Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday Question for Conservatives

Assuming they all want in, which of the candidates -- Romney, Pawlenty, Cain, Bachmann, Paul, Roemer, Johnson, Santorum, Gingrich -- should be allowed to participate in debates at this point? The background: CNN is excluding Johnson (and Roemer, if he wants in; I don't know if he does) from its upcoming debate. In the previous debate, Roemer was excluded. For what it's worth, CNN is using objective criteria based entirely on polling.

Note that while I'm not asking whether CNN's criteria are correct or not, or for anyone to suggest something else, a true "let 'em all in" approach could open the door to literally dozens of unknown cranks who decide they're running for president, and so it really isn't a workable policy. But I'm not asking about that; I'm just asking which of the nine people listed should be invited to debates at this point.


  1. Roemer is a slam-dunk no-invite. And I think not inviting Johnson is reasonable. Everyone else is either viable or at least has a chance to INFLUENCE the race, and should probably be involved at this early point.

  2. I'd let Johnson debate again. I'd exclude Roemer because his campaign seems to be literally non-existant. I'd exclude Karger because he really doesn't have the resume to make him a serious candidate.

    CNN's criteria for inclusion also seem to have been applied in an arbitrary manner:

  3. I'm not a conservative, but I think that, rather than basing the inclusion on an arbitrary cutoff of 2%, which leaves room for a still-crowded dais, they should simply talk to experts (communication? psychology? media studies? I'm not sure who they'd be) about the maximum number of competing viewpoints that would be workable on the stage, then take the candidates in order of national polling average. If one of those (I'm going to guess 5 or 6 is the maximum) refuses, then offer their slot to the next guy, until you run out of guys meeting some threshold (1 or 2% might be that threshold).

    Seriously: you have a list of 9 up there, and Huntsman and Palin aren't on it (for obvious reasons in both cases, but they could easily be on such a list in a month). There were 9 candidates on the stage 4 years ago, and that got us "raise your hands if you don't believe in evolution"

  4. Weigel has an interesting idea -- base debate invites on the number of facebook fans a candidate has. It's an interesting idea, since it does seem to reflect the intensity of support. (Johnson has 119,808 fans, more than Pawlenty and a lot more than Santorum and Huntsman):


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