Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A nonpartisan debate commentatry

First the disclaimer: I will be voting for Obama and have supported his candidacy since 2007. But I'm going to try to keep this nonpartisan.

Last night's debate was BORING!. There are a lot of reasons it was boiring--
  • Boring questions
  • The requirement the audience showed no emotion (laugh tracks have a pupose but if you have a live audience, let them clap and laugh (maybe prohibit boos)
  • Tom Brokaw's follow-up questions didn't help.
  • No one kept the candidates to the time limits. Brokow made a couple half-hearted attempts but nothing came of it.
Out of all this, I'm going to concentrate on the length of the answers:

It seemed both candidates were filibustering--giving long answers just to take up time. Or maybe it was they were afraid the other candidate would get more air time--Obama even said, (to paraphrase) "I'm only going long to keep even with Senator McCain."

I want short answers. I want short declarative sentinces. I'm guessing that if either candidate realizes that people want short, concise answers in the next debate, he will be the clear winner.

In the Governor debates in Minnesota when Ventura was running, he won the debates by giving short answers. Sometimes the answers were as short as "Yes" or "No." He also scored points with the public by saying "I don't know."

I'm not expecting either candidate to take these suggestions--they are both too worried about giving the other candidate more air time so here are some alternative solutions.
  • Show a countdown clock for each question on the TV screen
  • Switch to red lights in on stage when the time is up for an answer
  • Automatically turn off the microphone when the time is up.