Give Me a Ticket for an Airplane

no_time_to_take_a_fast_train

Dave Weigel has obtained the first sacred draft of the letter that the clown wranglers running Republican campaigns are going to send to networks that want to host debates.  It’s a reasonable and sane document, since, presumably, the candidates and their handlers realize the immense value of the free media they’re getting from the debates, and they don’t want to fuck up that meal ticket.

In yesterday’s post about the debates, I made an offhand comment that I thought was pretty uncontroversial: the Democrats should be matching Republicans 1:1 on debates. Some of you disagreed, which I think means you’ve swallowed whatever horseshit reasons the Clinton campaign and it’s honorary chairperson, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, are spreading for Democrats hiding out while the Republicans hog all the free media.  Hillary did great in the last debate, and she will continue to do so. Having Bernie Sanders on the same stage as her is a win for Democrats because his policy proposals are interesting and popular.

The consultants who are advising the Clintons will always want to play it safe and run an inevitability campaign where Hillary’s appearances are carefully scripted and stage-managed. But in the past couple of weeks, the (excellent) press that Hillary’s gotten has all been because she’s gone outside of her comfort zone and stretched her considerable political muscle, both at the debate and at the Benghazi shitshow. These type of appearances are the only way that Democrats will get the millions of dollars of free media the Republicans are currently enjoying.

If you don’t believe me, look at the front page of Post Politics: there are 10 stories on that page, 9 of which are about the Republican campaign. This isn’t only because the Post and the DC media are a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Republican/Corporate complex: Democrats just aren’t generating much news. Scripted campaign appearances are dog bites man; debates at least have the possibility of a man bites dog event. And more debates also give the media cover to write the real story of the campaign: the Republican Party has gone insane.  Look how long it took them to own up to the obvious fact that the Benghazi hearings were a political joke. Perhaps if there are enough Democratic debates, some Republican will say that the Democrats appear sane, thus authorizing a reporter to state that fact.






131 replies
  1. 1
    DJAnyReason says:

    Dems are never going to generate as much news because the Dem primary isn’t as newsy. Hillary is going to win, everyone knows Hillary is going to win, Hillary is winning the endorsements, the money, the polls, the everything. Hillary is going to win.

    Nobody knows what’s going to happen in the R primary. Rubio is “winning”, maybe, but just maybe. He’s the most likely establishment candidate today, but he wasn’t yesterday, and maybe he won’t be tomorrow. Meanwhile all the establishment candidates added up can’t match a Trump or a Carson. It’s a free for all, and it’s like crack to the media.

    This isn’t to say that there shouldn’t be more D debates, just that more debates isn’t going to somehow change the balance of stories. One primary is fait accompli, the other is unknowable.

  2. 2
    NonyNony says:

    Republicans are stepping on their own dicks with all of their “free media” coverage. Why help them out by giving the media someone else to focus on? Let them own the news cycles – every cycle they own makes them look more and more ridiculous.

    And my desire to not have more than a half-dozen or so debates has nothing to do with Debbie Wasserman Schultz – it has to do with the fact that there is no need to have more than about 3 debates total for the entire primary cycle period. Especially when there are only 3 (or 4) candidates in the mix. Six is already too many, and we shouldn’t even be worrying about Presidential debates until January. Debates now are at best noise and at worst clown shows (see the GOP). The kind of squishy voters that Democrats need to get to the polls won’t even start thinking about the election until their Christmas is over, and the hyper-aware Democratic voters made up their minds in July who they were going to vote for and generally won’t budge until their primary vote happens. So why have debates before then?

  3. 3
    dogwood says:

    I think we have to realize that the media isn’t that interested in the democrats this election cycle. More democratic debates would be fine, but won’t generate much follow up. In ’08 the opposite was true; from the get go the dems got more attention. Analysis after the ’08 general election showed that negative and positive coverage of McCain and Obama was generally even. The difference was Obama got significantly more of both. Stories about the republicans are more likely to generate views for the media. Case in point, this blog spends more time reporting on what the clown car is doing, than what’s up with the democrats.

  4. 4
    dogwood says:

    @DJAnyReason:
    You beat me to it. Sorry for being redundant.

  5. 5
    Brachiator says:

    Some of you disagreed, which I think means you’ve swallowed whatever horseshit reasons the Clinton campaign and it’s honorary chairperson, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, are spreading for Democrats hiding out while the Republicans hog all the free media.

    Uh, no. But thanks for the gratuitous stupid insult.

    I’m not following the GOP debates that closely, and only watched some of the Democratic debates. Nothing much is said, and everybody looks for gotcha moments. Who needs that crap?

  6. 6
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Some of you disagreed, which I think means you’ve swallowed whatever horseshit reasons

    Need more straw?

  7. 7
    gvg says:

    Most people are going to be extremely sick of politics by the time the general rolls around. Too many debates are just going to annoy voters. The republicans have too many candidates and they are all nuts. The whole worlds media is going to watch with horrified fascination and who can blame them? Even if we did have as many debates, unless our candidates start acting that nuts, they won’t get the volume of stories on the media this cycle. All we can do is act sane and have plans to show people. the right number of debates for the Democrats to have has no relationship to….whatever is going on in the GOP.

  8. 8
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    which I think means you’ve swallowed whatever horseshit reasons the Clinton campaign and it’s honorary chairperson, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, are spreading for Democrats hiding out while the Republicans hog all the free media.

    Bullshit.

  9. 9
    Frivolous says:

    Spending more money on extraneous debates is dumb. Just because the Republicans are eager to waste all that money on debates doesn’t mean the Democrats have to copy their ways.

  10. 10
    dogwood says:

    Also too, I think much of the MSM likes to see a party change in the White House. Since they don’t do in depth coverage of issue, a change in the White House gives them more opportunities to cover personalities and gossip. They get bored when the same cast of characters stays around too long. The thought of Trump forming a government would be heaven for the media.

  11. 11
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Some of you disagreed, which I think means you’ve swallowed whatever horseshit reasons the Clinton campaign and it’s honorary chairperson, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz,

    “If you disagree with me, you’re stupid!”

