Today, Hillary Clinton challenged Barack Obama to a debate without a moderator ala Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas in their 1858 Illinois Senate campaign, but do we really need any more debates? Is there anything about these two candidates that we don’t already know?
While campaigning in Indiana, Clinton said that the debate would be, “Just the two of us, going for 90 minutes, asking and answering questions, we’ll set whatever rules seem fair.” The Obama campaign correctly pointed out that these two candidates have already debated 21 times, which is more than any other presidential primary campaign in history. Being ahead, Obama should turn Clinton down. Clinton will then try to use this to say that the tide of the race has changed, and Obama is avoiding her. This is political campaigning 101.
The candidate that is trailing always wants more debates, because the side by side comparison is the easiest way to persuade voters. Debates are great for cash strapped candidates because they are free media, but the flaw in Clinton’s argument is the belief that more debates will change any minds.
People in North Carolina and Indiana have probably seen the previous debates. The main problem with this Democratic primary is that it has split the party 50/50. I doubt that debate #22, #25, or #152 will change anything.
I have watched and written about 20 of the previous 21 debates, and trust me, they are progressively getting worse. Both candidates have little left to say and the networks are trying to draw the candidates out with tabloid style questions.
If we were to take a poll, I’d bet that most people don’t want any more debates. If Hillary Clinton had any compassion at all, she would ask Obama to join her in promising Democratic voters that there will be no more debates. I think that we all have had enough.