Politics

Trump's "Circus" Debate a "Dignity Test" for GOP Candidates

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Donald Trump

Last week, the Ron Paul campaign declined to participate in reality TV star Donald Trump's presidential debate, saying it would "contribute to an unwanted circus-like atmosphere." Turns out, Paul's not the only one who thinks Trump's a clown. The New York Times:

In an interview, Ari Fleischer, a former press secretary for Mr. Bush, called Mr. Trump's debate "an invitation to a circus" and urged the candidates to refuse to attend.

"Donald Trump risks making a carnival out of a serious presidential campaign," Mr. Fleischer said. "I think this is an opportunity for a candidate to stand up. I don't understand the fear of Donald Trump, politically. He doesn't have a constituency or a following."

Mark McKinnon, a strategist who worked for Mr. Bush, said in an e-mail that the proposed debate is "not good for the candidates. It's not good for the party. It's only good for Donald Trump."

Politico called the debate a "dignity test for the 2012 presidential field." So far, only Jon Huntsman has joined Paul in passing the test by announcing that he will skip the debate. Trump was predictably peeved at both of them, hitting back back with the childhood classic, I know you are but what am I:

"Few people take Ron Paul seriously and many of his views and presentation make him a clown-like candidate," he said.

Mainstream Republicans like Sen. John McCain, Karl Rove, and Charles Krauthammer have recently come out echoing Paul's sentiments.

Meanwhile, Paul is running second or third in most primary polls, while a recent NBC News poll shows that Trump's endorsement is more likely to hurt candidates than help them. That reflects an earlier Fox News poll showing that "by a 5-to-1 margin a Trump endorsement is more likely to have a negative impact," something Trump hates to be reminded of.

The ever-cocky Newt Gingrich apparently thinks he can withstand the negative Trump effect, enthusiastically accepting Trump's invitation. Mitt Romney characteristically hasn't made up his mind yet.

Reason on why Trump is a laughing matter here, here, and here.

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  1. Newt is leading the polls. It’s already a circus.

  2. Newt accepted because he is an idiot.

    If he wins the office, we’ll look back on the Obama days with fondness.

    1. Re: tarran,

      If he wins the office, we’ll look back on the Obama days with fondness.

      Unfortunatelly that has been the norm in this country: To look at current events with sad nostalgia. Has been for decades.

      “He (X) makes us look at (Y) with fondness.”

  3. Mitt Romney characteristically hasn’t made up his mind yet.

    Ha ha ha! The shortest and sweetest editorial ever!

    +1 millon!

  4. Really? Why is Trumps debate any more of a circus, than debates organized by Politico, MSNBC, CNN, or FNC?

    I would love to see a debate organized by the Fox business channel. Let the Judge be, well… the judge, along with Neil Cavuto, Charles Payne, and Stuart Varney. Throw in a woman with a sweet rack, and you would have yourself a real debate.

    1. It’s not. Trump isn’t much more of a doofus than any other MSM moderator, and he certainly isn’t any less biased.

      But perception matters. Wolf Blitzer is a Serious Man, even if he asks profoundly unserious questions.

    2. There’s a debate I would watch. (Especially if Shobani Joshi, though not so gifted in the rack area, was on the panel.) The Judge would shred them.

      1. We need a “Freedom Watch”/Reason.com debate ASAP.

    3. gop knuckle-draggers getting played again makes it a circus like palin’s shameless grifting

  5. “Few people take Ron Paul seriously and many of his views and presentation make him a clown-like candidate,” he said.

    Well, since we’re having a pot-kettle slugfest:

    Mark McKinnon, a strategist who worked for Mr. Bush, said in an e-mail that the proposed debate is “not good for the candidates. It’s not good for the party. It’s only good for Donald Trump.”

    Which, translated, means: Trump is the one being a clown in a quest for attention.

  6. I remember waking up to Howard Stern on the radio one morning; he was interviewing Donald Trump. Trump didn’t know what the word vacuous meant, and he misused the context of the sentence to define it as slutty.

    1. wealth and intelligence aint correlated…or, entertainers should keep their mouths shut…unless they’re radio entertainment

  7. Trump calling anyone a clown is well beyond ironic.

    Now, if he called a Paul an antisemite . . .

    1. he’d still be wrong.