    I don’t think Dem debates are going to change the Beltway media, especially not with Trump and the whole saga of Jeb and Marco. As to the number, I’m agnostic. I have a hard time imagining that if anyone asked six months ago how many primary debates the Dems should have, people would have said “Oh, at least ten!” That said, I wouldn’t object to more, especially town hall debates.

  12. 12
    Docg says:

    Isn’t it time for the networks to tell the oh so touchy Republican presidential candidates to go screw themselves and their “debates?”

  13. 13
    Emma says:

    Rather than debate, the party should spend as much as possible building up their ground forces. With the media seemingly either rooting for Republicans, or terrified of them, we’re going to need to get our message out in other, more traditional ways.

  14. 14
    kdaug says:

    Honestly? I can’t wait for the R v. D debates. If it ends up being Rubio, all the D (judgement reserved) has to do is bring two water bottles to the podium.

    It’s gracious, show a compassionate spirit, and a sense of goodwill and good sportsmanship.

    And hilarious.

  15. 15
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Seconded.

    OT: mistermix, are you interacting with the site redesign team? Is there a way to keep a list of redesign questions/suggestions/issues that can be referred to, and to which bitchers commenters (e.g., moi) can be directed to see if an issue has been mentioned? That might reduce the, er, confusion and redundancy in redesign threads. kthxbai.xox

  16. 16
    Kazanir says:

    I’m not following the GOP debates that closely, and only watched some of the Democratic debates. Nothing much is said, and everybody looks for gotcha moments. Who needs that crap?

    @Brachiator: I don’t feel like this is an accurate representation of the Democratic debate. The debate was chock-full of substantive talk about issues. Everything from foreign policy and military intervention in Libya and Syria, to economic issues ranging from Social Security to Wall Street, was covered.

    The media might be looking hard for gotcha moments, and I personally think it was an atrocity that Hillary’s terrible answers on some of these issues didn’t get more attention (except from like, Daniel Larison) but they *were* discussed. And getting the Democratic platform in front of millions of eyeballs in this way is the kind of coverage you cannot buy anywhere else. This is why the debates are so important and the party shouldn’t be skimping on them as they are doing.

  17. 17
    NonyNony says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I don’t think Dem debates are going to change the Beltway media, especially not with Trump and the whole saga of Jeb and Marco.

    I think this is exactly right. You want to know what would change the media coverage of the Democrats? If Clinton and Sanders started getting into very messy, very personal, very public namecalling spats. The press is salivating for this to happen and there have been a few points where it looked like something might be starting up. And every time both Sanders and Clinton have been smart enough to defuse the situation and the press slinks away and turns back to the namecalling on the GOP side.

    This is why the press was dying for Joe Biden to get in – because they were sure that he’d come in and start a fight with Clinton so that they could sit back and report on the “drama”. Note that this is all the coverage the GOP candidates get – the “drama”. These debates never lead to actual reporting of substance, just drama. So why have more than a handful of them if you are a member of the party that doesn’t do drama very well? (Democrats are lousy at campaign drama – Democratic voters tend to hate it and politicians tend to be no good at it. Republican pols are VERY good at drama, and Republican voters respond to it. Yet another way that Democratic Voters Are Not Republican Voters.)

  18. 18
    Regular Reader says:

    Some of you disagreed, which I think means you’ve swallowed whatever horseshit reasons the Clinton campaign and it’s honorary chairperson, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, are spreading for Democrats…

    It’s reassuring to know that no matter how badly Republicans are doing, Democrats can always rise to the challenge with infighting.

  19. 19
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    also, the story is that HRC doesn’t want to limit the number of debates because she fears the Bern (or that other guy, still less that other other guy that Hayes was stomping his feet to get included), but she doesn’t like or trust the typical moderators. The best thing Sanders has done to my mind is shut down the email questions.

    I’ll be curious to watch the upcoming MSNBC thing, how Rachel Maddow treats the candidates.

  20. 20

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):
    @Omnes Omnibus:
    I understand what you are asking and there will be an update of the changes made later this afternoon. But I don’t see a reason to keep a running list (although I DO have one), because honestly outside of you and a few others, that clearly take time to read through things, most won’t read it and just post their thoughts anyway. You tried to, and did help me with that last night, but as I said I knew many didn’t read through the comments before they post (I often don’t), but it was clear last night that is even more of the case than I realized.

  21. 21

    @dogwood:

    Case in point, this blog spends more time reporting on what the clown car is doing, than what’s up with the democrats.

    Some of that is because this is a snark-heavy blog, and the Klown Kar Kavalcade is a target-rich environment for snark. But deeply related to that is that the Republicans have focused on a media-heavy strategy, while the Democrats have been working on developing campaign infrastructure and a ground game.

  22. 22
    dogwood says:

    At this time in 2007 the conventional wisdom was that the democrats would be done by Super Tuesday and Republicans might be headed to a brokered convention. We have no idea how this is going to play out. The press will chase the juiciest stories as it all unfolds.

  23. 23
    Hal says:

    Outside of hard core republicans who don’t care, is the publicity republicans are receiving all that positive? I say let them keep exposing themselves to the public unobstructed as much as possible. Why waste money and time countering bullshit that’s only appealing to certain segments of the population?

  24. 24
    scav says:

    Whatever mistakes and over-exposure and tedium-producing antics the opponents are making, we must keep up and match them gaffe for gaffe because it’s Free!

    right.

  25. 25
    ruemara says:

    The only horseshit is coming from you. We have 3 candidates, 3. None of them are insane. We will never generate the hoopla of the clown car brigade. And knowing that as a fact does not make you a Clinton supporter or BFFs with DWS. Christ, don’t be quite damned asshole.

  26. 26
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    John Fugelsang ‏@JohnFugelsang 3h3 hours ago
    Jeb Can Fix It actually refers to the 2000 election in Florida.

