From the New York Times:
Mr. McCain, who knows something about unfavorable ratings, is right that the 19 debates so far have left an increasingly sour taste in voters’ mouths. Since the debates began, the popularity gap has grown between the leading Republican candidates and President Obama.
But that’s not simply because the candidates have increased the intensity of their attacks on each other, nor is it curable by cutting back the mud-fighting, as Mr. McCain suggests. It’s also because voters have been exposed to the broken windows of the Republican idea factory. The value of debates is to put the candidates on stage to air their ideas. If voters find them dishonest and divisive, the Republicans are getting the wrong message if they think all they have to do to fix that is to stop talking so much.
Read the entire op-ed here; it’s well worth it.