This week, I was asked to participate in US News & World Report’s “Debate Club,” where myself and four others, including Grover Norquist, weighed in on the question: Should the GOP presidential candidates participate in Donald Trump’s debate?
Virtually no one in the Republican mainstream is happy about the prospect of a GOP debate featuring celebrity billionaire Donald Trump as moderator. Texas Rep. Ron Paul, in declining his invitation, said the event would create an “unwanted, circus-like atmosphere.” Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has likewise refused to participate, and conservative voices like George Will, Karl Rove, Ari Fleischer, and the National Review editorial board have lambasted Trump’s involvement.
The reaction to the debate on the right has been one of alarm, and for good reason: the choice of Trump as moderator contributes to the perception that the Republican Party no longer takes itself seriously.
Onlookers have watched as Republicans flirted with nominating a pizza mogul with zero years of political experience. They saw recent frontrunner Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, struggle to remember which agencies he would eliminate if elected. Last year, they were faced with a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate who felt the need to go on the air and announce, “I’m not a witch.” And now the GOP has anointed a reality TV star whose biggest conservative credential is that he forced the president to take time away from orchestrating Osama bin Laden’s assassination in order to prove—again—that he was born on U.S. soil.
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