David Ignatius must have never observed a presidential campaign before if he thinks that eliminating the current system of primary debates with one in which we “Organize a series of one-on-one face-offs in which leading Democratic candidates debate not each other but leading Republicans” would force candidates to “talk these issues through, beyond the usual slogans and sound bites.”
We have Democrat versus Republic debates during the general elections and you get precisely the “usual slogans” and “sound bits.” And, of course, the candidates aren’t mistaken for thinking that a focus on shallow trivialities is what wins elections. We all recall that when Bush lied constantly and Gore sighed and rolled his eyes in frustration the press . . . murdered Gore for being visibly frustrated rather than Bush for, say, completely misportraying his tax proposals.