The Spectacle Blog

History Argues Against One-on-One Debates in GOP Contest

By on 12.23.11 | 11:55AM

Some people are all aghast that Mitt Romney has not agree to debate Newt Gingrich one one one. Oh, Romney must be scared!!!!

That's total BS. Utter, complete nonsense. And I say this as someone who is decidedly unenamored of Romney. (In fact, for really good material on Romney, go here.)

Anybody who knows conservative history should know what happened the last time one purported front-runner agreed to a one-one-one debate with the other purported front-runner in a multi-candidate field. George H.W. Bush INSISTED that only he and Ronald Reagan be allowed on stage at Nashua, N.H. Reagan had other ideas. Phil Crane, Bob Dole, Howard Baker and John Anderson walked out on stage at Reagan's invitation, the moderator tried to shut off Reagan's microphone, Reagan firmly said that he (the Reagan campaign) "paid for this microphone," and Bush looked like the bad guy, and worse, like the bad guy with deer-in-headlight proclivities. That single moment turned around Reagan's campaign and set him on the course to the White House.

it's just flat-out unfair to exclude other legitimate candidates from debates. And, after Nashua, it's decidedly bad karma.

If Gingrich wants to insist on a one-on-one debate, fine, let him play the role of Poppy Bush.

Meanwhile, let Santorum, Bachmann, and Perry all make hay from Gingrich's arrogance.

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