by Greg Chamberlain
After watching the NBC/Politico sponsored presidential debates at The Reagan Library, I was deeply disturbed. None of the candidates got an equal amount of time to talk about any of the issues raised. Some of the candidates were left out, entirely, on some of the questioning. It's as if the NBC/Politico was already eliminating candidates, rather than providing a forum.
There needs to be another way of doing these debates and getting away from these lame pundits. Here is a second draft of an idea that started over here in my September 8, 2011 post.
A PROPOSAL FOR A NEW STYLE FORMAT FOR THE PRESIDENTIAL/POLITICAL DEBATES FOR TV
First of all, good debates should last 6 hours and all networks should carry the feed as if it were Lindsay Lohan was being chased down the freeway O.J. Simpson style.
Having the debates last six hours is the way to see which candidates can handle real pressure over a longer hard stretch of time, while keeping their wits about themselves. All presidents need to to so once in office. Why can't we put them to the test on TV? Do we want someone who needs to retreat for a smoke or they will freak? This is very important and will tell a lot more about any candidate than we presently see in these debates.
Each candidate should be given exactly the same amount of time to deliver their answers on every single question in the debate. Doesn't that seem fair? Once they start talking, only one candidate gets the floor and a red light goes off in front of each candidate who is supposed to refrain. Anyone who interrupts by speaking or creates a distraction when another candidates minutes are being depleted will lose 5 x the amount of seconds their interruption lasted that will goes toward the time of the one they interrupted. If they keep on, a bucket of water will be poured on them and if they still keep on, they will fall through the floor and be ejected out of the building.
I propose that a portion of the debate should go like this: When a series of general questions are asked, nobody gets to speak ahead of the others and no candidate is left out of the questioning on that issue. Soundproof glass tubes will lower down over each of the candidates, simultaneously, and once the tubes are down, each candidate speaks their answers into a live webcam that is broadcast live over the Internet. Each candidate is cut off from hearing the other candidates answers. When the time limit is up, the tube comes off the ground. and each of the answers in broadcast to the TV audience in random order. After the broadcasting of the answers, the tubes come down again for each candidate has another opportunity to elaborate their answers further or rebut other candidates answers. Tubes come up and those responses get broadcast. And, then in one more round, candidates get to break into face to face arguments on the topic at hand following the time rules laid out paragraph 3.
Whenever the tubes are down over the cahdidates, this portion of the broadcast could be spent pulling live reactions from the blogosphere, going over indisputable facts related to the question, or cutting to a commercial break. Each answer by each of the candidates would be going out live over the internet in real time, and those at home can choose which answer they want to hear first. Over the internet, Those at home, will have the ability to go back later and play back all candidates answers to any particular question, one by one. Having a debate this way would really allow American's to fully cosnider the candidates much more deeply. This would give the public much more to draw from to help them make a decision. The public would be able to ask follow up question of each of the candidates, posted publicly online, that the candidates would have the opportunity to answer after the debate is over, filling in the puzzle that American's need to see. We need more information for the public to use to help them vote in a more informed manner.
This format would be so powerful because it would collect so much more content of candidates elaborating on the issues, that voters could comb through post debate, and use to consider who the best candidate REALLY is.
There needs to be a powerful team of non partisan fact checkers on hand at all debates, as well. If guys like Penn & Teller could be on hand to call Bullshit, it would be so much better. I have a feeling that when the candidates were all spewing percentages of their this and their that, in terms of supposedly improving education, health care and joblessness in their states, it was all a bunch of crap. A team of anti-bullshit investigators need to be checking facts as the debate rolls on and candidates should be held accountable when researchers pull up the real facts. There should be a demerit system put in place to penalize fact twisters.