  27. 27
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    The election won’t be held for one year and three weeks. Let them burn out on publicity now. Dems need to start really making a push about six-seven months from now. Right now is nothing but wasted effort.

  28. 28
    WereBear says:

    The more people are exposed to Republican lunacy, the better.

  29. 29

    Six seems about right. It’s not like the media is going to spend any significant amount of time discussing the issues, so extra coverage this early won’t do us much good. A couple of debates early on allow the Democrats in touch to see what the candidates are like, and that has been good. Because the media is so uninterested in issues, hardly anybody knew what Hillary stood for until the first debate. Then you have a couple towards the end, when less involved Democrats will be paying more attention. And a couple in the middle just in case that helps. Eleven would be total overkill.

    And geez, Mistermix. Uncalled for. This isn’t a ‘tire rims and anthrax’ topic, it’s a disagreement over what’s the best political strategy.

  30. 30
    Goblue72 says:

    Have to agree. The free media coverage from the debates isn’t for political fanatics on the Internet. It’s about a continuous drop of exposure to the undecideds, leaners, and barely paying attentions. And it also helps gin up the base.

    Democrats will do anything to avoid putting up a fight. There’s a reason the wimp label sticks.

  31. 31
    WereBear says:

    @Germy Shoemangler: Thanks, I was wondering about that.

  32. 32
    NonyNony says:

    @ruemara:

    We have 3 candidates, 3.

    Once again I feel compelled to point out that Larry Lessig has not yet dropped out of the race.

    I mean, I threw him into a parenthetical in my own post above so I can understand not including him. But as far as I know he’s still running despite nobody asking him to.

  33. 33
    WereBear says:

    For the record, this is the first time the mobile site has worked for me!

  34. 34
    bystander says:

    Ayndrea Mitchell is wearing a burgundy pleather outfit. Wonder what that means.

    She’s interviewing some guy named Armstrong Williams, advisor to Carson. He’s objecting to debate questions about gay marriage and only wants “policy” questions. (“Interviewing” in the sense of reading a series of questions without regard to the responses.)

    Come to think of it, Ayndrea may be getting fashion advice from the Armstrong Williams of personal dressers.

  35. 35
    Chyron HR says:

    So if the Berninator hasn’t closed his 20-point polling deficit after a mere dozen debates, will his supporters decree that the Democrats need TWICE as many debates as the Republicans because shut up that’s why?

  36. 36
    dogwood says:

    @Roger Moore:
    Republicans are also a “target rich environment ” for the press. If the democrats do wrap this up before the GOP, I hope they learned a lesson about what not to do from 2008. John McCain’s green screen speech the night Obama secured the nomination looked pathetic. (Hillary’s non concession that night wasn’t her finest moment either). Trying to horn in on the other party’s big night is pointless. Having more debates to keep up with the republicans in free media coverage isn’t a good reason. If there’s any data that shows these debates are effective electioneering then I’d change my mind.

  37. 37
    NonyNony says:

    @Roger Moore:

    But deeply related to that is that the Republicans have focused on a media-heavy strategy, while the Democrats have been working on developing campaign infrastructure and a ground game.

    I sincerely hope that the GOP candidates are, in fact, ignoring their ground game while focusing on polling numbers. And that Democrats are doing the reverse.

    The national media environment is mostly a clown show – what matters is your ground game. This has not always been true, but since the end of the “big three” networks being things that “everyone” watched all the time it has become more and more true. The ground game and GOTV is going to matter a hell of a lot this election cycle, and the more energy invested in it the better.

  38. 38
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Goblue72: Also bullshit. The two viable Democratic candidates are putting effort into recruiting volunteers and developing a ground game. I would estimate that doing decent debate prep takes a week of the candidates’ (and their senior staff’s) time. Do we really benefit from taking another five weeks of time that could be spent doing other things?

  39. 39
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    @NonyNony: Reports are that Trump and Rubio have very weak ground games so far. Carson may be doing better but sooner or later I think (fervently hope!) people wake up to the fact that he’s actually certifiable. The only guy who is building a legit ground game is JEB? and it doesn’t look like he’ll be in the position to use it in a general election. Whoever the Dem is they should have a major GOTV advantage.

  40. 40
    Belafon says:

    I don’t buy the “must match Republicans in debates argument.” That would be like saying “The Germans are getting all the press coverage for starting the war. We should do the same.”

    Edit: I could understand the argument if Republicans were getting “Look at how awesome Bush is.” But that isn’t what is getting reported at all. Show me any evidence that the Republicans are hurting the Democratic standings.

  41. 41
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    Just wanted to say that I like the new format. It seems to load a lot faster and is definitely an aesthetic upgrade. I didn’t even need the video thingy to figure things out though I may be missing some features.

  42. 42
    MattF says:

    I think the RNC wanted the Republican debates to be a marketing opportunity. The desired narrative was “Look at all these smart, attractive people we’re putting forward” and, um, don’t look at the reactionary billionaires behind the curtain. Since this narrative is collapsing, why interrupt? After all, we’re still more than a year from Election Day 2016. And there will also be debates between the eventual nominees. Lots of debates yet to come.

    ETA: And I should add that Clinton’s success in the Dem debate makes me much more optimistic about the later debates between the eventual nominees.

  43. 43
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Belafon: We should also get at least ten more candidates and have them spout crazy shit all the time. I mean, if matching the GOP is important, shouldn’t we match them?

  44. 44
    Amir Khalid says:

    @What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?:
    I had a look at the video. I doubt you missed anything important by skipping it.

  45. 45
    NonyNony says:

    @What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?:

    The only guy who is building a legit ground game is JEB? and it doesn’t look like he’ll be in the position to use it in a general election.

    If this is actually true, the Jeb has the opportunity to be the “comeback kid” and have all of his sins forgiven.

    If the rest of the clowns aren’t really building their GOTV ground game in Iowa and NH, Jeb actually has an opportunity there. If he can get all of his supporters to turn out and vote for him and the rest of them flub it, then he’s going to benefit from some really, really good press coverage for making that kind of a dramatic comeback.

