The media-sponsored Republican debates have been the best thing to happen to our democracy, in the last 50 years, since the first television debate between JFK and President Nixon. The huge number of debates have attracted large audiences that have created a major commercial incentive to schedule more debates. One result has been that nearly all the Republican candidates have received significant free television time to speak directly to the American people, and the American people have been able to judge the candidates in a much better manner than by watching paid television commercials financed by political donors.
Except for the debates, the well-bankrolled, great-haired, but not silver-tongued Rick Perry may have been on the way to the White House, and Romney's comparatively strong campaign treasury would have put him in a much stronger position. The debates stopped all that and instead powered Newt Gingrich to the top.
Newt Gingrich who raised a pitiful $2.9 million by September 30 and had debts (not to Tiffany's) that were three times greater than his campaign money in the bank leads national polls by about 20 points, is ahead in Iowa, South Carolina, and Florida, and 9 points behind Romney in New Hampshire where Romney has a home. The plentiful debates have trumped big money and good hair.
Thanks to the large numbers of mainly Republican viewers and the media companies televising them, the debates are a genuine political revolution that is now triggering a counter- revolution by the big donor establishment. No surprise that Karl Rove leads the counter-revolution and is trying to veto the Trump debate on Ion and Newsmax.
I stand with Trump, when he says more debates are a good thing. Hooray for Gingrich and Santorum for resisting the Rove hazing and for showing up. Of course spineless, pandering Romney who has seen his huge private wealth and $32 million plus campaign war chest devalued by the debates will not be.
Mark McKinnon, a big-time political consultant, even wants Harvard University to run a primary debate commission to "organize" the "out-of-control" debates. How rich is that? The people who controlled the process, until this primary contest, were almost exclusively those who could give and raise huge sums to overpay the Roves and Mckinnons of the political world and to buy often dishonest commercials.
The Republican debates have freed our democracy to a significant extent from the toxic grip of big money, as shown by the whining and sad faces on those losing control. Indeed, those whines and sad faces are a big reason for most Americans, regardless of their political allegiances, to smile.