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A Debate About Debates
Townhall.com ^ | Auigust 21, 2012 | Cal Thomas

Posted on 08/21/2012 7:25:52 AM PDT by Kaslin

Dictionary.com defines a "debate" as: "A formal contest in which the affirmative and negative sides of a proposition are advocated by opposing speakers."

That is not what will take place during three exchanges between President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, or the one vice-presidential exchange between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan.

The selection of liberal "moderators" for these sessions by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates is, as Joe Biden might say, a 20th-century model for the 20th century.

Has anyone come up with a statement of purpose for these sessions? It seems less about getting information useful to the public and more about showcasing TV anchors and reporters who mostly ask questions through the liberal prism of their own biases, hoping to produce "gaffes" by at least the Republican candidate.

"Diversity" is the stated reason for the selection of two female moderators -- Candy Crowley of CNN, who said of Romney's vice-presidential pick, that it "looks a little bit like some sort of ticket death wish."

Question: What is the difference between a male liberal and a female liberal? Answer: There is none. That would also be true for any minority the commission might have selected as moderator, if that person were also a liberal. Debates should not be about gender or racial diversity; they should be about ideological diversity.

During the Republican primaries, Newt Gingrich proposed a series of Lincoln-Douglas-style debates with no moderator, just the two candidates having a conversation about how they would lead the country. But because we live in a television age, which has conditioned us to brief sound bites, that kind of lengthy conversation might cause most eyes to glaze over.

Here are some better alternatives. 1) Let the country vote on moderators and any panel members like baseball fans do for the annual All-Star game. Since one of these men for the next four years will be spending our money, starting or ending wars, and regulating or de-regulating businesses we either did or did not build ourselves, the public has a vested interest in who wins the election. Let the people decide who should ask the questions that will generate information useful to them when they cast their votes.

2) Allow each candidate to pick one panelist to question the other candidate. President Obama might pick Rachel Maddow or someone else from liberal land to question Mitt Romney. Romney might select Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, or someone from Fox News (Chris Wallace did a credible job during the Republican primary debates) to ask questions of President Obama. Any of these would generate serious interest and boost ratings.

3) Have the candidates question each other. This has been tried on occasion in various races for other offices, but never consistently in presidential debates.

4) Put a former president on the panel. Since these men have had the rare experience of being president and know the challenges and unexpected events that often arise during a presidency, have Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush or Bill Clinton question Romney and Obama (Dick Cheney, Walter Mondale, or Dan Quayle might question Ryan and Biden).

5) Put a "loser" on the panel. Let Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum ask questions. Losers in previous Democratic primaries might be selected, too. Hillary Clinton would be fun.

As for questions a moderator never asks, he (or she) might try these: What should government do less and we the people do more? What do you see as the constitutional limitations of government?

The tired "debate" format devised in 1960 for the televised Nixon-Kennedy meeting and made worse in the '70s needs serious updating. Everything else has advanced. So should these political face-offs.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: diversity; liberalmedia; mittromney; republicanprimary

1 posted on 08/21/2012 7:26:02 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

I won’t be watching the “debates”. I’ve already made my decision and won’t be changing my mind. I’m voting for the American guy.


2 posted on 08/21/2012 7:28:46 AM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (Had enough of the freaks running the show yet?)
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To: Kaslin
hoping to produce "gaffes" by at least the Republican candidate.

This is truly the only, the one and only, sole, and single reason these debates are held, and why the libtards are the only ones to "moderate."

Can you imagine Obamboozle being queried by Mark Levin or Rush? Too bad that it's a stretch to hope for such a thing.

3 posted on 08/21/2012 7:31:12 AM PDT by laweeks
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To: Kaslin

I’ll give it a miss.

Ping me when they locate moderators with measurable IQs and degrees in something other than “underwater basket weaving” and “journalism.”


4 posted on 08/21/2012 7:34:48 AM PDT by Da Coyote
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To: Kaslin

Historical Presidential Debates by today’s standards:
1. George Washington loses because of poor appearance caused by ill fitting wooden teeth.
2. Abraham Lincoln loses because of television image of a REALLY homely man with a scraggly beard. TV commentators had a field day with his looks. Also, the audio stressed his reportedly HIGH pitched voice as an irritant to the ear.
3. Theodore Roosevelt was defeated when he appeared on the TV screens as an overweight, oversmiling man with a ludicrous mustache.
4. (Sorry, I forget) was soundly defeated when the election turned to concentrate on his extreme obese appearance and it’s potential effect on his health while in office.
5. Franklin Roosevelt was defeated when it became apparent to the TV audience that, while quite smart, he was helplessly confined to a wheelchair, having to be CARRIED by secret service men. Medicine, at the time, was quite helpless in all too many circumstances.
6. Richard Nixon was closely defeated, when voters were turned off by his appearance in the FIRST ever (real) debate against John Kennedy, by the effect of his poorly applied makeup and heavy showing beard.
Imagine the media of 2012 critiquing “debates” in past times.


5 posted on 08/21/2012 7:39:29 AM PDT by CaptainAmiigaf ( NY Times: We print the news as it fits our views.)
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To: CaptainAmiigaf
In re: your # 4.....President Taft was morbidly obese, weight around 300 lbs.

Leni

6 posted on 08/21/2012 8:21:37 AM PDT by MinuteGal
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To: CaptainAmiigaf

“4. (Sorry, I forget) was soundly defeated when the election turned to concentrate on his extreme obese appearance and it’s potential effect on his health while in office.”

Taft perhaps?


7 posted on 08/21/2012 8:21:37 AM PDT by Beagle8U (Free Republic -- One stop shopping ....... It's the Conservative Super WalMart for news .)
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To: Kaslin
Dictionary.com defines a "debate" as: "A formal contest in which the affirmative and negative sides of a proposition are advocated by opposing speakers."

I've been saying this for years. These TV propaganda shows are a fine way to befuddle the masses and sell oodles of advertising time for large bucks. Debates they are not. Lincoln vs. Douglass were debates.

8 posted on 08/21/2012 8:34:21 AM PDT by Don Corleone ("Oil the gun..eat the cannoli. Take it to the Mattress.")
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To: Kaslin

A rigged debate is a rigged election.

Romney will be asked about abortion in the case of rape and incest. An NPR guest this weekend was insisting that he be asked to define his Mormon faith.

Meanwhile Obama let Roman Polanski walk, has surrendered the Middle East to Islamist theocratic rule, surrendered the War on Terror and the Cold War, killed off domestic productivity, killed off America’s manned space program...


9 posted on 08/21/2012 8:58:14 AM PDT by a fool in paradise (Only Obama put a dog on the roof of his mouth. Dogs are friends, not food.)
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