    You’d think that the rest of them would understand that the ground game is important – or at least have advisers on their staff who understand it. Iowa is all about ground game and really so is NH. (Hell I’m of the extreme opinion that entire elections are about ground game more than anything else, but I know I’m an outlier. I don’t know why given that Obama won on precisely that strategy in ’08 and ’12, but people still seem to discount the ground game and want to chalk it up to his charisma or something.)

  46. 46
    dogwood says:

    @NonyNony:
    This election will take place in approximately 15 states. Local media in those states is far more important than national media. If I lived in a “swing state” and a candidate came to my community, I wouldn’t be watching cable or network news for information. My local paper, radio and TV channels would have wall-to-wall coverage.

  47. 47
    Mandalay says:

    @mistermix

    Some of you disagreed, which I think means you’ve swallowed whatever horseshit reasons the Clinton campaign and it’s honorary chairperson, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, are spreading

    Are you really that stupid?

  48. 48
    Belafon says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I wonder if Baud! could do crazy.

  49. 49
    randy khan says:

    I am agnostic on the number of debates for the Dems as a general proposition. I think the right question about the number is whether more debates will help get the message out or hinder that process. Six doesn’t seem like too small a number if they’re like the first one, but eight or ten wouldn’t seem like too many to me, either.

    On the flip side, I’m actually would encourage the Republicans to have a debate a week – or more if possible – as they don’t seem to be doing the Republicans any good. I’m even happy about the candidates getting together to complain about how mean the moderators are when they ask questions about candidates’ actual positions and actions.

  50. 50
    Cervantes says:

    In yesterday’s post about the debates, I made an offhand comment that I thought was pretty uncontroversial: the Democrats should be matching Republicans 1:1 on debates.

    I don’t know from ratios but I agree. (1) Hashing out differences and voicing shared values are good and healthy things for the candidates themselves to do. (2) Practice helps. (3) Assuming there is an audience, it is helpful for the candidates to contrast themselves against Republicans: on policy, on personality, and simply on basic humanity. (4) People in the audience may be probable voters already but, based on what they see and hear in the debates, they can bring more voters in. And meanwhile, (5) no one who is “annoyed” by debates is forced to be in the audience.

    There may be arguments against having more Democratic debates but I haven’t noticed any good ones. Could be I just haven’t been paying attention.

  51. 51
    NonyNony says:

    @dogwood: Eh – I DO live in a swing state. Ohio. And let me tell you something – no, you wouldn’t. Our local media (with the notable exception of the Toledo Blade) is effing terrible. And local television is unwatchable for the 12 or so months before the election anyway because the saturation of political ads makes you want to not watch anything political at all sometime after about, oh, the third week that the ads start playing. Also the amount of mail that we get from both political parties is infuriating and mostly goes unread.

    Mostly people get their information here from the national media, same as everyone else. And from the hard working door to door campaign staff that shows up in our neighborhoods. Almost all Democratic volunteers, I might add, even though my particular neighborhood is full of Republicans.

  52. 52
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): the problem I had was the comment threads were physically painful to read and I didn’t want to. Much better on the phone btw.

  53. 53
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Tommy Young: Thanks, man. I see a number of fixes you’ve implemented in response to those threads.

  54. 54
    satby says:

    @NonyNony:

    And my desire to not have more than a half-dozen or so debates has nothing to do with Debbie Wasserman Schultz – it has to do with the fact that there is no need to have more than about 3 debates total for the entire primary cycle period. Especially when there are only 3 (or 4) candidates in the mix. Six is already too many, and we shouldn’t even be worrying about Presidential debates until January. Debates now are at best noise and at worst clown shows (see the GOP)

    Here, here! My desire for no more debates probably comes from me not watching any of them, not from

    Some of you disagreed, which I think means you’ve swallowed whatever horseshit reasons the Clinton campaign

    We can think that the whole process is ridiculous without help from the political grifters stretching out campaigns (both sides!!) to line their pockets.

  55. 55
    Cacti says:

    @Chyron HR:

    So if the Berninator hasn’t closed his 20-point polling deficit after a mere dozen debates, will his supporters decree that the Democrats need TWICE as many debates as the Republicans because shut up that’s why?

    The long and short answer is yes.

  56. 56
    satby says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I think someone (that would be mix, not you) is crabby from the redesign.

  57. 57
    Cervantes says:

    @Tommy Young:

    there will be an update of the changes made later this afternoon

    Thanks to you and whoever else is getting the work done.

    I hope you’re having fun!

  58. 58
    Hal says:

    @bystander: She’s interviewing some guy named Armstrong Williams, advisor to Carson. He’s objecting to debate questions about gay marriage and only wants “policy” questions. (“Interviewing” in the sense of reading a series of questions without regard to the responses.)

    Of course Carson would be associated with Armstrong Williams. Another conservative black respectability shill who keeps the cash flowing by reassuring white conservatives that they are correct about black people being brainwashed by dems and too dependent on welfare.

  59. 59
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @NonyNony: if you want to go there, more than 100 people have declared for the Democratic nomination. Being a professor at a safety school doesn’t make Lessig any more entitled to a shout out than any of them.

  60. 60
    Belafon says:

    @Cervantes: I’m not sure if there should be more, though I don’t think a few more would hurt. But this season definitely proves that there is no reason to tie the number of Democratic debates to the number of Republican debates.

  61. 61
    randy khan says:

    @Cervantes: Certainly, there are potential additional marginal returns to having additional debates. I think it’s also clear that those returns diminish as n increases. From n=1 to n=2, the marginal return is pretty good, but it’s not clear to me that going from n=6 to n=7 (or 8 or 10 or 15) gives you that much bang for the buck, so to speak.

    The costs, as detailed by others above, are in diversion of campaign resources to debate prep from other potentially useful tasks (like actually campaigning, but also fundraising and strategizing), in the risk that the candidates will get derailed by gaffes or have to deal with stupid moderators and in potential audience fatigue (which seems like a real risk for the Republicans, entertaining though they’ve been).

