Mike Huckabee has offered to debate Fred Thompson, Lincoln-Douglas style. I think that Fred should accept the offer, but I know lots of reasons why he might chose not to. Mike has nothing to lose. Few people take his candidacy as seriously as they should and the media attention of such a debate would help Mike even if he didn’t trounce Fred. Fred would probably rather pretend that there are only 4 candidates in the race (Huckabee not being one of the other 3).
I think this kind of debate would be helpful to the voters because a Lincoln-Douglas debate tends to help shape the issue in the minds of the listeners. The kind of “debates” that we get among multiple candidates on network television only serve to allow the candidates a chance to try to convince the audience that they best represent the audience, rather than framing the issue to show that they best represent the truth, or the best way forward (depending on the type of issue being debated). Ideally there would be a series of debates on a variety of issues involving different sets of candidates. Each debate should feature only two candidates but each candidate would have debates with a number of other candidates. It would turn the primary campaign into something closer to a tournament allowing us to get to know the candidates (possibly better than we do now) and also helping the voters to get to know the issues instead of just the soundbites.
I hope that Mike gets to have his debate with Fred, or one of the other higher profile candidates, because if he does I am confident that he will prove himself to be every bit the equal of any other candidate. Considering the Fred apparently expressed a desire to have this kind of debate I think he should accept. If he does not I would call it political cowardice unless he manages to arrange for this kind of debate with some better known candidate in the field within the next couple of weeks.