Roger L. Simon

End the David Axelrod Debating Society Now

After what feels like the 938th Republican presidential debate, it’s a high time to do the obvious and end this tedious road show now. It only benefits one person — Barack Obama.

We already know (oh, how we know) that Newt Gingrich is the smartest student in the room, that Mitt Romney can look like a president, that Herman Cain was a business success, that Michel Bachmann adopted more kids than Cheaper by the Dozen, that Rick Santorum is a mean self-promoter, that poor Rick Perry is the worst debater since Sally-whatever-her-name-was in the third grade, that Jon Hunstman is a bore and that Ron Paul is, well, Ron Paul.

Do we have to learn this yet again? Do we want to give yet another opportunity to mainstream media hatchet men to further tarnish Republicans before the real election, while serious issues are hardly given an airing.

I think not.

Here’s my suggestion. Bag the rest of the debates.

Santorum, Bachmann, Huntsman, and, alas, Perry should all go home. They have less chance of being president than your Aunt Minnie. I would say the same for Ron Paul, but getting Ron Paul to go home is probably more difficult than colonizing Neptune.

Next, let the three remaining candidates — Romney, Gingrich, Cain — debate each other. They should do this without the media. What do we need them for? To ask questions? What could be more pointless? Why take up meaningless air time?

The Cain-Gingrich tete-a-tete was already by far the most interesting debate and that could be used as the template. Besides debating each other, the three should pledge to spend a significant portion, maybe the majority, of their time attacking and dissecting Obama and his administration. He is the principal opposition and the real reason – they should always remember — that they are there. The more they forget that, the more they put our republic in jeopardy for their own ambitions. Defeating Obama is more important than any one of them as individuals.

With only three candidates (or two, if scandal overtakes Cain) there will plenty of time for actual discussion. Some of it might even be enlightening to the public and offer some genuine solutions in this extraordinarily difficult time. The current symphony of gaffes, gotchas and sound bites obviously does the reverse.

Finally, I don’t think this is hard to accomplish. The public is sick of the media as individuals and as a class. They would only applaud the candidates for getting rid of them. The standing of the Republican Party would rise too, at least a little bit. They would seem more adult, less as peons of the mainstream media, as they often do now. Using the media as bridge or a crutch is an insult to the electorate.

And, no, they don’t have to take questions from the audience. Or answer queries from Twitter or Facebook that too is often phony and pre-selected. Just talk – to us and each other — get everything out. Take as long as you want. We’ll listen if you’re honest. Just do it.

(Artwork above based on modified Shutterstock.com image.)