WASHINGTON — Republican leaders, searching for a fair-minded but strategically wise way to conduct the presidential primary debates, are grappling with how to manage White House contenders in a sprawling field that mixes proven politicians with provocateurs and reflects an increasingly fractious party.The Republican National Committee's decision last year to claim control of the 2016 debate process was welcomed by many in the party who believed that Mitt Romney, the 2012 nominee, was hurt by both the pummeling and the positions he took during the 20 debates in that primary contest.
Let's see if I understand this. The Republican Party is considering turning over to a cable TV network the process of selecting a candidate for the most important elected office in the world. And not to just any cable TV network, but, to FOX, masters of lying, misleading, fudging the facts, and making up shit.But by trying to impose order through party-sanctioned debates and limiting the number of forums, the party may have begotten an equally messy problem: who to include on stage for a 90-minute debate from a field of nearly 20 potential candidates.
As the national committee gathers in Arizona this week for its spring meeting, it will discuss how to determine the candidates who will make the cut for the first official debate, which is set for Aug. 6 in Cleveland and will air on Fox News. But there is already a robust discussion behind the scenes, with candidates who are lagging in early polls nudging the party to take an inclusive approach in the initial forums.
It is not entirely clear who will be in charge of devising or enforcing the debate criteria — that is, if there are criteria. One member of the national committee panel charged with overseeing the debates said its members had discussed ceding the decision entirely to Fox News. (Emphasis added.)
Think about it. Let it sink in.