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Lincoln and Douglas Would Be Ashamed of Debate Process
Wednesday, October 15, 2008 • Posted October 15, 2008

There have now been two Presidential debates and one Vice Presidential debate. How the participants did, and who might have "won" is almost wholly dependent upon your political viewpoint; but, one thing is certainly clear - these are not debates!

I didn't get to actually see the first Presidential debate or the Vice Presidential debate, though I listened to them and read transcripts. I did, however, see the debate last week.

I think the voters would be almost as well served if the candidates just handed over some of their campaign funds to pay for the time, run their most blatantly partisan ads, and stop trying to convince the public that they are going to discuss anything of merit during that time period.

What I have heard, and seen, thus far, have been candidates sticking almost entirely to talking points. They have avoided giving specific answers. They have played to the cameras and the crowds like cheap dinner theater actors, and we have learned nothing that can truly empower, inspire or excite.

I tired of Obama's recitation of facts. I recoiled at McCain's endless "my friends." I found Biden to be his usual verbally bloated self. And I thought Palin was too cute and redneck to be true. That's what I got from all the debates.

I didn't find out how we're going to handle the ongoing fight against terrorism while also maintaining our position in the world theater. I didn't hear how we're going to rescue the average American who doesn't make $125 million, and doesn't have a seat on the board of a large insurance or financial services company. And, I sure didn't hear anyone tell me, the true heartland American, why they deserve my vote to put them in charge of things for the next four years.

Debates, by definition, are an exchange of positions, thoughts and ideas. The exchange has rules, it has a set format, and it is intended to lead to disclosure of information about the participants, or their positions, that will benefit those in attendance.

That's not currently happening.

On Wednesday evening, October 15th, the final Presidential debate will be held. It is one last chance for voters to hear the candidates, and to possibly learn something about them that will be constructive and helpful when entering the voting booth.

At this point, the electorate has become so fatigued with our 20-month election process that they probably don't really care what the candidates say. But, I hope that we hear something shocking. Something revelatory that no one was expecting. Something that will actually make the voters step away from the positions they have held for months and ask themselves if they still feel the same way.

Or, they could just run an hour and a half of paid political commercials that call the other guy a buffoon and the rest of us could watch an old movie on Lifetime! Same difference.

It’s all just my opinion, but it’s what I wish would happen.

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