The Campaign Spot

Is GOP Debate Season About to End? Should It?

In the Wednesday Morning Jolt, a look at the effort to recall Scott Walker in Wisconsin, George Lucas’s response to his critics, and then this suggestion that the season of Republican debates may be coming to an end . . .

Will Mitt Romney Start Vetoing More Debates?

The part of me that would like my evenings back is okay with the concept of debate season coming to an end. The part of me that hates seeing the likely 2012 Republican nominee back down from anything is not okay with the appearance that Mitt Romney has had enough of this.

Byron York: “After a debate in which Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney faced attacks from all sides, the Romney campaign says it has not yet accepted invitations to participate in two high-profile debates leading up to the January 31 Florida primary, and a key Romney adviser is expressing fatigue and frustration over what he sees as a never-ending series of GOP debates. ‘There are too many of these,’ Romney strategist Stuart Stevens said after Monday night’s Fox News debate at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. ‘We have to bring some order to it. We haven’t accepted Florida . . . It’s kind of like a cruise that’s gone on too long.’”

“Given the news this week, I’m not sure a “cruise” analogy is a good choice,” quips Ed Morrissey.

Ace doesn’t think Romney will go through with this . . . yet: “I don’t suppose that anyone can disagree too much that there have been too many debates. I wish he had skipped earlier ones, though, because most debates are about him, and you rarely get to hear other people except vis a vis Romney. Maybe his thinking is that, given an apparently wide lead in Florida (Romney 46, Gingrich 20, Santorum 12), he’s got Florida wrapped up and can afford to coast. The problem with that rationale is that the field may not be five-strong when he gets to Florida. Perry or Gingrich or Santorum may drop out by then, and the remaining candidates will get a bump from that. Prediction: He goes to both debates or at least one. Maybe he’ll skip one to make the point that he’s not required to attend every single one of them.”

At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey says that on the question of whether to continue holding them “that is going to be out of Romney’s hands. He might not like getting beat up on stage, but at least he’s there to defend himself. The media will cover the debates whether Romney is there or not, so the only way he could successfully shut down the debates is if he gets the other Republican candidates to also withdraw. They’re practically on life support as it is, so they are certainly not going to pass up an opportunity for national and state-wide coverage in Florida for free. If they show up, Romney has to participate as well, if for no other reason than to keep playing defense and push back a little himself.”

Bruce McQuain says he’s had enough, at least in the current format: “I’m personally tired of the debates. For the most part they’ve delivered more entertainment than information. They’ve devolved into scorekeeping about who got the best shot in on Romney. This is something like the 15th Republican debate and we’re no more enlightened about the serious topics we should be addressing than we were after the 1st.

“If we have to go through more of this debate nonsense, can we have one solely focused on jobs, the economy and the proposed policies each of the candidates would try to have implemented to turn this mess around? Can we hear an intelligent discussion of what the European mess portends and how it will effect us? . . . And can we give them more than 90 seconds to answer? I’m tired of hearing the same old stump speech for the umpteenth time, the usual fall back when there are time limits on answers. If the debate is 2 hours and that means only 2 to 3 questions get asked, but each candidate gets, say 5 to 7 minutes to answer, I’m fine with that.”

Eh, I’m not so certain that some candidates this cycle had a good five to seven minutes worth of thoughts to share on all topics.

To everything there is a season, including “a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.”

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