Don't like the current crop of GOP candidates? Blame the media.
That's what the National Review Online is doing. Their editors say the debates sponsored by the mainstream media did nothing but make conservatives look weird. They're advocating for a change in the process in 2016.
That’s the same media that daily carry water for the Obama administration, approach the tea parties as anthropological curiosities, and persistently skew the public discourse leftward in ways large and small, conscious and unconscious. So why on earth should conservatives trust them to play any substantial role in the selection of our presidential standard-bearer?
The answer, of course, is that we should not. Not again.
But getting substantive answers requires moderators interested in asking substantive questions. And with few exceptions, none of the current lot have shown themselves to be up to the task.
Therefore, Republicans should work to improve the quality of the debates by building on the model of the AEI/Heritage debate. To this end, we favor the plan recently floated by Hugh Hewitt. Come the 2016 election season, the RNC should set the number, dates, and locations of debates. They should be fewer in number than the 20-odd we will see before this year is out, so that they are not so unduly agenda-setting. And the party should partner with local party officials, conservative think tanks, alternative media, tea-party groups, and grassroots organizations to determine formatting and questions. For broadcasting purposes, the participation of mainstream media may still be necessary, but they should be relegated to the status of junior partners.