A Great Debate?

I’ve watched every one of the previous debates, and by far, the Lincoln-Douglas style debate at the Woodlands near Houston Texas, hosted by a Tea Party group, the  Texas Patriots PAC, has been my favorite.  Both men were collegial, serious, and very honest about some very difficult issues including entitlement reform.  It’s a stunning difference when contrasted against the previous debates with seven, eight or nine candidates crowding a stage, and effectively permitting the media to highlight its favorites, or the controversies of the moment, turning the events into spectacles rather than serious debates.  It was also refreshing to have a moderator, Ben Streusand, who was not a leftist and whose interest was in furthering the debate and  informing the public.

This debate was such a thoroughly refreshing improvement over all the other debates that the candidates ought to adopt this format and ditch the rest.  I think both men performed admirably, and I also believe that while I could tell you who I think “won” the debate, it’s also important to note that winning and losing wasn’t the focus.  Neither candidate seemed to be pushing for some knock-out blow of the other, and I think that was in part due to the format, but also a result of the serious but friendly competition between these two men.  I think both men are to be commended for their performance, irrespective of who one believes to be the victor, and I think the Tea Party group that hosted this debate is to be praised incessantly for putting this together and making it a success.  The primary beneficiaries of this debate will have been the American people who bothered to watch it, and it was great television.

As with any such event, both men had their laugh lines, but more importantly, both men seemed at ease in themselves and with one another.  I now have a far better understanding of what both men propose, and I also have a much deeper respect for the thoughtfulness of both men.  Gingrich stood up for the idea that the so-called “Social Security Trust Fund” is real, and is a debt owed by the government to retirees and current workers who have paid into it.  Cain said that reform wouldn’t be possible without considering new options, and also reforming the way we generate revenue.  Both men argued passionately that individual choice must be an inherent property of any “fix” to Social Security.  In short, whatever your particular preferences, both men said that individual liberty is the key to successful reform.  They are absolutely correct.

Neither man spared their contempt for the current administration, although Gingrich was probably the more direct of the two in his criticisms.  Both men believe our current system of revenue is broken, and both have their own respective proposals that were at least mentioned during the debate.  I think that it’s clear that among the conservatives still in this race, these two are the best choices, in the main because they seem quite suited to a serious conversation about what the nature of our solutions must be.  I wouldn’t be unhappy if these two comprised the ticket for Republicans in 2012, particularly given our other choices at the moment.

I hope the other candidates will have watched this debate and realized why this is the better format, and work with Tea Party groups to set up similar events while ditching the remainder of the big media spectacles.  There’s simply no reason to subject our candidates to the liberal moderators, the idiotic questions, the “gotcha format,” and the rigid and plastic format that has been at the heart of the other debates. I would encourage Tea Party groups to put on similar events all over the country, changing up candidate pairings so that you can examine them two at one time, thus clearing up things for voters.  I think that would have a wonderful effect on voters’ ability to choose with clear-headed decisions about issues in this accelerated primary season.

As for who won?  I’m going to let you tell me.  After a day or two, I’ll make a few remarks, but I’d also like your opinion on the format, and whether you think this is how the remainder of the debates should be done.  If you don’t mind, please answer the three questions below:

Update: Hotair also covering

Update: You can participate in this Hot-Air Poll too!

Update:  You can watch the video HERE

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