May 21st, 2015 at 12:25 pm
More GOP Debate Improvements
Add Daniel Henninger to the list of conservatives offering up new ideas to get the most out of the upcoming GOP presidential debates.
With as many as 19 Republicans possibly running for president, “something more is needed this time” than just a one-size-fits-all gabfest.
“In addition to the traditional debates, the candidates or their supporters should underwrite a series of smaller debates/conversations,” writes Henninger. “Divide the 19 into groups of four or five candidates, randomly selected. Pick the issues, and go at it. Give voters a chance to see who these mostly interesting people are and how their minds work outside the confines of a 60-second timer.”
In my column this week I lay out a proposal to randomly assign candidates into debating pairs so debaters can get more than the usual four to six minutes to speak. Henninger’s idea to put groups of four or five together may be more workable with such a large field. Either way, the key is to give every candidate sufficient time to make his or her case for the nomination.
There are several ideas for improving the quality of debate this go around. Let’s hope the people in charge of the process take some of them to heart.
December 8th, 2010 at 5:17 pm
Savvy Move by Palin Not to Seek RNC Chair
Sarah Palin’s decision not to seek the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee is smart politics. Palin rightly notes that the job is mainly fundraising, something that doesn’t get the Mama Grizzly’s blood moving quite like making speeches and endorsements.
Good for Palin. She’s right about the RNC job, which should go to someone with a proven track record for raising money and get out the vote support from all branches of the Republican Party. Of course, it would be great to see a conservative at the helm, but it probably should be someone who is much more adept at party building than movement leading.
November 15th, 2010 at 12:38 pm
DeMint Positioning Himself as a Conservative Kingmaker
There may be no politician more adept at turning Tea Party popularity into actionable results than Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC). Yesterday, the conservative icon took the unusual step of publicly withdrawing his support of his party’s fundraising head, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele. There are good reasons to do so, but by publicizing his displeasure DeMint is serving notice on the rest of the GOP that he is ready to push for a more robust conservative presence throughout the party’s apparatus.
With his Senate Conservatives Fund DeMint went head-to-head and beat several GOP primary candidates supported by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, led by fellow Senator John Cornyn (R-TX). With freshman senators like Florida’s Marco Rubio, Kentucky’s Rand Paul, and Utah’s Mike Lee owing much to DeMint’s patronage, expect to see the junior senator from South Carolina take on a much bigger role in deciding his party’s next presidential nominee. If DeMint manages to replace Steele with a RNC Chairman of his choosing, he will be better positioned than any conservative in the party to make a serious run for the nomination.
H/T: Roll Call
August 9th, 2010 at 2:53 pm
GOP Copies Democratic Insanity on Presidential Primaries
After observing the 2008 death-match between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, you would think that any political mandarin in his right mind would want to avoid a similar war of intraparty attrition. But since the Republican National Committee is in the business of failing to meet even the lowest of expectations these days, you’d be wrong.
Hotline profiles the RNC’s recent resolution to change the way the party of Lincoln picks its presidential candidates. The gist:
The proposal will move the earliest nominating contests — in IA, NH, SC and NV — back from early Jan. to Feb. It will also require states that hold nominating contests in March to award delegates based on the proportion of votes candidates win, eliminating the prospect of an early winner-take-all state that would effectively end the nominating process.
Proponents said the measure would avoid the calamity of a national primary. Already, nearly 40 states have primaries scheduled for the first possible day in the nominating calendar.
Let’s stipulate that there’s no such thing as perfect primary process (a point that New Hampshire GOP chairman — and former White House Chief of Staff — John Sununu makes in the Hotline piece). This is a political Rubik’s Cube to rival Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem.
That being said, proportional allocation of delegates is one of the worst of many bad ideas. One of the reasons that Republicans had a presidential nominee three months prior to Democrats in 2008 was because the winner-take-all system is centripetal. The proportional model used by Democrats is centrifugal, creating a party that can be just as fractured coming out of a primary season as going in. This is a road to a long and divisive primary season.
2008 should have permanently killed proportional allocation for both parties. But in professional politics, an idea’s worth is ofter inversely proportioned to its recurrence.
February 16th, 2010 at 2:49 pm
A Movement of Principles
During a presidency characterized by vapid rhetoric, it is inspiring to consider the ongoing discussion among movement conservatives to define themselves with statements of substance. Glenn Beck outlined the 9 principles and 12 values animating the Tea Party set. Newt Gingrich is calling for a new Contract with America. Members of the Religious Right are nearing a million signatures for the Manhattan Declaration. RNC Chairman Michael Steele is promoting a 10 point Republican checklist. And on the eve of this week’s CPAC Convention, several prominent conservative leaders will sign and publish the Mount Vernon Statement.
All of this is good. Each document shows that the Right is driven by ideas about the human person, society, and government. All of these statements attempt to bring together an understanding of our nation’s founding principles with an application of them to the current era. In its own way, each affirms the conservative belief that first principles need not be held hostage to recurring problems masquerading as new crises. That there is disagreement, even bitterness, is good because from it comes a more definite understanding of a coherent political philosophy. So, the next time you read about the “conservative crack-up,” read one of these documents and delight in the knowledge only one of the two major movements in this country has the courage – and the ability – to argue about first principles.
January 8th, 2010 at 6:09 pm
The GOP Power Vacuum
Who says the Republican Party is a staid, top-down organization that values order over creativity? With the announcement of his book on how to regain majority status, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has something for everyone in the GOP to be shocked about. For congressional leaders it’s that Steele didn’t consult them before publishing it. And for conservative activists the most surprising thing about Steele’s book is that it indicates that at least one person in the party’s establishment has actually committed a plan to paper.
So why is Steele now claiming that he “wrote the book before he became chairman?” Granted, most chairmen keep a low profile while raising huge sums of money in order to let the politicians grab all the headlines. But come on. It’s not like the current congressional leadership has shown a knack for implementing winning campaign strategies the last two cycles. In fact, so far the most consequential decision made by the National Republican Senatorial Committee was not to spend money in contested Republican primaries because of the backlash from conservative activists and Tea Party members.
Maybe Steele shouldn’t be so public about pushing one specific plan for winning elections. Maybe he should sit back, collect checks, and let minority leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and John Boehner (R-OH) find a path back to power.
Then again, maybe not.
August 24th, 2009 at 4:19 pm
RNC Releases Seniors’ Health Care Bill of Rights
In an op-ed published in The Washington Post today, RNC Chairman Michael Steele highlighted details of a “Seniors’ Health Care Bill of Rights.”
Protecting Our Seniors
GOP Principles for Health Care
By Michael S. Steele
Monday, August 24, 2009
Americans are engaged in a critical debate over reforming our health-care system. While Republicans believe that reforms are necessary, President Obama’s plan for a government-run health-care system is the wrong prescription. The Democrats’ plan will hurt American families, small businesses and health-care providers by raising care costs, increasing the deficit, and not allowing patients to keep a doctor or insurance plan of their choice. Furthermore, under the Democrats’ plan, senior citizens will pay a steeper price and will have their treatment options reduced or rationed.
Republicans want reform that should, first, do no harm, especially to our seniors. That is why Republicans support a Seniors’ Health Care Bill of Rights, which we are introducing today, to ensure that our greatest generation will receive access to quality health care.
Read the full article here.
Read the plan’s six principles here.