October 15, 2008

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While I'm Thinking About It

A Modest Proposal

Okay, so the third and final presidential debate between John McCain and Barack Obama is Wednesday night. I'm planning to keep track of my running commentary and post it again as I did last time and during the vice-presidential debate. That said, based on the previous debates, I'm confident the following will take place:

  • Obama will accuse McCain of being a third Bush term.
  • McCain will point out that he has a history of working with Democrats to get things accomplished.
  • Neither candidate will dare to suggest that there are some things that the federal government should not be involved in.
  • The moderator will eventually give up and stop trying to hold the candidates to the agreed-upon time limits.

I can say this with some certainty because the debates this year have been planned, plotted, and programmed not to provide a forum where the candidates' differences can have an honest airing, but rather to give them a chance to air all their talking points. Allow me to suggest an alternative.

Forget the single, allegedly unbiased moderator. Nobody really believes they're unbiased, so why bother pretending? Instead, choose two obviously biased moderators, one for each candidate. Off the top of my head, Chris Matthews (who admits to a bit of a shiver when Obama talks) on the one hand, and Sean Hannity on the other. Each moderator gets a twenty-minute interview with each candidate (who goes first is, as always, decided by a coin toss the audience gets to see). Being interviewed by someone obviously in the tank for them gives the candidates a relaxed time to go through all their standard talking points as well as new ones they may want to try out. Being interviewed by someone obviously devoted to their opponent forces them to take some hard questions that will cause them to have to think on their feet in a way they aren't used to. After all, an interviewer with no requirement to play nice or fake neutrality won't let them get away with ducking questions the way both McCain and Obama did repeatedly last week.

Mostly, I think I just want to see Hannity get to interview Obama.



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