Thursday, June 7, 2007

It's the Debating Game!

Way back when I was a young Whackamole, I remember watching presidential debates without CNN's logo plastered all over the backdrop. In fact, in those days, there was (gasp!) no CNN. No C for that matter. Alas, the line between politics and marketing was smeared away long ago, and I'm not just talking about corporate sponsors of our presidential debates—I'm talking about the candidates.

I've often heard that if debates were televised in 1860, Lincoln wouldn't have been elected. After watching the debates this week, I can't help feeling that if America is really going to choose a president based on their mad game-show skillz rather than experience and policy, let's just be honest about it and add some tried-n-true gameshow techniques to level the playing field. For example:

  • "Contestent #1...": So that candidates can be given equal time and consideration by the moderator, the moderator might address each candidate from behind a screen, without knowing which candidate is being addressed, like The Dating Game.
  • "Phone a Friend": We're not electing a president—we're electing an administration. The candidates' advisors are just as important, maybe MORE important, than the individual. We're electing a team, not just a captain. So let's let all of 'em be involved in the debate.
  • Audience Polling: Let the folks at home cast their votes. I'm curious to know how other people respond, other than the studio audience in New Hampshire. I want one of those cool real-time, on-screen polls! Hey, maybe like that horse race game they have at the carnival! Or maybe that's going too far...
  • and wasn't there another game show where even the audience couldn't see who was answering the questions? What was that one? I love the idea of choosing a candidate based on his or her ideas and experience rather than looks... or am I just behind the times?

Maybe today's leader needs to look like a leader, needs to display well, needs to soundbyte with precision... maybe the marketing does matter. Maybe, but I hope not.


Trekking Left said...

Nice post ... very funny! Yeah, it was painful watching those candidates try to discuss middle east policy in one minute sound bites. And I don't think one person got out their thoughts on anything without being interrupted by Blitzer.

George said...

Well, these debates sure aren't "To Tell the Truth."

Here's hoping they can the "raise your hand" questions, though. I mean, why not just give them a multiple choice test?