Monday, December 12, 2011

Should we wish for an Obama-Gingrich contest?

Michael Kazin thinks so. He writes that Gingrich-Obama debates would be a true clash of ideas that would "expose the moral and logical defects of the conservative ideology that has been mostly dominant in the U.S. since 1980, even under Democratic presidents. Then, perhaps, a true liberal revival could begin."

I'm not completely convinced. From a selfish standpoint, I can't stand listening to Gingrich and the idea of having to endure his yammering for an entire general election campaign is hardly pleasing. But something a little more substantive seems to be bothering me about this, though at the moment I'm not sure exactly what it is.


hank_F_M said...


Ignoring content

Slight advantage to the President on prepared text.

Advantage to Gingrich on long answers that have to be adlibbed.

Gingrich suggested a format that favors himself. If he can say something that the President has to make a 10 minute unprepared response the President will not come off well. That sort of response is a Gingrich forte.

The President would do better with the usual format of a press person asking relatively predicable questions that can be answered or ducked with short response. I think he will break even or have a small advantage there.

There is a tape floating around the less responsible conservative radio and I suppose websites of an 13 minute ad lib response the President made. They cut out the English out and left over 3 minutes of "um's" and "ah's". If he does that in a debate content does not make much difference.

Hank’s Eclectic Meanderings

LFC said...

Well, you could be right. I'm inclined to think the Pres. is a little better at long responses than you suggest. Kazin envisions a genuine, elevated (and/or elevating) debate about fundamental ideological differences. But U.S. presidential campaigns, at least in recent decades, don't seem to emphasize this. Perhaps this one will be different. I'm not at all ready, btw, to say that Gingrich will be the Rep. nominee. Way too early, i.m.o.