The Lonely Centrist

A place for reasoned debate about the issues of the day.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Or We Could Vote Candidates Off

Here is a good column from the New Republic about the inanities of what are called presidential "debates."

My mild suggestion, if we have to have these things, would be to at least make each debate on a single topic, and not have questions but let the candidates talk and rebut on the topic. By now, each party could have had one on Iraq; one on Immigration; one on the Economy. A few more could cover Health care; family and values (a broad umbrella for abortion, gay marriage etc.); National Security (somewhat redundant with Iraq but merited); Political and Ethics Reform; etc.

If each candidate got 4 minutes to open and 2 minutes rebuttal, then you'd be at 60 minutes, with 15 minutes for vvery lightly moderated cross exchange, 1 minute each to sum up, and 5 minutes devoted to housekeeping (the inescapable introductions and closing) all in 90 minutes. You'd at least get a bit of exchange and some reasonable time to make a modestly coherent argument. Extend it to two hours would be better. If you want to see what a good, light moderation would look like, review the discussions that were held in the PBS Free to Choose series back in the early 1980s.

Of course, the real fun would be if we did it like American Idol or Survivor, and voted one contestant off the stage each week.

  • The Skeptic
  • Andrew Sullivan
  • Michael Barone
  • The New Republic
  • National Review
  • Democracy Project
  • Bob Bauer
  • Center for Competitive Politics
  • Ryan Sager
  • Going to the Matt
  • Professor Bainbridge
  • Volokh Conspiracy
  • Mystery Pollster
  • Amitai Etzioni
  • Alexander Chrenkoff
  • Middle East Media Research Institute
  • Right Democrat
  • Democrats for Life