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    Sending precisely the wrong signal

    Sending precisely the wrong signal

    Whether Rick Perry ends up showing up at the debates or not, this sends precisely the wrong signal.  This is not May or June.  If you want the nomination, you show up to debates in November and December, without hesitation:

    After a series of poor debate performances in the early months of his presidential campaign, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is backing off the upcoming GOP debate schedule, committing to just one of the next three events between now and Nov. 15….

    Perry campaign manager Ray Sullivan said Wednesday night that the debates keep
    candidates from interacting more effectively with voters.

    “When you’ve got eight or nine candidates and 30 seconds to a minute, it takes valuable time away from campaigning in Iowa as those elections approach,” Sullivan said in an interview with CNN. “…There are, I think, 18 more in the planning phases. There’s no way that the candidates can do all those debates.”

    Whoever decided to float this idea has botched it.

    There are only a handful of currently scheduled debates, holding out the bogeyman of 18 more doesn’t help Perry at a critical moment when he is trying to recover.


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    workingclass artist | October 27, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Link to Cain’s 999 Plan
    (most of the details are available in PDF form)

    Most of the issues on Cain’s site are brief summaries but not a lot of substance meat

    John Scotus | October 27, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    There have been too many debates–it is actually quite exhausting, and we are getting into the realm of negative returns. Scheduling so many debates was simply a bad idea.
    Having said that, Perry should be the last one to complain, as it makes him sound like he can’t cut it (and in truth, he can’t). At some point, if Perry were to be the nominee, he would have to stand on a stage and debate Obama. If in a debate he cannot defend his record, show why he is a better candidate than his opponent, or present a clear vision for America, then he does not deserve to be president. As it is, in debates he often seems to have trouble stringing together two coherent sentences, he refuses to answer questions posed to him, he refuses to offer a defense of his record, and he launches personal attacks against his opponents instead of debating policies. Why would anyone want such a man to be president?
    Regarding the fall-out from debate performances, we have to face the fact that many of these candidates were not ready for prime time. No one put a gun to Bachmann’s head and made her make these flaky comments. No one has been forcing Santorum to be whiny and condescending. Aliens are not beaming mind-control waves into Ron Paul’s head to make him start raving like a lunatic. Rick Perry had plenty of time to speak in the last debate–the moderator did not force either Perry or Santorum to rudely cut Romney off. These people have done it to themselves.
    In every election cycle that I remember, we have had debates following identical formats as these, and the candidates did not have this much trouble navigating them. This current crop of candidates simply lacks the skill, character, and experience to even engage in debates where all they are asked to do is offer up superficial soundbites. It should not be difficult to do, but they are not up to it. The nation is hurt because of it.

    Not sure how many election cycles you remember, but this might be instructive:

      John Scotus in reply to Owen J. | October 27, 2011 at 11:46 pm

      Owen J–I see what you are saying. My comment was about the debate format. Many people are blaming the short time allotted to the candidates as though that were the problem. I cannot remember a debate where candidates had a longer time to respond. As for the gotcha questions and the attitude of debate monitors, the candidates themselves have a choice how they will respond. Neither Gingrich nor Romney have been hurt by these debates, because both are on point, largely positive, and giving off the appearance of grace under pressure.

        Owen J in reply to John Scotus. | October 28, 2011 at 12:13 am

        Clearly the time issue is a non-issue. I took “format” in much broader context.

        But the larger point of that article, which I heartily endorse, is that we get the debates we deserve: if we create a Lady Gaga society we will get a Lady Gaga performance.

        And while it’s true the debaters have a choice over how they respond, that still does not make the current debates useful to their alleged purpose.

    damocles | October 27, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    A few debates are fine, especially if they are run by the Heritage Foundation, or an actual entity that wants to give the GOP voters a real chance to see their candidate. However, being offered up to the Lame stream media and the gotcha questions, is hurting ALL the GOP candidates and helping Obama. Even Newt got skewered by Romney on his support of an individual mandate during the last debate knockdown. The Left is using so many debates to diminsh all of our candidates. I can’t get any real interest up for the debates any more as no matter what actually happens in the debate, the MSM are going to spin it for the One anyway. The coverage is not even close to what actually took place.

    workingclass artist | October 28, 2011 at 12:10 am

    Interesting take at Daily Caller…

    “And while there’s no dearth of pundits presenting compelling arguments for why Perry should not go this route — I thought it would be fun to play devil’s advocate.

