The next Lincoln Douglas debates?

Very interesting: today, Barack Obama proposed a series of debates with his Republican opponent, Jack Ryan. From Barack’s letter to Ryan:

A century and a half ago, two Senate candidates from Illinois set an admirable standard for campaigning with a series of debates that captivated the attention of the entire nation. …

I am proposing a series of six debates across our state, including four outside the Chicago media market, so that voters throughout Illinois will have the chance to see and hear us offer our competing ideas and visions for the future. …

In an era when Americans are rightfully skeptical about the quality of our politics, let us set an example Illinoisans can be proud of and give them the kind of campaign they deserve.

This is the very best in politics. Sure, it’s a calculated move on Barack’s part. And yes, I anticipate it will generate a lot of national coverage. And in a state trending increasingly Democratic, a series of debates is likely to highlight just how conservative Jack Ryan’s policies are.

But that’s all beside the point. Elections should be debates. They should be about big ideas, strong differences of opinion.

If Jack takes Barack up on his offer, we’ll all be better off. I’m looking forward to it.

Update: Interesting. Over at Ryan’s site, there’s a similar challenge from Ryan to Obama. Guess we’ll be seeing those debates.

2 responses to “The next Lincoln Douglas debates?”

  1. But if Obama is winning, like it seems he is, why give his opponent a platform? I always thought the guy behind in the polls challenged the other to the debate. Hmmm. Interesting.

  2. Perhaps Obama is serious about wanting to have the dialog. Perhaps he realizes things are likely going to tighten up. One way or the other if they get their Linclon/Douglas on it will be cool.OneMan

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