Word is out that the GOP candidates are sending out signals to put on their own debate. It seems that while Reince Preibus is fed up with NBC, the leading candidates are fed up with Reince Preibus, which, if you stop to think about it, sends a powerful signal to all the American people, not just Republican voters, but Democrats as well, that the rupture between the People and the central government Establishment is nearly complete.
Of course, many will think this is not a good idea, especially those inside the government “cartel” (a good term coined by Ted Cruz) but the vast majority of ordinary Americans think this is a long overdue first step. It’s like that first crack of light gleaming through an opening door in a room that had been dark for a very long time. Just the sight of light warms us.
Since they are already thinking about it, I have a suggestion. How about at least one, or maybe a series of debates, not between opponents so much as a conversation among men and women largely on the same page about the things that need to be done, and to exchange views as to how best to do this. The most collegial debates I ever witnessed were between Ronald Reagan and William F Buckley over the Panama Canal Treaty in 1978, before Reagan became the GOP presidential nominee. It’s a shame GOP candidates can’t pair off in that manner, but a roundtable may just do the trick for the American people to see where they agree, not where they disagree.
So, I suggest a rural high school gym or auditorium, with bleacher seats for only about 200-300 fans. Then simply place 12 folding church chairs in a circle at center court, set up the lighting and sound equipment, invite all the press, including the local Thunderstorm and invite citizens to submit written questions…town hall style, only talk among themselves.
As to just where this venue would be best located, I’d say choose a county or city where Obama and the Dems have done the greatest amount of devastation. But that would only narrow it down to about 8000 counties. So the candidates would need to be more selective. A border town in Texas, a coal town in West Virginia, a church in Oregon or Washington (I’m told they still have some out there), a village in Vermont or Georgia, and maybe even a community center in Baltimore. I think the candidates may do well to go to at least one place where they won’t be all that welcome. It makes a powerful statement. If Hillary won’t come to our churches, send emissaries to hers.
As for the agenda, candidates can draw names out of a hat selecting who will be the debate moderator, just to get the ball rolling. Candidates will find that the bombast of the stump speech won’t work in such an environment. But polite exchanges, give and take, do. (Although men and women who have sat in on business meetings with Trump know he is not only the master of detailed information, he is also a polite listener, even when he’s in charge. Many have never seen this side of him.). Unimpeded by a haranguing media I would expect a lot of surprises from the others..
Candidates will be discussing things…things that matter to people…using persuasion and looking for agreement with each other rather then trying to one-up each other. They will explain things…almost as if in a negotiation…where everyone is holding three aces, and one card yet to be dealt. People want to see how candidates might behave behind closed doors when discussing national policy. (I actually have a press photo of Nixon and his principal cabinet members in just such a discussion.)
My own view is that each candidate already spends all kinds of money in media and stump speeches blasting each other, trumpeting their “Dig me” resumes ad nauseam. Why waste our time? Everyone already knows that. People want to see that other side of the candidates, the side when they’re shaking hands and talking in low tones to one another, as we’ve seen on the stage before the mic’s are turned on. Body language tells us there’s something else there.
I have a selfish motive here… The Second Generation of Reagan
In American history there has never been an assemblage of presidential candidates with the resumes so closely resembling those of the Founders in philosophical content. And I have included Donald Trump in this mix (over several articles the past few weeks) for the intangibles he brings to the table that transcend intellectual conservatism and touches the much broader “native conservatism” that defined America and its citizens well into the 20th Century.
We don’t want just one president to come from this group, but three or four more, at least. The original Founder’s Class of 1776 carried the philosophical precepts of the Founders into the 1824 election, 38 years and five presidents, after the Constitution was ratified. It was only after a full generation had passed, and then, near death, they watched the bloom plucked entirely from the American rose by the emergent Democratic Party in 1828, who cynically made politics, winning and losing, not human liberty, not moral truth, not natural rights or the common man’s pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, the new American political mantra. And that has been the game ever since…
…except for one bright shining time.
And now, 27 years later, a whole new crop, a second Reagan generation, has grown and matured to carry that seed forward….if they will only agree to undertake this charge collectively, laying personal vanity and ambition aside, rather than slit each others throat to enable only one to win, only one time.
Each (well, almost) of these candidates has some special ingredient to add to the composite that hopefully will guide America’s fortunes for another half century. There should be a role for each of them to play in the next and the next and the next administrations…primary of which will be to prepare the next generation of leaders. It was this same dimension that made Herman Cain such a strong outsider candidate in 2012 before Establishment- paid whisperers took him out.
Except for two or three, this entire group understands the threat facing America (the situation analysis) correctly. Although they each place emphasis on different areas or solutions, they all know what needs to be done and they generally agree it’s the ordinary people of America who are the victims of Big Government; not the economy, not our standing in the world, not Russia, Iran, ISIS or China, not even our role as beacon of freedom to the rest of the world. First and foremost, it is the restoration of freedom for the people of the United States. That was the original Constitutional promise.
This is the contract.
The candidates all generally agree as to what needs to be cut, and what needs to cut first. They know what needs to be put off to the side and dealt with in time, and what (and who) needs to be indicted right away. For instance, when GW Bush took office there was a sealed indictment against Hillary Clinton sitting on his desk. He ordered it buried. Can anyone imagine what the world would be like today had that indictment been carried out? We’ve been making a list of first-things-first’s for a very long time.
The key to winning then, will be to re-engage the American people, the voters, all the voters, in this enterprise, and in its outcome. This will be their greatest investment in the future in over a quarter century, and with a promised outcome that will yield forward to generations.
As Carly Fiorina noted first in the first debate, this presidential battle is between the People and Government, and who shall rule America; us or them. Win or lose, her contribution to the composite is secure.