New Debate Format Needed

by Mike on February 26, 2008

in Election 2008,Politics

Barack Obama and She Who Must Not Be Named are debating right now, and I’m surprised to say that I almost have a little sympathy for them. This does not stem from any affection for these two, God knows they haven’t done anything to earn my respect. The problem is the awful moderating job being done by Brian Williams and Tim Russert. Once again, debate moderators seem to think the debate is about what they want to say rather than what the voters want to hear.

When a candidate tries to respond in a debate, the moderator should just sit back, shut his mouth, listen, and only jump in if one candidate is speaking noticeably more than the other. If liberal reporters are hellbent on dominating the stage even in a Democrat debate, then John McCain needs to exercise extreme caution before he agrees to a debate format and moderator next autumn.

I never thought I’d say this, but America should learn from the French. My preferred debate format is the one used by Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royal in 2006. Under this format, the candidates discuss the issues as they see fit, with little if any input from a moderator. While a candidate speaks, a clock on that candidate’s side of the screen ticks, and voila, an informative debate with time equally divided. Informative? Equal time? There’s no way the MSM would agree to this.

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