    2. Does pro-semite mean cheering Jews on in a march towards doomsday? That is what the neocons and evangelist (quite literally) are doing.

  8. By 2016, all presidential candidates will have to ballroom dance with Chaz Bono to be considered viable candidates.

  9. Donald has sex with his toup?e after Newt and Mitt masterbate all over it.

    1. The real SF wouldn’t misspell masturbate.

      1. No, that was me. Darn lack of preview. When we will get a preview button? Oh, when?

      2. You could have just taken it all the way and said “masterdebate”.

    2. Rumor has it, that Newt is banging the Donald’s toupee on the side. Based on Newt’s track record, it won’t be long until he kicks his current wife to the curb, and turns the Donald’s hair piece into an honest woman.

  10. I’d like to see a debate moderated by Chairman Kaga of Iron Chef. He’d unveil an issue, then give the candidates and their teams one hour to come up with their best answer (which would have to be delivered in three minutes or less).

    The preparations of the answers would be on camera, with Alton Brown making comments on their preparations throughout (for instance, if they request certain materials for research, he’d comment on them).

    If having foodies involved mysteriously reduces the gravitas of the event more than the Trump scenario, then the same format with accepted political commentators.

    Iron Candidate!

    It would be more of a parallel with the candidates having to pick an elder statesman to defeat, but that’s probably too complicated. They can fight against one another.

    1. And it would afford us the possibility of seeing a GOP presidential candidate being beaten to death with a diakon radish.

      1. No, no actual food preparation. Though maybe judging the candidates’ cooking abilities might be a better test of their readiness for office than bullshit soundbites that are (1) provisional at best and (2) not applicable to the real world, where the president doesn’t wipe his ass without discussing it with his staff for hours.

        1. That is actual food preperation. Pummeling with a diakon makes the stringy flesh of the career paraste quite tender.

          1. I think the Iron Chef format would actually be a greater test than the current one. First, no nonsense about prepared sound bites and instant answers, which are in the latter instance not a major part of the office.

            Second, this format allows the candidate to utilize his advisers, which helps us to evaluate them as well as him.

            Finally, this format ups the ante when the candidate later changes his position. It’s one thing to change a sound bite that was issued in a live, debate format, quite another when it was clearly a well-prepared (well, prepared, anyway) response.

            1. clearly a well-prepared (well, prepared, anyway) response.

              Nice.

          2. Then put them on the old Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook.

            While technically a cooking show, the host knew not to take the proceedings very seriously, and the contestants knew they weren’t the greatest of cooks either.

            1. Hosted by the Galloping Gourmet?

    2. I would watch the hell out of this.

      1. Haute d?bat!

      2. me 2

      3. me 2

        1. i guess that means me 4

    3. I was on the speech and debate team in my high school. The debate format ProL is suggesting is essentially the same format in high school debate competition. Topical question, one hour to research, compile a pro/con argument and present your argument. I bet these candidates couldn’t do half as good as a 10th grade speech/debate team nerd does.

      1. See? There’s precedent.

  11. Mitt Romney characteristically hasn’t made up his mind yet.

    Yes he has. He’s just changed it 5 or 6 times in the last week.

    1. He’s trying to figure out a way to both accept and decline the invitation. Probably working on a stunt double to be seen elsewhere.

      1. He’s waiting for a majority of candidates to opt out, in which case he will join them, thus exhibiting his leadership and decisiveness.

        1. He only needs one more person to decline, then he will be the deciding vote that creates a majority. Talk about leadership!

          1. Gentlemen, it takes time to poll test things like this. You don’t go off all deciding this and deciding that without a taking poll.

  12. Ari Fleischer, a former press secretary for Mr. Bush, called Mr. Trump’s debate “an invitation to a circus”

    When the only tool you have is a clown, everything looks like a circus.

  13. Of course Newt thinks he can withstand the “negative Trump effect”. He obviously hasn’t been scared off by the negative Newt effect.

  14. Is his dumbwitted son going to be there?

  15. Newt has a massive boner for the “Lincoln-Douglas” debate format. RP should massage Newt’s little bulge, by taking him up on the offer.

    1. Maybe the format of the L-D debates would be welcomed, but not one of the candidates, including no-telepromter Obama, could begin to touch the oratory of either Lincoln or Douglas.

