“From wherever you stood, the opposing side offered respectable, credible views. In today's fractured culture the evening struck a blow for civility.”

- The Huffington Post

More praise for IQ2 US

Earth to the GOP

By John Donvan — April 10, 2013

Losing has a way of focusing the mind.

In the alternate universe where it was Mitt Romney who won the White House, and Barack Obama who lost, these would now be Democrat days of doubt. The party's more ideological denizens would be swapping blame with its moderates about mistakes made, wrong messages sent, and a candidate who failed to connect. There would be reprisals, second guessing, envy of those political geniuses over at the GOP – who at least know how to win an election – and a great internal debate over ways to make sure what happened never happens again.

But we're in this universe. And so, next Wednesday, under the auspices of Intelligence Squared U.S., I'll be moderating a debate on this motion: “The GOP Must Seize The Center Or Die."

On the side arguing FOR the motion, New York Times Columnist David Brooks teams up with former Congressman Mickey Edwards, a founder of modern GOP conservatism. Arguing AGAINST: Ralph Reed, who's worked on more than a few Republican wins, and Laura Ingraham, the radio host.

As for tone, Republicans like to abide by what they call the Eleventh Commandment: no member of the party shall speak ill of another in public. That's fine. We always like to keep it civil. But that sets no limits on a debate that's tough, intense, smart, and informative. Join us.

In the meantime, meet the debaters:

A Second GOP
by David Brooks
The New York Times

“In [their] reinvention process, Republicans seem to have spent no time talking to people who didn’t already vote for them.” Read More

Video: How Conservatives Have Lost Their Way
with Mickey Edwards
Moyers & Company

“You can stand up for your principles... But then at the end, you have to compromise.” Watch

Video: Disbelief and Despair in the Republican Party
with Laura Ingraham
The O'Reilly Factor

“Some establishment Republicans say [Romney’s loss] requires the party to be less conservative, more moderate... I find this depressing.” Watch

Round Up The Usual Social Conservative Suspects
by Ralph Reed
The Wall Street Journal

“Despite the stinging defeat and a post-electoral narrative that suggests otherwise, Republicans need not abandon their principles.” Read More


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John Donvan, Moderator
Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates


  • Comment Link Mike D Friday, 07 June 2013 20:16 posted by Mike D

    Intelligence, as in 'Intelligence Squared US', requires acknowledging facts. There was little of that here. But that's just par for the course for the Republican party.

    I found the debate so annoying. Every time one of them named a Republican they pranced around the failings of the people and what they did to lose elections. Suggesting that Romney was a moderate and Obama is the most liberal President in all time just made me laugh out loud. As Julie says in the above comment, Obama is right of Reagan. And no one wanted to point out that the reason Romney lost the presidency was because he was hopping around on issues and made himself look like a spineless gutless lying sack of hair.

    You could literally see these people dancing around trying hard not to insult their base or any politicians for fear of losing whatever future Fox career they might have. This debate was a waste of time because two of the debaters have their own set of facts that have nothing to do with reality, and the other two debaters didn't want to insult anyone by telling the truth, such as saying, yes, Chris Cristy Crunch is moderate compared to the majority of Republicans, and Obama won over McCain because they had Palin in the ticket and so far the American people haven't sunk so low as to elect people who write notes on their hands for interviews like a ten year old.

    That's why so many Republicans hate him right now. He is fast becoming a RINO, except he has power and they don't want to take a chance of losing him, as they bend every law to their will across the land to twist the election apparatus further to their will.

    This debate was a perfect example of the Republican party in a microcosm. The reasonable ones being silent on what matters while the nuts make up their own facts while never letting any real information into the bubble.

  • Comment Link Greg Reeder Wednesday, 29 May 2013 14:50 posted by Greg Reeder

    Ironic post by Andrew Zook -- that it attempts to point out hypocrisy while simultaneously being hypocritical. Before attempting to thrust a position of reasonableness, suggest he attempt taking a viewpoint that doesn't stereotype people or discern all his perspectives from the volume and hype of media organizations.

    Reasonable people don't typically consider a functioning economy to be a bad thing. Reasonable people don't have to be for, or against, religion to be accepted. Reasonable people don't consider one political party as for or against minorities (only those blinded by the media feel this way.) Low taxes aren't necessarily bad or good - rather they are part of a logical (and somewhat complex) approach to funding a government. Reasonable people consider that responding to military conflicts is best left up to those who understand warfare rather than people who think they know the difference between a "dumb" or "smart" war.