    As I said in my earlier post, I’m agnostic on the specific number, and the right number easily could be more than 6, but I don’t think it’s obvious that it needs to be, say, 10.

  62. 62
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: again, I’ve seem contrary reports that Trump is putting serious effort into organizing Iowa.

  63. 63
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @Tommy Young:

    Regarding the site changes. Generally, I like it. Just wanted to add my voice to the request of using the numbered comments. An improvement, if it’s possible, would be the number of the comment to which one replies is automatically included. Would make it much easier to follow multiple discussions. Thanks for listening.

    As far as more dem. debates, with such a small field it doesn’t make sense to add more…unless it’s a town hall format. MSM moderators ask too many insulting questions that are just annoying. OTOH, it demonstrates our candidates ability to handle rude, uncomfortable questions without acting like WATBs.

  64. 64
    Cervantes says:

    @satby:

    My desire for no more debates probably comes from me not watching any of them

    How does that work?

    You don’t want them to have more debates precisely because you’re not watching them?

    If you’re not watching, why does it matter to you how many debates there are?

  65. 65
    lol says:

    @NonyNony:

    Sooooooooo…. Lessig just dropped out about 20 minutes ago.

  66. 66

    @MattF:

    Since this narrative is collapsing, why interrupt?

    This. The Democrats shouldn’t be desperately trying to keep up debate for debate — they should casually wander in after two or three Republican debates and be like, Oh hai, if you want to hear adults talk, come watch us.

    IIRC, the ratings for the Democratic debate were just as good (maybe a little better) than for the Republican ones. Better to have a quality product show up less often than scrambling to “catch up” with someone putting out a crap product.

  67. 67
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @NonyNony: Atrios says that Lessig is out. His web page says he’s dropping out because he won’t be included in the next debate under the “new” rules.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  68. 68
    Ruckus says:

    I like that most of us have been complaining about an election season that is way too long and now we’re told that we should embrace doing things the republican way. The republicans want to get the crazy out there now so that their establishment candidate can take over when the super crazy spins out and crashes. With 3,473 candidates this takes time. We have the luxury of only having one crazy candidate and he has the presence of dryer lint. We have 2 very strong candidates and one that some like but I have no real idea why. So we don’t really need a way too long election season, they do. The only thing a long season might help us with is downfield. Show that democrats are the sane adults while the republicans are the exact opposite.

    ETA I see that dryer lint is quitting. First good move he’s made since announcing.

  69. 69
    satby says:

    @Tommy Young: It was clear last night that lots of people were commenting on similar themes at virtually the same time. Not everyone is a speed typist.

  70. 70
    Cacti says:

    Huge deal if true. Anonymous releases their first data dump on active KKK members, and names four sitting US Senators as Klansmen:

    Thom Tillis (R-NC)
    John Cornyn (R-TX) (Senate Majority Whip)
    Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
    Dan Coats (R-IN)

  71. 71
    Calouste says:

    @Bobby Thomson: Lessig actually raised slightly more than 1 million in the 3rd quarter, more than Webb, Santorum, and Pataki, not to mention Chaffee and Gilmore, who didn’t even raise the $100,000 minimum to be included in the FEC summary, but still made it to a debate. He’s taken a bit more serious by some people than most of the other 100 candidates. Of course, Lessing announcing that he will resign before his term is complete should be enough reason not to allow him into the debates.

  72. 72
    Barbara says:

    If you want to allege bullshit reasons, how about the idea that Dems need to debate as much as Republicans in order to grab comparable media attention — something that won’t happen in any event — when most of us realize that the desire for more debates is to provide more free publicity for less well-funded candidates who don’t have the last name Clinton. I am not opposed to more debates, it’s not as if there is only one fixed number that makes sense, but in a sane world, six debates between two candidates (or even three, if you include O’Malley) should be enough.

  73. 73
    stinger says:

    Some of you disagreed, which I think means you’ve swallowed whatever horseshit reasons the Clinton campaign and it’s honorary chairperson, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, are spreading for Democrats hiding out while the Republicans hog all the free media.

    This will surprise you, but I am able to reason and think for myself. I don’t follow DWS and have no idea of her stance on the number of debates or her rationale.

    I think Dems should save their firepower until the Republican nominating convention has burped up whatever klown is still standing (to mix my metaphors). The debates after that are the truly important ones. Meanwhile, let the klowns hog all the media they can–it only gives sane Americans a clearer idea of who they are.

  74. 74
    trollhattan says:

    My takeaway from the debates so far is familiarity breeds contempt–we’re all surprised the Republicans are all contemptible–and I believe the greater danger for the Dems, pre-convention, is overexposure, not lack of it. Republicans, zipped up in their bubble (spot the mixed metaphor!) will have convinced themselves their guy will mop the floor with Hillary. Imagine their surprise with debate #1 when just the opposite happens. Shock and awe, even as Bill Krystol declares “I think Rubio was masterful, and his campaign is shaping up beautifully.”

    Known in these parts as the “death roll.”

  75. 75
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Belafon: He posts here, right? Res ispa, say the old folks.

  76. 76

    @pamelabrown53:

    Also, this — more townhall-style debates for the Democrats would be much, much more valuable than additional moderated debates. “We’re bringing the debate to the PEOPLE!”

  77. 77
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone):

    Better to have a quality product show up less often than scrambling to “catch up” with someone putting out a crap product.

    Agreed.

  78. 78
    jibeaux says:

    Like pretty much everyone else, I still disagree and I haven’t talked to Debbie in ages. (Honestly, that is such a thin-skinned way to handle a minor tactical disagreement that you could be governor of North Carolina.) Democratic v.Republican debates will be good. Democrat v. Democrat debates don’t do anything in particular to position us better versus Republicans, and have their own attendant risks of infighting and gaffes.

  79. 79
    satby says:

    @Cervantes: Because they’re all not really debates in the classic sense? Just long commercials?
    From my limited sample, I think the long, drawn out campaign, the endless recycling of the “news” from the latest debate, and the insane amount of political ads in states that are contested all add up to an alienated electorate, by design. Helps fill the gaps left when they can’t restrict voters a more direct way.