  16. As long as they have lots of funny midgets, I’m okay with it. Maybe one of the midgets can slap each candidate with a dead fish.

  17. If they had any dignity, they wouldn’t be politicians.

  18. Titties Trump 2012 – so it’s come to this.

    1. I hope “So It’s Come To This” is their campaign slogan. So ominous and fatalistic.

  19. a serious presidential campaign

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  20. Mitt Romney characteristically hasn’t made up his mind yet.

    The real question is how many times he’ll change his mind after making it up.

  21. This whole obsession with debates is really sandpapering my rectum.

    Now, supposedly, the Dems are quivering in fear of Newkular. Because he’s such a good debater, and the only thing that matters in the general election is the debates. Or something.

    1. Newt probably is a good debater….until he says something totally stupid and outrageous.

      The best description I’ve heard of him is that he walks around with his pockets full of exploding cigars. Or maybe exploding grenades.

      It’s not if he will say something that blows him up, it’s when.

      1. He’s a smarter, cockier version of Biden.

      2. He’s a master debater.

    2. Really, how apt is the current debate format to the actual knowledge and aptitude necessary for being a good president?

  22. The real debate I want to see is Ed Shultz, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Chris Matthews moderating the republican clowns.

    And for the democrats I want to see Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and others debating the democrat clowns.

    Anyone saw Bill O’Reilly last night? He put the poll numbers in 3 states which showed Ron Paul in 3rd place. But he said Ron Paul is not going to win the nomination, so smug, so certain. Then he interviews Michelle Bachmann, and says deportation of illegal aliens seems to harsh (are you going to deport people with kids who are here illegal but otherwise committed no crime) and expensive — kudos to O’Reilly for this. It would be nice if he took Ron Paul more seriously.

    But then again, I don’t want to Ron Paul to win. I don’t want to be disappointed. He will have to compromise (like Brown did on prop 19 and 3 strikes) and lose his purist appeal. I want Mitt or Newt to go against Obama. I really wanted Cain, as then we would have black versus black. His affair is his personal business and I would vote for him despite the 13 year affair, because 9-9-9 gets rid off the income tax eventually, but it is the sexual harassment charges that told me he crossed the line, and it is because of these I would not vote for him.

  23. The real debate I want to see is Ed Shultz, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Chris Matthews moderating the republican clowns.

    And for the democrats I want to see Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and others debating the democrat clowns.

    Anyone saw Bill O’Reilly last night? He put the poll numbers in 3 states which showed Ron Paul in 3rd place. But he said Ron Paul is not going to win the nomination, so smug, so certain. Then he interviews Michelle Bachmann, and says deportation of illegal aliens seems to harsh (are you going to deport people with kids who are here illegal but otherwise committed no crime) and expensive — kudos to O’Reilly for this. It would be nice if he took Ron Paul more seriously.

    But then again, I don’t want to Ron Paul to win. I don’t want to be disappointed. He will have to compromise (like Brown did on prop 19 and 3 strikes) and lose his purist appeal. I want Mitt or Newt to go against Obama. I really wanted Cain, as then we would have black versus black. His affair is his personal business and I would vote for him despite the 13 year affair, because 9-9-9 gets rid off the income tax eventually, but it is the sexual harassment charges that told me he crossed the line, and it is because of these I would not vote for him.

    1. because 9-9-9 gets rid off the income tax eventually,

      Cocaine’s a hell of a drug.

    2. You mean like Rand Paul, who after a few days of telling the truth about what he believes was firmly caught around the neck by Mitch McConnell’s leash?

    3. I don’t think Ron Paul would compromise.

      Presidents don’t have to compromise with oppositional Congresses. They choose to compromise because they are afraid the country will fall apart if they start vetoing everything that touches their desk. Ron Paul would be willing to call Congress’ bluff because he knows that the country would actually be better off with the government running under a permanent “snow emergency”.

  24. So agreeing with Ari Fleischer, Carl Rove, John McCain and Charles Krauthammer is good when Ron Paul does it?

    Interesting.

  25. Trump is a windbag and full of hot air? all that fuss and guffaw will drop like his blood pressure after a double-tap shotgun blast to the head. Watch him get his and see if that hair is even real when the guns come out on the Zombie Walk of Fame at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot…..trump.html

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