Does this say more about Fox News or the Republican slate of candidates for 2012?
“It’s slated to be the kickoff event of the 2012 Republican primary season. But as a scheduled May 5 debate hosted by Fox News and the South Carolina Republican Party rapidly nears, it’s unclear whether any major presidential candidates will actually be there.”
Actually, it’s unclear whether any candidates at all will actually be there. So far, not a single candidate has confirmed their intention to participate. The debate is scheduled for next Thursday, May 5, with a deadline for confirmation on May 3. That leaves just three business days to comply with a long list of requirements for participation. Fox is stoically insisting that the show will go on.
To be fair, this isn’t the first GOP primary debate that was scuttled this season for lack of candidates. An NBC/Politico debate at the Reagan Library was set for May 2, but that one was postponed until September.
The GOP field is conspicuously hesitant to make a commitment to running. Most haven’t even formed exploratory committees. And of course, some, like Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, are delaying any statement in order to continue collecting paychecks from Fox News. So, in effect, Fox is keeping candidates out of the race by keeping them on the payroll. That’s an unprecedented intrusion into the political process by a media entity.
If Fox News is lucky they might get Buddy Roemer and Rick Santorum to show up. That should provide a stimulating and valuable forum for curious Republican voters. Otherwise it may be up to whoever they get to moderate the debate to fill an hour with right-wing propaganda – in other words, just like any other hour on Fox News.