With all the silliness swirling around the NewsMax/Donald Trump presidential farce coming up (Trump is still raising money for a possible independent presidential bid), I’ve been wondering: the tradition has been for journalists to serve as questioners and moderators of these debates. But why? Is that written down anywhere that it has to be?
Over the weekend, Mike Huckabee held his own little forum, and brought in three Republican Attorneys General to ask questions — and that worked out quite well. These are people whose jobs are built on asking questions and getting answers, as well as folks whose political credentials are pretty solid — they aren’t looking for the “gotcha” moment.
And let’s be honest — that’s what these debates have become. They’re like how a lot of people view auto racing — they’re not so much in who wins as hoping for a really spectacular crash. And that is a grave disservice.
One thing that needs to be reasserted is that these are debates for the Republican nomination for president. This is a purely partisan process — and there’s nothing wrong with that. Not only is there no reason to cater to any “spirit of bipartisanship,” there are very good reasons not to.
So, who would be good debate panelists that are outside the normal field?
First up, let’s toss a bone to the traditionalists and bring in one person from the news biz. Fox News’ Megyn Kelly. In addition to being exceptional eye candy, she’s one of the smartest and sharpest interviewers out there. And she don’t take crap from nobody. Those who see “hot blonde” as “bubbleheaded blonde” when dealing with her end up as little, bloody pieces on the floor — and no clue how they got there.
There’s another person whose interviewing skills are superb, and he has some decent conservative/libertarian leanings. I’ve appreciated Jim Bohannon for… good lord, a couple of decades, and I think he’d be great.
Next up, some specialists. Foreign policy is always critical. So bring in someone with serious foreign policy credentials. Someone like, say, Former Ambassador John Bolton. He knows his way around the world, and is highly intelligent.
Economics are also critical. We all saw the video of Herman Cain grilling President Clinton back in the 1990s, and it was quite impressive. Several other CEOs have made their interest in national issues clear, and I’ve been impressed with Home Depot CEO Frank Blake when I’ve seen him on TV. So why not invite him?
Finally, there’s one last guy I want on the panel. One man who is not only a very good interviewer with impeccable conservative credentials, but very intelligent, very fast on his feet, and with a truly bizarre sense of humor that he can rein in when necessary (he’s learned that one the hard way). I can’t think of any forum that could use a healthy dose of his attitude than a presidential forum, and I make a point of watching nearly everything this guy does. Just imagine a presidential debate with Greg Gutfeld asking questions. (That we’d also need a debate halftime report from TV’s Andy Levy goes without saying.)
So, that’s my dream debate panel — Kelly, Bohannon, Bolton, Blake, and Gutfeld. It’s a bit front-loaded in the alphabet, but apart from that I think it would be a must-see event.
Who would you like to see on a debate panel?