In my latest piece, I praise—and not even in a Slatepitchy way—the RNC's threat to boycott 2016 primary debates hosted by NBC and CNN unless those networks put the kibosh on their Hillary Clinton movies. (NBC's entertainment division is working on a docudrama, while CNN—far less enragingly, given the networks' Benghazi scoopage—is working on a documentary.) The Clinton hook is a little cute, and the RNC is already using it to raise money and build email lists, but I agree with the general idea that ideological candidate debates, put on by right-wingers, might be more interesting than the "MSM" debates. Ten questions from Fred Kagan or Ed Meese are more likely to burrow into the GOP's philosophy than 10 questions from Handsome Cable Host of the Week. Indeed, though it was seen as a snoozer at the time, the think tank-sponsored debate of 2011 was the only one that got candidates on the record on drones and Patriot Act renewal.
Let's not be Pollyannas, though. This is a popular campaign among Republicans not because they want harder questions but because they mistrust the press and think they let candidates be exploited for ratings in 2011–2012. "Why in the world would this be a bad idea?" one former candidate spokesman told me. "Chris Matthews and Piers Morgan should never moderate a GOP debate. It's impossible for them to be objective. It is like a child with their parents' credit card in a toy store. They just can't help themselves."
TODAY IN SLATE
The Democrats’ War at Home
How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?
Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best
Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke
A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking
Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10
Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.
How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.
You Deserve a Pre-cation
The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.