Change the Debate Format!

While I do plan to look through the New Hampshire debate transcripts sometime tomorrow night, I agree 100% with Roger L. Simon of Pajamas Media when he writes:

Let’s put an end to the interlocutors. We don’t need media filters — left, right or center. I am not interested in Jane Pauley. I am not interested in Chris Wallace. I get to see plenty of them. I am not interested either in supposedly random questions chosen (by whom?) from Facebook or Twitter.

I am interested in the candidates and what they have to say to each other — mano-a-mano — in the style of Lincoln and Douglas.

They should be given a topic for the debate (entitlements, Iran, whatever) and be set free to examine it. Those issues can be discussed at length and in more depth without the interference of media personalities who, besides being biased one way or the other, are often more interested in the promotion of themselves or their companies.

The debaters further would not be able to hide behind their media allies, overt or covert. If the president or his Republican adversary attempts to monopolize the conversation, blows up emotionally, resorts to nasty ad hominems or simply engages in absurd argumentation, it would be exposed for all to see. Ideas and the ability to express them would be on display.

Yes — let’s do away with the moderators and actually have a conversation. The currently dominant format forces the candidates to distill their ideas into a series of thirty-second sound-bytes, and that results in a profound loss of philosophical heft.

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