Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Presidential Debate Format I'd Like to see

I have been watching the Presidential Debates for the past 15 or 20 years -and I have not seen a really good debate in all that  time. The reason is because of the various 'formats' they use. In every format so far the candidates answer questions from the moderators or from the audience but they never get to ask each other questions. Last Tuesday nights debate was a rare exception where the two candidates actually got into it over several subjects -and that got me thinking.

In most debates. on the rare occasions when they 'sneak in' a direct question -we get a taste of an honest and open discussion of an issue from each candidates perspective. Or, sometimes, we get to see how the candidate really performs under pressure.

The debate formats are designed purposely to avoid putting that kind of pressure on the candidates. Their campaign committees agree to formats long in advance -formats that they believe will minimize the risk for mistakes or gaffs -or will not allow questions that reveal a lack of knowledge or understanding by their candidate on some issue.

Well, I don't like the "safe" formats. I want to hear some real discussions, complete with honest arguments and the kind of pressure that gives us a true look into the candidates preparedness for the highest office in the land.

Here's the format I'd like:

Each candidate is given 5 minutes to make an opening statement. Then Candidate #1 is allowed to ask a direct question of his opponent, on any topic he or she chooses. Candidate #2 is allowed 3 minutes to respond (the time limits are strictly enforced by the moderator, who can even kill the mic's if needed, until the last question). After the response, the first candidate is then allowed 3 minutes of rebuttal, Candidate #2 then asks a direct question of Candidate #1 and he entire process is repeated.

This back and forth goes on for an hour, then the moderator is allowed to ask the final question (on any subject), but this time the time limit is changed to a single open 10 minute period and the candidates speak and discuss the question directly with each other. Each candidate is then given 5 minutes to make a closing statement.

This format would let us really see what each candidate is made of. No "softball" or leading questions. No questions given to the candidates weeks in advance so they can prepare for them. And a chance for each candidate to challenge the others statements or facts right on the spot. 

That's what I'd like to see.

Do I think there a chance for a debate like this? Not a chance in hell! These are career politicians -they don't take chances like that -and being held responsible for their opinions and ideas? Well, not in my life time anyway..

Live Long and Prosper...

No comments: