Just so everyone knows, I intend to cover the Palmetto Freedom Forum as I covered the Ames Iowa debate. This, however, will be an entirely different animal. The FoxNews debate was less a debate and more an episode of Arsenio Hall on a political bender with gotcha questions and other bits of nonsense. The Ames debate was, don’t get me wrong, highly entertaining, and I think it did help us figure out who was best at handling the media. We learned, for example, that although Newt Gingrich gave answers that deeply satisfied conservative viewers, he was viewed by even mainstream GOP media types as being petty and churlish. We learned that Bachmann seemed only capable of quoting platitutdes and slogans – a similar complaint was raised about Palin, even by GOP insiders.
But this debate – run by two of the furthest right leaning members of Congress (Jim DeMint and Steve King) and by Dr. Robert P. George – a Princeton professor of law and philosophy specializing in conservative social issues – promises to be much more cerebral. George says he wants to test real philosophical, constitutional and economic ideals and understanding. He’s treating the debate as a poli-sci final exam, expecting paragraph-long (read: concise), precise answers to real philosophical questions. I highly recommend attendence – I have thus far not found it on TV, but it will be broadcast by uStream.com (a bit like YouTube except it does live streaming media, not just video uploads). Monday at 8 PM…I plan to attend and take notes…and I will report back what I find out after the debate.