Posted by: vernacularsnoop | August 25, 2008

Debating the presidential debates

Here’s a good editorial about the Commission on Presidential Debates from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“The debates between GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois will be put on by the Commission on Presidential Debates, identified on its Web site as a “nonprofit, nonpartisan” organization committed to providing “the best possible information to viewers and listeners.” In fact, the tax-exempt group is merely a front for the Republican and Democratic National Committees, and they structure the debates down to every last detail to protect their parties and their candidates from outside challengers.

The result is usually a stale affair in which the candidates get to give boilerplate sound bites and don’t have to worry about direct exchanges with one another.

Meanwhile, voters are purposely kept ignorant of other candidates who may be listed for president on their November ballot — people such as Mr. Barr (Libertarian Party), Mr. Baldwin (Constitution Party), Mr. Weill (Reform Party), Ms. McKinney (Green Party) and Mr. Nader (Independent).”

Debating the presidential debates

Open debate is essential for introducing new thinking into the marketplace of ideas. What’s more, polls consistently show that substantial numbers of Americans want more voices in the debates. Unfortunately, the presidential debates are monopolized by a corporation called the Commission on Presidential Debates, and the only shareholders are the Democratic and Republican parties. A little real competition would be a great thing for America, but we’ll have to fight the establishment parties to get it.


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