Should Donald Trump moderate a GOP debate?

No.

Donald Trump at Wrestlemania

In case you missed it, Newsmax.com has asked Donald Trump to moderate at debate of the Republican candidates (“Trump to Moderate Newsmax, ION TV GOP Debate“). I usually try to avoid national politics, but this is such a bad idea…

Why is it a bad idea?

  1. Trump turned himself into an entertainer (of sorts) years ago. That’s why National Review has already labeled this the Sideshow Debate. If this debate turns into a freak show it will implicate every candidate on the stage as well as the Republican party in general.
    The GOP is already underperforming and it needs to show voters that the grownups are in charge. Some in the GOP seem to believe that a bad economy means that people will vote for anyone other than Obama. More likely, nervous voters are not going to entrusts a shaky recovery to a flakey candidate. It’s a good time to be taken seriously.
  2. Trump is not neutral in any sense of the word. The day I checked the story the “Breaking News” line on Newsmax.com read: “Breaking: Trump: ‘I’m Not Running for President, I’m Backing GOP Candidate.'” Some Republicans will say, “That’s okay, he turned on Obama.” Anybody think that Obama is the last guy Trump will throw under the bus?
    Trump has been courted openly by Newt Gingrich since the debate was announced. How would you feel if you heard that LSU was paying a little social visit to the officiating crew that has been chosen to call the national championship game?
  3. It’s December 27. People are not going to tune in over the holidays. Voters have already had enough chances to hear from the candidates in real debates. I’m sure “highlights” of the debate will make the Daily Show and the Colbert Report. The rest of the debate will likely be ignored. So, no big payoff–lots of risk.
Fonzie jumps the sharkI had taken Newsmax seriously before this. However, I do not understand why a legitimate news organization would turn an event like this over to someone with no journalism training or standards. You also have to wonder why a conservative news organization would turn to what National Review describes a “tax-hike-supporting, missile-defense-opposing, universal-health-care-advocating, eminent-domain abusing, Schumer-Weiner-Rangel-Reid-donating, long-time-pro-choice economic protectionist who in 2008 called George W. Bush “evil” and lauded president-elect Barack Obama as a potentially ‘great president’ who would “lead by consensus.” In television they call this “jumping the shark.

It’s hard to say why Newsmax sponsored this stunt. It looks like a huge potential boon for the Obama campaign. Or, it could be a way of using natural selection to thin out the herd. After all, any candidate foolish enough to accept an invitation to this debate shouldn’t be president.

**** Update 12/13/11 ****

Trump has pulled out of the debate because he did not want to give up his right to run as an independent candidate after the next season of his reality television show wraps up.  Newsmax has been duped and dumped and now NBC has the problem of providing airtime to a potential presidential candidate.

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