hopefuls have subjected themselves to all manner of abuse by accepting invitations to appear on nearly any venue and network that would have them; in contrast to Democrats who, in 2007, refused to participate in any debate hosted by Fox News.
In truth, it is enjoyable to watch an inspired and intelligent person defend their beliefs against those of others. And that's the best part of these exercises; that the American electorate is seeing new sides of candidates that would not have been apparent in any other setting. Many have been surprised that certain candidates have risen and fallen in the polls based on their debate performances, and this has caused much consternation; particularly from folks who are backing candidates whose tongues are not, shall we say, as nimble as the pen of a scribe.
But should debates determine the party nominee and eventual White House winner? They have, to a large extent, done so in the past. George W. Bush was very good in debates; surprisingly good, some would say. He was articulate, likable and quick on his feet, and he navigated surprise questions without major embarrassment. Conversely, Albert Gore, touted by some to be the best debater since Abe Lincoln, was, when actually debating a warm body, as stiff and wooden as, well, himself. Likewise, love him or hate him, Barack Obama outdueled a moribund John McCain in their meetings, and was thus propelled to victory in the general election.
That is why being a convincing, dynamic debater can cover a multitude of sins and why men like Newt Gingrich and Herm Cain shot up in the polls after successful nights in the debate trenches. In fact, many have said that they would favor any ticket with Gingrich and Cain, if for no other reason than to see that dynamic duo face off against Obama and smokin' Joe Biden in debates.
Of course, some of the debates have not been without fault. I could do without all the superfluous demonstrations of the glories of social media, but they do serve to remind us that we live in the Information Age, one where a candidate had better be capable of articulating his ideas in a cogent way. I doubt that this country will soon produce another communicator like Ronald Reagan, but that doesn't mean that his method -- talking over the media to the American people -- can't still be employed; the more often, the better.
Think about it: back in the ancient days of effective public education, if one wished to teach a particularly important piece of information, the way to impress it on formative and inquiring minds was through careful explanation and constant repetition. In these days of liberal propaganda and indoctrination, the importance of explaining and repeating the conservative message cannot be overstated. The more exposure conservatism receives, the more Americans will come to embrace it; unlike liberalism whose exposed tenets can never withstand the light of day.
Indeed, one of the best things to emerge out of the whole process is Gringrich's delectable undressing of the leftist American media. His scholarly put-downs of the debate panelists are probably, in large part, the reason for his surge in the polls. When he turns his patented glare directly upon his inquisitor, you can't help but feel that the 'journalist' will soon be hoisted with his or her own petard.
And while it's true that the best debater wouldn't necessarily make the best president, it stands to reason that if a candidate is unable to articulate his message in environments where the topics have been preselected, it's doubtful that that the American people will trust him to make quick and decisive judgments when it counts.
So let's let the candidates keep talking and honing their vision of a return to a smaller, more efficient government which will lead to a more prosperous America and more importantly, pointing out the impossibility of same under Barack Obama.