Politico and NBC News have announced that they will co-host the first 2012 Republican president debates with Nancy Reagan at Ronald Reagan's presidential library. The debate has been tentatively scheduled for spring 2011, only a few months away. Here's what writers have to say about this remarkably early event.
- Why Republicans Are Anxious to Get Started Talking Points Memo's Evan McMorris-Santoro writes, "Republicans running for president face a different climate. Though they just won big in the mid-terms, their party remains split between tea party conservatives and establishment figures, a split that is expected to carry through the 2012 race. ... [And] no one -- except for maybe the most pumped-up tea partier -- believes defeating Obama will be an easy task."
- Could Force GOP Candidates to Announce Reuters's Steve Holland writes, "Setting up the first debate could have the net effect of forcing some would-be candidates who are sitting back and testing the political winds to go ahead and make a decision on whether they will run. We’re talking about you, Sarah Palin."
- This Is a Terrible Idea National Review's Jim Geraghty calls this "an astonishingly bad idea. ... Most Americans are not like you and me. They do not like political campaigns. They do not like two-year campaigns. They do not like debates for a general election roughly 20 months away, or a primary six months away or more." He warns this will force the candidates to have a debate about once a month right through the election, which means "20 or 30" debates, which will exhaust both voters and the candidates, watering down what should be a much smaller number of events.
- Will Sarah Palin Show? Talking Points Memo's Evan McMorris-Santoro wonders, "the biggest question is will Sarah Palin attend. Her potential run for the nomination has dominated the Republican presidential storyline since John McCain lost to Obama in 2008, and if Palin shows up to stake her claim as the tea party's candidate early on, it could change the dynamics of things quite a bit." Daily Kos' Jed Lewison adds, "while you're waiting, here's something to chew on: if Sarah Palin manages to get the GOP nomination, by the time the 2012 election rolls around she'll have been an official candidate for either Vice President or President for as long as she was Governor of Alaska."