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May 20, 2015

Atrocious: FoxNews Will Limit Debate Participation to Ten, Based On... The Polls

What the hell good are the polls right now? People don't know enough to make informed judgments yet. That is the point of a debate -- and that's the point of a first debate, surely.

We are in the very beginnings of this process, and FoxNews is using polls of uninformed people (and I don't mean that negatively; most of us are uniformed at this point) to decide who is allowed to run for President.

And yes, this poll -- based on nothing but name recognition -- will in fact knock five or six people out of the contest entirely. Once you're excluded from a debate, you are labeled "fringe" forever -- and good luck trying to get free media, volunteers, and donors once you've been labeled fringe.

It is not the point of a news organization to make the news -- as FoxNews would be doing here. Based on their silly, meaningless polls, they would declare ten candidates as viable, and five or six non-viable.

Among those who'd be excluded at the moment: Bobby Jindal, long considered the future of the party, and generally acknowledged to be among the most policy-savvy in the entire party.

Rick Perry, former governor of the state that's responsible for half the new jobs in America since Obama's inauguration. I know Perry shit the bed last time, but he says that was due to just getting off back surgery and being on pain pills, and I'd like to know if that's true or not. Because if he's sharper now -- he's a real good candidate.

Carly Fiorina, former HP executive with a great biography and, she says, a thirst for Hillary Clinton's corrupt, murky blood. Well, she doesn't put it that way, but she says she can take her on.

These are serious candidates. Fox is proposing to exclude them, why?

Just to have a "normal" debate where all the candidates are on the stage at once?

For one thing, this isn't a normal year. We have a lot of serious candidates. So do we stick with the usual, or do we adjust our practices to take into consideration the unusualness of this season?

I think the latter. My proposal is that they split debate night into two panels, over two nights. (Or two panels on one night-- but that would be a long night, with around three hours total debate time plus time in between.)

The top six in the polls would do a random draw to be split between the panels, three and three. Everyone else would do another random draw to determine which panel they'd be in.

You'd end up having about 6-8 people per panel, which is a workable number.

Note that the Fox "solution" solves little -- having ten people on the stage, answering the same questions, will be a huge clusterf*ck! It's barely an improvement over having fifteen -- do the math. Assuming about an hour, all told, answering questions (once the questions themselves, commercials, and basic traffic direction are excluded), ten people would have about six minute each to answer questions.

Fifteen people would have four minutes each.

So we're fighting to get "four minutes of actual answers per candidate" up to six minutes?

This is an exceptional year in Republican politics, and conservative thinking, because virtually everything is up for grabs.

In the last post, I talked about the Patriot Act. The party is split between some who want the full Patriot Act back, some who want the USA Freedom Act, and some who want the entire program scrapped as an unconstitutional invasion of privacy.

There has not been an open debate between wildly divergent points of view like that in... forever?

At least since Reagan.

And it's not just that -- some ex-Republicans, like myself, actively want to increase taxes on the wealthy and corporations. (Well, I don't want cuts for them, at least.) My reasoning? I'm tired of the Ruling Class fucking over the rest of the party except when it comes to one thing, their taxation levels. I'm interested in some punishment, some discipline, and a message going forward.

I don't get yelled at a lot when I propose this, either.

This is an extremely fluid time in American politics, at least on the wide-open right, and it is precisely at this time that we do not need an Establishment, Corporatist entity like Fox artificially gaming the field just so that the future of our nation can fit into the Time Slot allotted to it.

We support and respect the decision Fox has made, which will match the greatest number of candidates we have ever had on a debate stage, RNC chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.

Of course you do, Reince. Because the important thing is to keep the party nice and corporate and orderly, right?

The Republican Party needs to have a debate. We should have that debate, instead of falling into our customary pattern of letting the Establishment, Corporatist Ruling Class decided the parameters of our debate for us, so we can choose between Option A and Pretty Much Just Like Option A Option B.

Fox News should have a debate with all the candidates. All of them. And if that means tweaking the all-important convention, then so be it.

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posted by Ace at 06:38 PM

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