Friday, March 25, 2011

Media in Snit Over Slow Start of 2012 Debates – Democrats First To Roll Out Pre-Fall Presidential Debates in 2003 – Enter Last - Finish First


Obama and a field of "potential GOP Contenders", image: The State.com

The New York Timesis wondering why there may be few if any Republican Presidential Contenders at the first televised debate on May 2nd. They cite the standard “Republican Strategist” as saying GOP potential candidates may not want to face a hostile media (NBC and politico), the Times wonders if the GOP Candidates would dare not appear at a Fox News Debate scheduled 3 days later on May 5th. They also offer the dire warning of entering the race later than sooner, as being somewhat of a political disaster for a candidate, pointing out the brief candidacy of Republican Fred Thompson.

Meanwhile, the latest Gallup poll shows Huckabee with the lead over a field of seventeen potential, but yet to officially announce, candidates. In the Gallup Poll, Huckabee leads, followed by Romney and Palin, with Trump on the Gallup rolls, 2 points behind the candidate most likely to announce first, Tim Pawlenty. There are four candidates in this particular scenario that garner double digits: Huckabee, Romney, Palin and Gingrich. The Gallup articles states there are no clear frontrunners this late in the game, and notes that the 1000 people polled, apparently are not galvanized behind any one candidate.

Talk about stating the obvious. If, for example the field included ten officially announced candidates, one would bet that, in the reality of this extremely early stage in presidential contests, the results might be the same.

Going far back into the history of Presidential Debates and announcements to run, one finds that for the 2004 presidential contest, the earliest recorded debate took place on May 3rd, 1999 in California. This was the DNC debate noted as the earliest recorded and featured Howard Dean, John Edwards (considered the front runner), John Kerry (who eventually won the nomination and lost to President George W. Bush, and rounding out the field were Gephardt and Lieberman. Source WSWS.org (World Socialist Web Site) Prior to the Democrats starting the trend of the screamingly early debate, debates for both major political parties were held later in the year preceding the general election, and in some instances, candidates did not attend nor announce their intent to run, until after the first two debates were held.

On November, 29, 1999, George Bush entered the debate arena, skipping two prior debates. (McCook Daily Gazette). The first GOP debates of the 2000 General were held in the later half of October 1999, two weeks apart. (Washington Post) On the DNC side, Bradley did not announce his intent to run against Gore until December of 1999, even though Gore had announced earlier in the year. In that case, Gore, who was the sitting Vice President under Bill Clinton, did not anticipate a serious challenge. In this one scenario, with Bradley entering “late” in that year, Gore did go onto win the nomination. However, one might have anticipated it a given, as he was, again, the sitting Vice President and therefore “heir to the throne”.

In the case of the GOP nominees, and their late to the debate, Gorge W. Bush, all should know the outcome; G.W. Bush went on to two terms in the White House.
Therefore, the media and its close alliance with the DNC (or preference for), may stem from the fact that, although ideologically wedded to the Democratic Party, they also gain from early announcements and debates in “content”. Otherwise they may be forced, at this point, to cover other stories such as the fact that the Pentagon has announced that the U.S. will continue military operations in Libya. (AP) Additionally, the U.S. now has boots in the form of the Marines, on the ground in Libya(National Review), or that the military under Obama’s watch, was involved in murdering civilians and then posing for photos with the deceased”> (Guardian-UK)

Unfortunately, the general media cannot run these stories every day, on several pages within a printed piece, or on the network news, as it would, in all likelihood, make their case for a second Obama Presidential bid a bit more difficult. (Unlike the way any move made by George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan was put under the media microscope and beat to death by the press.)

The fact that Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Mitt Romney and whoever else may end up jumping into the cesspool left behind by the current administration has yet to announce, is moot and in keeping with the traditional time to announce, rather than the earlier announcements and debates set by the DNC in the 2004 general. On the face of it, the later the date, the better for those weary of politicians from the on-set, additionally, from a Machiavellian point of view, the later the GOP nominees enter the fray, the more difficult for the competition (in this case the President), in terms of having the time to define themselves against a known enemy – with the help of a few friends, consistently beating the drums against the ineptitude of this Pastor, or that Mayor, or God Forbid, the man who wants to tell the President: “Your fired!”. (However, these barbs are available in media daily, just in case).

Should Huckabee skip the first 4 debates for that matter, or Palin or Romney or Gingrich or Trump, they have had the time to meet with constituents, world leaders, small and large businesses, and get a real sense of the magnitude of the task at hand. In addition, should an announcement come in say July of 2011 that gives the public 17 months of speculation to deal with, which might still be too much. Imagine announcement in July and debates in October! Less is more, and in this case, perhaps history will repeat itself (as it is want to do), with the last man in, taking the prize. As Gallup noted in the above reference article, once there are actual announcements of an intent to run, a front runner will appear, in due time, at the right time, just not at a time that is convenient for journalist, pundits and political junkies.

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