September 29, 2004

Not Debates

NPR : Connie Rice: Top 10 Secrets They Don’t Want You to Know About the Debates

As you watch the debate tomorrow (you are going to watch it, aren’t you?) here are a few things to remember.

They aren’t debates. They are closed to other candidates. The audience is basically there for show and may not even cough. The parties control the questions. They’re funded by large corporations.

Hey, this is our country. We’re choosing our president. Don’t we deserve a nice, chaotic, uncontrolled, locked cage match between our two candidates? Why do we settle for the pablum we’re going to be subjected to?

I suggest two additional debates. One: the two candidates in a locked room for 3 hours. Cameras on them at all times. They discuss their differences. To spur the discussion, snippets of news stories will be projected on a wall of the room periodically.

The second “debate” will be randomly chosen citizens asking the candidates questions. That’s it. Real people bringing their concerns to the candidates. Only screen the people for security purposes.

But I’m sure there are other formats that might be interesting. Your suggestions?

Posted by James at September 29, 2004 2:51 PM
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Stern is suggesting that Kerry show up, and once there on live TV ignore the rules and ask Bush pointed questions because that puts Bush in a no win situation. It might not be a bad move... the current debate setup is slanted so that Bush can succeed in a format he'd be doomed in if it was really a debate.

Posted by: Stern Listener at September 29, 2004 3:31 PM

Fuck that. I say Kerry should put him in a headlock and give him the Mother of All Noogies.

Posted by: Patti M. at September 29, 2004 3:45 PM

Interesting. What would Bush do if Kerry took such an approach? The righty blogosphere would explode with people crying foul. It would at least be itneresting. And is it better to be bold and lose than it is to be timid and lose?

Posted by: James at September 29, 2004 3:51 PM

I REALLY like that idea. No, not the noogies one, though I like that too. If he chucks the rules and Bush let's the moderator intercede for him, he looks weak. If he doesn't answer, he looks like he has something to hide. I also think he should call him George in an attempt to goad Generalissimo into throwing a fit about him not using his title. Then Kerry can say "That's a title of repsect. You have to *earn* my respect."

Posted by: briwei at September 29, 2004 4:11 PM

I like the "toss the rules aside" idea, too. What would Bush do? Would Cheney have to come on stage and put his hand up the back of Bush's suit?

This could be a real-life celebrity death match, and I, for one, would be right there with the popcorn.

Posted by: Patti M. at September 29, 2004 4:19 PM

Has everyone forgotten the Gore-Bush debates?

Contrary to what right-wing pundits would have you believe, Bush did miserably at those debates, largely because Gore wouldn't follow the script. I will never forget Bush with that dumass look on his face complaining that Gore was violating the rules of the debate "apparently rules don't mean anything" he said with his I-have-more-brain-cells-I-just-don't-know-where-they-are-right-now smile.

At the time I remember wondering how he could possibly expect to deal with other world leaders. Did he really expect THEM to "play by the rules"? Of course not! Gore broke the rules and thusly exposed Bush for the whiny, unprepared, crybaby he was at the time.

And our freetard populace voted for him anyway, because they loved his daddy, and Gore was tainted by association with Clinton, who may have been a great president, but he was also a letch.

Now Bush may be a tard, but he's been in office for 4 years and has some real experience with public speaking. Plus he is undergoing the expert tutelage Karl Beneath-Contempt Rove. I sincerely hope that Kerry has his act together.

I have no doubt that Bush will be hailed as the winner. Even if he loses.

But James rightly points out, it's not a debate, it's tandem speeches. We shall see.

Posted by: Chuck S. at September 29, 2004 4:33 PM

Anytime the candidates respond directly to each other's questions they violate the rules of modern presidential debates. It is rare but it does happen once in a while.

However, these are mostly sad parodies of our democratic process.

Posted by: Mike at September 29, 2004 4:39 PM

I hate sad parodies. I like the funny kind. But Mike is right, these aren't the funny kind. Sometimes they are, but the country doesn't seem to ever get the joke.

Posted by: James at September 29, 2004 4:50 PM

Yes, Chuck, I remember that. I believe that was the same debate where the term "fuzzy math" originated.

I don't know whether the questions were pre-screened in the 1992 Clinton vs. Original Dumbass town-hall style debate, but Dumbass had some very bad moments in that one. Moments that may have cost him the election. Nothing interesting like that happened in the rigged "town hall" debate of 2000 and probably nothing like that will happen in next week's. But a prescreened audience member is a much better bet to go off-script than Kerry is.

In any case, I don't want to see any noogie sandwiches given. A big wedgie might be cool, though.

Posted by: Julie at September 29, 2004 5:50 PM

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