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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Should the GOP Move to the Political Center?

It's not every day that you hear someone refer to former President George W. Bush as a centrist, but that's what conservative talk-show host, Laura Ingraham, does, and she doesn't mean it as a compliment. Ingraham is one of four political conservatives who participate in the latest Intelligence Squared US debate, "The GOP Must Seize the Center or Die." Joining here in arguing against the motion is Ralph Reed, the founder and chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition and the first executive director of Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition. Arguing on behalf of the motion is New York Times columnist David Brooks and former the former Republican congressman from Oklahoma, Mickey Edwards.

As with all Intelligence Squared debates, the audience votes both before and after the debate, and the team that changes the most minds wins, which means a team can win a debate without winning a majority of votes. For example, if prior to a debate, 65% of the audience supported the motion, 14% opposed it, and 21% were undecided and after the debate, 65% supported the motion, 28% opposed it, and 7% were undecided, then the team arguing against the motion would be the winners because their share of the votes increased 14% points, while the other team's share didn't increase at all. You can listen to the debate, as well as access transcripts of it, at the Intelligence Squared website ("The GOP Must Seize the Center or Die"). It can also be downloaded from iTunes.

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