Ok, let's start off with some miscellaneous talk about the early debates. Personally, I am already frustrated. There are a number of reasons. Here is just a few.
Why do the big three in each party get the most "mike" time?
If you watch the GOP debate, it seems like its Giuliani, McCain and Romney with all the time at the microphone. With the Democrats, it's Hillary, Obama and John-boy. The only way to get the other candidates known to the general public is to give them some "mike" time. How should the debate sponsors do that? Same question to each candidate, with 90 seconds in which to respond. I do remember when FOX snooze did post debate interviews. This could be a good way to handle it but FOX commentator Sean Hannity blew it. Ron Paul, who stole the show by "dissing" Giuliani, was crucified by Hannity. Paul was accurate with his debate answers and his challenge to the former big apple mayor but Hannity wouldn't shut up to give him a chance to answer his own question.
Why do the sponsors allow time to expire and the candidates keep talking?
This part really gets me. These candidates come into the debates with hours of prep from some of the best minds in politics. They know how to squeeze every moment out of a 30-second sound bite. But they continue on after the allotted time. SOLUTION: Shut off their microphones. Duh? Is this one really that difficult? Or is it the fact that some news source is afraid that the sound bite of the night will come after the time has expired? In sports, when the shot clock is down to zero, a buzzer goes off. Turn the buzzer on, shut the microphone off and penalize the violator. How about take away the number of seconds that they exceed the limit from their closing remarks? Then again, some candidates who always seem to exceed would owe time at the end. That's ok; give their opponents the extra few seconds.
Why not let the candidates ask one question of one of their opponents?
Some of these questions are just down right stupid. For example, a few debates ago, the Republicans were asked about the prospect of another Clinton in the White House. Let's see the hands of all GOP candidates that are in favor of 8 more years of someone named Clinton at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Great, no one. Let's move on to something with substance and a little spice.
Are we electing a commander in chief or a theologian in chief?
Why is it that religion seems to be the debate question category of the year? Senator, do you believe that God created the earth in 6 days, like the Bible says? How is creation theology going to take care of the millions of starving in the heartland or get the troops home from Iraq, or straighten out the immigration mess? If you really want to ask some "theological questions", set up a format like Sojourners
did last week in DC. It works better than taking up 1/3 of the time in a 90-minute debate where most people are going to play (or lie) to their perception of the base. Does Romney's religion really going to play a part in his day-to-day operations as president? JFK handled it well in 1960 and Romney has repeated and rephrased Kennedy's answer. Drop it. Move on.
Questions from who?
The question writers should be Joe Six Pack and Suzie Soccer Mom. The questions from the audience are normally better thought out any way. You wouldn't get a second chance to ask so you think the question out and most of the time, it comes from the heart.
Maybe we should have a Partial Observer sponsored debate. I'll moderate and questions can come from Paeonian Springs or from an Independent Country. Yeah, James would have a few good questions. Or how about a little rhyme or reason. Ah, reason, that would be a new twist to a political race. Simple things could stump a couple candidates. And hey what about something neo-classical? It would beat the talk about the neo-conservatives. Rita could count off the seconds – five, six, seven, eight. And of course, there would have to be a question or two from the Pasture.
OK, folks, let's do this. I'll invite the candidates and you submit the questions. This debate could be one for You Tube.