This proposal from the RNC for a series of eight debates among would-be nominees, beginning in August, is a tremendous idea, a breakthrough and a breaking of the MSM monopoly which led to so much manipulation of the GOP nomination process in years past.
MSM participation in the debates ought to be welcome –there are plenty of MSMers who can set aside their industry’s Obama-love and ask tough but non-agenda questions. Include them on the panels, and some of them could moderate single-questioner formats. (Candy Crowley, for example, is a standard-setter for fair, informed and respected across the political spectrum, as is Chris Wallace. There are a dozen others.)
But the RNC can also be counted to include center-right opinion journalists and intellectuals –Charles Krauthammer, Jennifer Rubin, Victor Davis Hanson, Amity Shlaes– and if Chairman Preibus and his committee are inspired, they will include the very best of the old media, folks like the New York Times’ John Burns and the Los Angeles Times’ Doyle McManus.
Breaking the MSM monopoly shouldn’t mean exiling the MSM, only bringing fairness to the process and making it serve the GOP electorate about the business of choosing their strongest nominee.
Each of the major GOP candidates should immediately accept the RNC proposal, and do so coupled with the announcement that these are the only debates they will be accepting through February.
My Monday Washington Examiner column will expand on some key aspects of this proposal, but hopefully by Monday night all or most of the significant seven who are genuinely considering the race or are already committed to it –Bachmann, Barbour, Gingrich, Huntsman, Pawlenty, Romney, Santorum– will have endorsed the proposal.