    Here are some arguments for why skipping some debates might not be so insane:

    1. Debates aren’t targeted. A small percentage of the people watching a given debate on TV are likely, persuadable, and eligible voters who live in the early states. If someone who is already 100 percent committed to, say, Herman Cain watches a debate and Perry performs well, it doesn’t help him. If someone who is a Democrat living in Maryland watches a debate and Perry performs well, it doesn’t help. But when Perry is campaigning in Iowa, he can be pretty sure that he is reaching an audience of voters that might actually help him win. (Granted, the people in the debate hall are typically from early states, but they represent a small percentage of viewers.)

    2. Nobody is saying Perry will skip all the debates. “There are something like 18 (debates) being planned … it seems like doing another dozen or 18 debates is not realistic,” Perry communications director Ray Sullivan told the Houston Chronicle Wednesday. That’s a lot of debates. And by skipping some debates — yet participating in others — Perry can avoid the appearance that he is afraid to debate. What is more, he might generate “buzz” and speculation over whether or not he will participate in a given debate. Lastly, nothing says this is permanent. Perry can try this out. If he gets away with it, he can skip other debates. If he doesn’t get away with it, there will still be plenty of others to attend.

    3. Perry can show he is in control of his campaign — not the MSM. Leaders don’t always allow others to dictate terms to them — they set the agenda. Agreeing to every debate the mainstream media wants to host is reactive. This is an opportunity for Perry to show he is proactively seizing control of his campaign. Why let the mainstream media dictate his campaign strategy?

    4. He can blame the media. From a messaging standpoint, Perry can argue that the debates are being used by the media to gin up internecine squabbles — that Republicans are merely pawns. In fact, he’s already doing that. As Perry recently told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, “… these debates are set up for nothing more than to tear down the candidates.” This is an argument that might actually resonate with some conservatives.

    5. Let’s be honest — debating isn’t playing to Perry’s strong suit. Perry is good on the stump — and is great at retail politics. Instead of spending his time playing to his weakness, why not spend the vast majority of the time between now and the Iowa caucuses playing to his strengths?

    6. What does he have to lose? Perry’s campaign is in trouble. Playing by the rules didn’t work, why not take a few shots down the field and see if he can shake things up?

    7. It’s a tradeoff. Granted, there will be some blowback to this strategy — there is no doubt. But when you factor in the negative impact that a bad debate performance might have — and couple that with the time commitment — it might be a smart tradeoff.

    Note: I’m not arguing that these points are potent enough to overcome the potential downside. As many others have argued, this gambit could make Perry look weak. What is more, it would anger the media — which is typically a bad idea.
    But before casually dismissing this as crazy, it is important to note that there are some good arguments for doing this…”

    Read more:

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    Read more:

      Owen J in reply to workingclass artist. | October 28, 2011 at 2:43 am

      Good analysis. I think the most important point is not letting others dictate strategy.

      One downside to the debates and basic nature of the media campaign itself is — going out on a limb in grossly oversimplifying a complex issue — the question of persuadability. Pundits and the media like that in a candidate because it gives them (or they think it gives them) influence, hence power. So they naturally tend to reward the people who play by their rules.

      If the pundits and the media were trustworthy, this would not be such a bad thing, but over the decades they have become the most debased and venal element of society.

      Many — if not most — people are waking up to this, but the candidates still play by their rules. Someone needs to have courage to call them out and stop playing by their rules.

      That is not to say it will work — we will get the candidate we deserve. But I have a lot more respect for someone who will take that gamble than I will for someone who is — or feels like he must act as though he is — a stooge for the media and the pundits.

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