  80. 80
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    In yesterday’s post about the debates, I made an offhand comment that I thought was pretty uncontroversial: the Democrats should be matching Republicans 1:1 on debates. Some of you disagreed, which I think means you’ve swallowed whatever horseshit reasons the Clinton campaign and it’s honorary chairperson, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, are spreading for Democrats hiding out while the Republicans hog all the free media.

    Defensive much?

    These are primary debates – they’re about picking a nominee, not about picking a party. It’s not a choice between Dems or Republicans at this point. The only people paying attention are losers like us. The bulk of the country isn’t going to tune in until after the conventions.

    The only reason the Republicans are having so many debates because they have too many candidates, since the RNC has fuck-all control over the process post-Citizens. None of them can get decent airtime in any single debate. Clinton and Sanders get vastly more airtime per debate than any of the Republicans.

    Familiarity does breed contempt; better to tailor the number of debates to the number of candidates than to ape the Republicans. 10 more debates of Clinton vs. Sanders will get real old real quick, and I doubt it would change any primary votes.

    Save it for the general.

  81. 81
    Elie says:

    I agree that Democrats should be having more debates and getting the free press, even if there are some risks.

    BTW, this is my first time commenting in the new format. So far I like it but like anything will need to get used to it. Looks pretty straightforward….

  82. 82
    Cervantes says:

    @satby:

    I think the long, drawn out campaign, the endless recycling of the “news” from the latest debate, and the insane amount of political ads in states that are contested all add up to an alienated electorate, by design. Helps fill the gaps left when they can’t restrict voters a more direct way.

    Thanks for elaborating. This is an empirical argument I can understand (while agreeing or disagreeing).

    Whereas previously I was mystified by the notion that your desire for no more debates probably came from you not watching any of them!

  83. 83
    NCSteve says:

    @Brachiator: Right? If I wanted to have people disregard my stated reasons for disagreeing with them and replace them with invidious motives discerned by mind reading assholery, I’d stick to Disqus fora.

  84. 84
    Feudalism Now! says:

    The problem is not the amount of debates. The problem is the schedule of the debates. The primary calendar and the debate calendar should match up a lot better than they do, without burying the candidates during a Saturday in the holiday season or vs. Football.
    That said there is not enough drama and the media finds actual policy discussion ‘boring’ for debates to ever match the free publicity of crap flinging monkeys on the Thuglican side.

  85. 85
    trollhattan says:

    @jibeaux:
    Not to mention every time Hillary is in a public forum, the Republicans are at rapt attention looking for the Soundbite of Doom. RtR was practically onanistic during her ALLGHAZI hearing, yapping “We got our soundbite!” Dude, as if.

    There is no realistic nomination pathway for Bernie without some enormous primary surprise and energies seem better spent going on the stump and building those state organizations. I can’t envision an upside to more debates than currently scheduled. This conversation reminds me a good deal of Jerry vs. Meg, when Whitman was EVERYwhere for months, waving her bags ‘o cash in front of the cameras, in our mailblxes, etc. while Jerry just continued with his attorney generaling. Nervous folks were shrieking at him to get out and counter her efforts, “DO something, Jerry!” We all know how that played out. Hillary has the kind of name recognition Jerry had, while Whitman was not well known at all, especially as related to politics. Not unlike “Marco, who?”

  86. 86
    jimmiraybob says:

    My friend’s barber said that his third cousin’s plumber’s son told him that his hair stylist was on vacation in DC and overheard two staffers discussing der Trumpenfuerher’s demand that there be no – NO – brown M&Ms in his debate dressing room. Rubio was OK with the browns but wondered aloud if the red or yellow M&Ms were relevant at which point all agreed that there should be no red or yellow M&Ms. Santorum and Huckabee, bruised from past battles with Spongebob Squarepants, demanded in the name of religious freedom that blue M&Ms be excluded. Apparently, after some additional contentious debate, during which Rubio and Carson voiced some warm objections, the campaigns decided that only white Protestant M&Ms would be allowed….after which Carson agreed that only white Protestant M&Ms mattered.

    Anybody else heard this?

  87. 87
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @NonyNony:

    Republicans are stepping on their own dicks with all of their “free media” coverage. Why help them out by giving the media someone else to focus on? Let them own the news cycles – every cycle they own makes them look more and more ridiculous.

    Exactly. Dems don’t have 17 grifter candidates and they don’t need 15 clown circus debates. There’s no need to “me too” looking like a fool.

  88. 88
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @NonyNony: according to the ppt from hell, his organizing efforts have been an epic fail.

  89. 89
    Cervantes says:

    @jimmiraybob:

    We have now.

  90. 90
    imonlylurking says:

    Not an open thread, but testing.

  91. 91
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Tommy Young: Tommy, you are doing a great job. The page looks much better already and I have mostly figured out the new features. (Although those white edit buttons aren’t working for me, either.)

  92. 92
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Cacti: holy fucking shit. I hope they deny it and there are smoking guns.

  93. 93
    Fair Economist says:

    I think 6 debates, one a month, is plenty. With only 3 candidates left they’d get a bit repetitive if they’re more often than that. In addition, more debates is more opportunity for gotchas and gaffes and you know the RWM will blow the tiniest little misstatement by any of our candidates into the next Munich agreement. I agree DWS is a horrible chair for the DNC but not *every* decision she makes is bad.

  94. 94
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: I hope a good chunk of the 27% is so disappointed when Carson fails to clinch the nom that they stay home next November.

    I see Carson stickers–not as many as Bernie stickers–but more than other GOP candidates, and Carson doesn’t even poll that well in Florida! “Harm. Inveigh. Repulse.”

  95. 95
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @randy khan:

    I’m even happy about the candidates getting together to complain about how mean the moderators are when they ask questions about candidates’ actual positions and actions.

    I’m loving this part.

