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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

“Just Say No To Nancy Reagan”

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My Washington Examiner column this morning picks up where my conversation on Friday’s radio show with the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza left off: A blast at the idea of a Politico-NBC-sponsored debate at the Reagan Library for would be GOP presidential nominees in the spring of 2011.

Not only is the timing way too early, the proposal also puts forward the wrong sponsors who would people the panels with MSMers asking loaded questions, just as the MSM-populated “debates” of 2008 played out.

If the candidates want to gain some public attention this spring, they can work with organizations like Heritage and AEI to appear jointly at forums on spending, taxes, or foreign affairs where genuine moderators as opposed to agent provocateurs ask the sort of questions that GOP primary voters want to hear answered. At a minimum, the Obama-swooning MSM should not call the shots when the debates of the 2012 cycle begin.

As I noted in the column and in the conversation with Cillizza, there are scores of center-right reporters, bloggers and broadcast journalists who can staff the primary season panels presenting questions when they first assemble. And the fall of 2012 should be the time when the left masquerading as objective journalists lose their monopoly as presidential debate referees.

Rick Warren did the best job of asking questions in the entire 2008 cycle. It is time to recognize that Beltway fixtures cannot see or hear the country for all the noise they make talking to themselves. If a liberal journalist like Marc Ambinder is paired up with a conservative journalist like Jim Geraghty, that would make for an interesting panel, but three or four lefties who pretend to objectivity has produced a system of obstacles course for GOP nominees and rest stops for Democrats that only a candidate as incompetent as Al Gore could turn into disasters.

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