Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I'm not a Republican, but...

...if I were I'd be extremely -- extremely -- disappointed in the GOP debates so far.

Where do you even begin? How about this: Do Republicans really want Ben Carson and Donald Trump, admittedly the two leaders in all the national polls, front and center during all these debates? Two clowns who almost certainly won't be the party's nominee, and in any event couldn't possibly win a general election? I mean, what the heck is Reince Priebus thinking? (Or is he thinking?)

Here's how I would have organized the GOP debates. First of all, have as many as you want. The more the voters learn about the Republican candidates, the better.

Second, ignore the polls (which don't mean that much this early in the game anyway) and break up the GOP hopefuls into two equal groups (or eight and nine, as in the case of the original seventeen) and show them back-to-back. Then, pick at random who gets into each group, and place them on the stage at random. Decide the order of questioning, again -- you guessed it! -- at random, and give the candidates longer than thirty or even sixty seconds to answer each question. (Three minutes wouldn't be bad.) Oh, and allow them all an opening and closing statement so they get their talking points out of the way of the questions. You could also allow for some form of rebuttal, but it has to be more orderly than just everyone talking over each other at the same time.

As for "gotcha" questions, ask anything you want! These guys are running for Leader of the Free World. It's the hardest job there is and they'll end up with over 300 million bosses. In the words of Harry Truman, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!*

Finally, no studio audience. That makes it too tempting for the candidates to play to the crowd, eliciting laughter or applause. Let's try to focus on what the candidates are actually saying without the distraction of an audience.

So that's how I would have made the debates fairer and more informative. The current "system," like the Republican Party itself, is a train wreck.

* Which leads me to ask, Is Dr. Carson not long for this race? What a whiner! I guess spending all that time in the warm bath of Fox News spoiled him. The rest of the country wants to vet him a little. And don't give me that nonsense that he's being subjected to more scrutiny than President Obama. No one's asked for Dr. Carson's birth certificate just yet! Sheesh.

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