  96. 96
    Peale says:

    Any number of local TV stations or voter leagues can sponsor candidate debates and those would get covered in the press. There are groups that could sponsor candidate forums as well and those would get covered as well. I don’t see a need for as many national debates to convince New Hampshirite Democrats who to choose.

  97. 97
  98. 98
    Poopyman says:

    @Cacti:

    Anonymous releases their first data dump on active KKK members, and names four sitting US Senators as Klansmen:

    And thus ensures their re-election for as long as they want to “serve”.

  99. 99
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @lol: Ah ah ah, according to the wise and wonderful HuffPo, the meanie Democrats forced Lessig out.

  100. 100
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone): yup yup yup

  101. 101
    mistermix says:

    I don’t buy the following arguments that I’m seeing in this discussion.

    1. More debates would be more gotcha moments and/or Clinton v Sanders infighting.

    Nope – Both Clinton and Sanders are smart enough to avoid that. And they both seem pretty good at shutting down really stupid questions. Everyone who pointed out that the media wants infighting to happen are of course correct. I think both candidates are disciplined enough to avoid it, and to date they have avoided it.

    2. Debates cost money.

    No they don’t – they are free media and the cost to the candidate is basically the cost of showing up. The cost of a couple of hours of prime time cable exposure would otherwise be millions of dollars, so why not take advantage of it.

    3. We should get out of the way and let Republicans act like clowns.

    Why not make sure that it happens by having more debates so the contrast between Republican positions and Democratic positions are clearer. And by saying this, I hope you realize that you are allowing the stenographic media, which almost never pushes back on Republican lies, to report their bullshit over and over.

    4. There are too many debates.

    The logical way for Democrats to deal with this is to add some novelty to the process by focusing their debates on a set of core issues in locales where those issues are important. Here are a couple of venues and topics I’d love to see: Tucson, Arizona / Immigration. Ferguson, MO / Black Lives Matter.

    I am meh on both Clinton and Sanders and will support the nominee of the party, but the way that DWS has handled the debates seems like the usual Democratic defensive crouch.

  102. 102
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @mistermix: And I am not buying your argument that the Dems need to emulate the Republicans. Six debates is more than enough to familiarize people with the candidates. IMO more than that will create debate fatigue and, more importantly, it will take significant time away from other campaign activities.

  103. 103
    Ruckus says:

    @mistermix:
    but the way that DWS has handled the debates seems like the usual Democratic defensive crouch.
    It may well be but that is not a very good reason to screw the candidates.
    And I agree that DWS is not very good at the DNC but that may be as much my knowledge of what the organization is supposed to do as it is what I’d like it to do. I think the ratio of more debates, especially in a primary season, is running way against you and against the way you stated your case. Most of us don’t agree with you. Some days you win, some days you lose. Welcome to the club for the second part.

  104. 104

    @mistermix:

    There’s a difference between “more debates,” which people seem open to, and “matching Republicans debate for debate because OMG we’re BEHIND!” which seems to be your argument.

    We get that you have Debate Envy, but if Obama had taught us nothing else in the last 8 years, he’s taught us that we need to be patient and let the Republicans finish making their mistakes rather than rushing in to duplicate the Republicans’ mistakes.

    Let them proceed. Please.

  105. 105
    cokane says:

    well said mistermix. Democrats need to get their ideas out there too. Health care reform passed in part because the Clinton Obama primary made it into a central issue.

  106. 106

    Also, too, people seem to be forgetting that we had 8 candidates in 2008, not 5. No one dropped out until January. Having a lot of debates made sense because the field was still pretty broad, but this year it’s already narrowed down to the two strongest candidates. And I’m okay with that.

  107. 107
    Another Holocene Human says:

    Lex, KY mayor Jim Gray has taken to twitter to categorically deny Anonymous KKK smear:

    This allegation from the group Anonymous is false, insulting and ridiculous. I have never had any relationship of any kind with the KKK.

  108. 108
    japa21 says:

    @mistermix: Actually, that was a pretty poor synopsis of the arguments against more debates. Yes, some of them did occur, as well as several others.

    And nobody is asking you to buy them. You are entitled to your own opinion.

    What has ticked off several people was your condescending BS where you, in effect, said there are no reasonable arguments against more debates (obviously wrong) and therefore everybody who is against them are gullible DWS minions. It would be nice if, perhaps, you admitted you went too far with that comment and understand there are arguments both ways and apologized for your characterization of those who disagree with you.

    I won’t hold my breath.

  109. 109
    japa21 says:

    @Another Holocene Human: I am not sure that is the best approach to take. If I were them, I would ignore it until I was specifically asked about it. Otherwise it almost seems to fall into the “protest too much” category.

  110. 110
    Another Holocene Human says:

    Today in Florida Man, Sanford covers itself in glory once again:

    http://www.news965.com/news/ne.....rre/npDZG/

    I hope the victim sues the totally law abiding citizen so hard he WISHES he’d been charged with a felony and was entitled to three hots and a cot. I can dream, right?

    Note: there is nowhere decent to eat in Sanford. Trust me on that one. (Just drive the other direction to Oveido or DeLand.)

  111. 111
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @japa21: Hm, I would expect these local pols to deny early and often. The bigger the fish, the longer they’re going to ignore it as bilge.

    If they get enough credible denials (Gray is an openly gay man–the Klan wouldn’t even take him if he wanted in), Anonymous is going to look like the sorry script kiddies they are before the week is out, the laughing stock of the intertubes.

  112. 112
    Anoniminous says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    IANAL — but that seems like an open and shut case of “a wrongful act or an infringement of a right (other than under contract) leading to civil legal liability.”

  113. 113
    OldDave says:

    I don’t know what’s more difficult to believe – that nobody has picked up on “Give Me a Ticket for an Airplane” being the first line of The Letter by the Boxtops, or that band member Alex Chilton was only 16 years old when he sung the thing.

  114. 114
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Just saw a commercial for Rachel Maddow’s upcoming “candidate forum”. I thought this was one of the six, but it the ad said “one on one” questions, so… not an official DNC debate?

