The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Friday, April 27, 2007
"Laugh about it, shout about it, when you've got to choose, any way you look at it you lose..."
The reason this idea resonates so much for me is that it would turn our current yawners into real dialogue, which would not allow for the same tired scripted answers which never seem to actually answer the question asked. Why not just have the moderator say: "OK, 90-minutes, the topic is 'the War', GO..." and then let the dialogue begin?
Gingrich, in fact, has issued a broad proposal to the current crop of presidential candidates, Republicans and Democrats alike, to engage in a series of one-on-one faceoffs that would be lengthier and more challenging than the “cattle call” candidate forums generally staged on the campaign trail.
He has challenged each presidential candidate to participate in a total of nine 90-minute debates. The debates would take place over nine weeks before party nominations and involve only two candidates at a time.
Russert said he will ask “each and every” presidential candidate to participate in the nine debates.At the 1996, 2000 and 2004 presidential debates, candidates agreed to 53 pages of debating rules, Gingrich said. The campaign process “is decaying at a level that is bizarre,” he added, blaming the candidates, their consultants and the media.
The eight Democratic candidates who participated in the 2008 campaign’s first televised forum in Carson City, Nev., Feb 21, spoke for a lot less time than Gingrich envisions. Democrats appeared on stage separately, each giving a two-minute opening statement, followed by three questions, then a one-minute closing statement. They interacted with their host and the audience but not with each other.
Gingrich’s proposed debates “would change the entire tenor” of the elections, he said.The length of the debates would force in-depth discussion rather than soundbites, he said. He also said, “Nothing will take more poison out of the system than requiring the candidates to be in the same room,” because they will be less likely to verbally attack each other.
This makes so much sense: It would give the electorate a dramatically better sense of who can lead and who are the pretenders; of and who can really think for themselves--using actual ideas rather than in sound bytes--and of who we would not want within a hundred miles of the Oval Office.
The Presidency is the most high-pressure job on Earth: and if a candidate can't handle the pressure of articulating his/her ideas in a REAL 90-minute discussion of issues--rather than in scripted sound-bytes--why in the world would I want them to be my President?
These are serious and consequential times, and our Presidency deserves a serious and consequential debate of what really matters. It appears that we have a long way to go.