    Religion (or the absence of it), economic policy, military defense, diplomacy, immigration, policy reform, and American society are concerns we all have as citizens. Wishing that only one side or aspect has a voice is not a solution, regardless of your convictions. It is a recipe for disaster.

    Lastly, please stop kidding yourself into believing there is one group of politicians who are not interested in attaining more power. Zook's comment highlights how the polarized perspectives of the public lend support for the hunger of power to continue its prevalence in our government - by all involved.

  • Comment Link Andrew Zook Thursday, 09 May 2013 22:20 posted by Andrew Zook

    I was surprised by the results but not convinced at all by Ingraham/Reed. They are so 'slippery'... One minute Bush is a conservative - the next he's a moderate... they slither and shift and move the goal posts on a dime in order to keep up the appearance of bravado/principle etc but end up looking like the shifty hypocritical shysters they and their party are... which is why they're losing people and why they're considered so untrustworthy. A few things that I wish had been brought up more:
    1. How the GOP does win elections - not by principled stands but through gerrymandering, corp moneyed misinformation etc
    2. How does someone like Reed expect to win anything when the number of "true believer" conservatives like him keeps dwindling... it's not mathematically possible - more people, especially the younger generation do not think like he does, they don't believe like he does and they don't live like he does...how does 'he' expect to be voted in and rule? (Certainly not democratically)
    3. Ingraham/Reed kept trying to give the impression that the GOP is the party for minorities etc because they were begun by Lincoln... I wish someone would have asked Reed, "In the 60's and 70's, during the racial upheavals in this country - where did the people who wanted to conserve racism, segregation etc go? What party opened its arms to those people hmmmm?
    4. I loved how Ingraham/Reed tried to end up looking like the 'compassionate conservatives' because Brooks pushed them that way with his opening remarks. The GOP at least in rhetoric and action continually show they could care less about that "little girl" - Look at Reed - all spiff and dazzling - smiling like an imp as he runs around collecting 'tithe' money from all those evangelicals who make up his party in order to elect power-hungry, filthy-rich, spoiled white 'christians' so they can make policies favorable to their big business buddies and defense contractors etc... Stop being an over-paid political hack, Reed, and then I'll believe you actually follow the Jesus of your religion and care about the least of these... Stop supporting dumb wars; end your fetish with low taxes and coddling billionaires and then maybe I'll think about believing you. The country knows, the world knows that you don't care and even if you want to or would like to - your 'christian' constituency for sure doesn't - you're right - if you did shift towards the reasonable center you probably would lose your base because they don't want to give up their me-first, money-loving, power-hungry 'christian' values...

    Ingraham/Reed can win all the debates they want - their party will die if it doesn't do some kind of make-over. Being honest would be a start. Looking to the future instead of past glory would be another start (That was their constant theme wasn't it - "oh look what we did in the past".... seemingly oblivious to the fact that the GOP of the past was much more liberal/moderate than it is today - it's been purified of all that reasonableness and therefore is poised to win more?)

    Any way - R.I.P ---> GOP - it wasn't really nice know'n ya

  • Comment Link Julie Stroeve Monday, 29 April 2013 13:47 posted by Julie Stroeve

    The Brooks/Edwards/Ingraham/Reed debate was illuminating. Ingraham/Reed refuse to update their critiques from Reagan to the Tea Partiers of today. It's not the same Republican Party and they think that by using different terminology they can "reinvent" their party (though they continue to refer to candidates rather than the party). By refusing to credit the socially divisive issues they use to split the electorate at the polls, Ingraham continues to describe President Obama as the most socialist president ever to occupy 1600. In fact, the President is right of Reagan. Donvan's Social Issues question was too hot for Reed to tackle; Ingraham had to step in to give us her take on morality. Morality from this Republican Party? Give me a break. Last, the movement on the 2nd poll was clearly the Undecideds moving 14 points toward the opposition. So the final result of 65 to 28 was on the side of the Rep. Party needing to move to the center ideologically. Ingraham is about winning elections at all costs; Brooks and Edwards are about governance of the United States of America in a two party system.

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