  115. 115
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @OldDave: I figured the origin had already been noted and I missed it! I knew he was young, but not Steve Winwood young when he sang that.

  116. 116
    Jeffro says:

    BREAKING NEWS: Lawrence Lessig has dropped out of the Democratic race…chaos ensues…brokered convention now a near certainty…

  117. 117
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    Note: there is nowhere decent to eat in Sanford. Trust me on that one. (Just drive the other direction to Oveido or DeLand.)

    Wrong. Hollerbach’s is a nice little bistro that serves German food and has a ginormous selection of European beer, and there are other interesting spots nearby in downtown Sanford.

  118. 118
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @OldDave: I did, but mixtape was being a jerk. Anyway, if I got the song reference I figured everyone did so why bother saying anything.

  119. 119
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Betty Cracker: Well, you must not have gotten the horrible service and just overall horrible experience that me and my friends with small children experienced the one–and last–time we were there.

  120. 120
    rikyrah says:

    UNREAL.
    Ridiculous.

    …………….

    ‘Teacher of the Year’ Quits When Told She’s Unqualified

    Newser on Yahoo
    November 2, 201

    A longtime Alabama educator who has won Teacher of the Year honors resigned last week when her “frustration boiled over” with bureaucracy. Informed that she lacked the state qualifications to teach 5th grade, Ann Marie Corgill resigned from Birmingham City Schools, NPR reports.

    “After 21 years of teaching in grades 1-6, I have no answers as to why this is a problem now, so instead of paying more fees, taking more tests, and proving once again that I am qualified to teach, I am resigning,” she wrote in her resignation letter. Corgill, who was 2014-2015 Alabama Teacher of the Year and a 2015 National Teacher of the Year finalist, this year joined the staff at Oliver Elementary as a 2nd-grade teacher; she was then shifted to teach 5th grade. But roughly a month into her new role, a state education administrator called and said she lacked the certification to continue, AL.com reports.

    https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/teacher-of-the-year-quits-when-told-shes-163728952.html

  121. 121
    Geeno says:

    Fewer debates/more townhalls.

  122. 122
    Brachiator says:

    @Kazanir: Fair point that the Democratic debates have been more substantive than the GOP debates. Fewer candidates, more time for questions and answers.

    I still don’t need as many debates as the GOP have scheduled.

  123. 123
    trollhattan says:

    @OldDave:
    Had the same reaction to finding out Chilton’s age that I did on learning Stevie Winwood was all of 14 when he joined the Spencer Davis Group. What the hey?

  124. 124
    Brachiator says:

    @mistermix:

    1. Both Clinton and Sanders are smart enough to avoid infighting.

    Nope. The BS over Sanders’ alleged sexist comments contradicts this point. The larger point is that some debate moderators love gotcha questions. They control the debate. That Sanders and Clinton may be able to avoid some of this does not make more debates worth it. There would just be time spent deflecting dumb ass questions.

    2. Debates are free media and the cost to the candidate is basically the cost of showing up. The cost of a couple of hours of prime time cable exposure would otherwise be millions of dollars, so why not take advantage of it.

    This might be an argument for more debates. It is not an argument for 11 or whatever number of GOP debates are scheduled.

    3. And by saying this, I hope you realize that you are allowing the stenographic media, which almost never pushes back on Republican lies, to report their bullshit over and over.

    People believe Republican BS because they want to. If a reporter notes the lies and distortions, true believers will simply assert that the press is in the pocket of the Democrats. Your gripe here is irrelevant to the notion of increasing the number of Democratic debates.

    4. The logical way for Democrats to deal with this is to add some novelty to the process by focusing their debates on a set of core issues in locales where those issues are important. Here are a couple of venues and topics I’d love to see: Tucson, Arizona / Immigration. Ferguson, MO / Black Lives Matter.

    Stunt debating does not sound like it would be either interesting or enlightening.

    You really have a hate-on for DWS. I barely know who she is, nor do I give a fig about her. But simply reiterating your dissatisfaction with her is not the same thing as justifying more Democratic debates. The best argument is that it might be free time, so why not take advantage.

  125. 125
    MCA1 says:

    @Brachiator: I agree with the general consensus here (disagreeing with mistermix). One countervailing thought, however, is that an opportunistic DNC could use that substantiality to its advantage by scheduling more debates and then making a big deal of the difference between the R circus and their own orderly proceeding. I’d like to see counterscheduling on NBC or Telemundo immediately following the next R debate, for instance. I hear they’ve got some airwaves freed up. Show the two in stark relief and have a bunch of ads ready to go for the next morning with a tag line like “You know who the adults are here.” I guess that could be gained by simply rescheduling the limited D debate slate that’s already out there, of course, instead of adding more.

  126. 126
    groucho48 says:

    As far as I’m concerned, it’s too early to be having debates, anyway. Should wait until 2016. Also, Dem debates will only get massive coverage if something bad happens. Who needs that? 6 debates is fine. 8 would be okay. More than that would be counter-productive.

  127. 127
    m0nty says:

    Never interrupt your enemy while they are making a mistake. And whoever the Republicans choose, it will be a mistake.

    (Long time lurker, first time poster.)

  128. 128
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Another Holocene Human: You and your friends with small children had a bad experience at Hollerbach’s specifically?

  129. 129
    The Gray Adder says:

    1:1? Naah. It’s called “rope a dope.” Let the dopes in the GOP punch themselves silly, then come out swinging in the 8th round for the KO. Louisville’s most famous slugger implemented this to great effect. It works for politics as well.

  130. 130
    rikyrah says:

    @NonyNony:

    Republicans are stepping on their own dicks with all of their “free media” coverage. Why help them out by giving the media someone else to focus on?

    that’s true.

  131. 131
    Dmbeaster says:

    Under this theory, there cannot be too many debates. In both 2012 and 2016, Republicans have proven otherwise.

    Whatever the happy number might be for number of debates (which would vary from season to season depending on the line ups and other factors), it is probably a few more than the Dems set up and less than the clown show.

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