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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

No Way to Choose a President

Silverfiddle Rant!
"Where's the Beef?"

Debates are a crappy way to choose a president.  What do they prove? How does winning one of these Jerry Springer spectacles of jabs, jibes, japes and carefully-crafted one-liners prove one's readiness for leading the most powerful nation in the world?

Many argue they are not even debates.  Others argue they should only be held once the primary field is winnowed to two candidates, but I maintain they are worthless for determining who the best candidate is.

A much better test would be to subject each candidate to a brutally-dense power point presentation of bureaucratic gibberish and policy gobbledygook, ask them to arrive at a decision, and then quiz them on the consequences of their course of action.

"Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy"

NBC's 10 Presidential Debates That Actually Made an Impact prove my point.  Each example is from the modern TV era and relies heavily on optics and visual impressions.  Lord Bentsen from the State of Texaco reduced Dan Quayle to a grade school boy in short pants, but Bush-Quayle won anyway.

"There you go again!"

Face it, we are far removed from the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates. The men were competing for one of Illinois's Senate seats, which at that time were appointed by the state legislature, but they are exemplars of debates of that era, and the format is timeless, harkening back to the ancient Greeks and Romans.

We wouldn't have patience today for that format, in our pathos-drenched, logo-less world where ethos has been reduced to Maoist mob shaming and twitter scolding.

The modern day presidential "debate" needs to be scrapped.  There's gotta be a better way.

What say you?


  1. The format has to change. No longer can it be these supposed journalists posing the questions but rather the candidates challenging each other on their positions in an extemporaneous manner. Almost a true debate.
    Either that or gladiatorial combat.


  2. In a land where most voters’ grasp of the issues fit onto a 5x12-inch bumper sticker, televised presidential debates isn’t the problem.

    1. You should, perhaps, have included something about the 140-character "tweet," but that is very well said.

      All during the "Russiagate" nonsense I was saying that if a significant portion of our electorate was turning to Facebook to inform its voting position, then this nation has problems far worse than anything that Russia or any other foreign nation can do to us. It did not seem that anyone understood what I was driving at (one wanted to know where people could become informed, if not Facebook), which neatly proved my point.

      Yes. The debates are a symptom of the problem, but they are not the problem.

  3. Simply have the candidates forced to answer questions picked from a barrel from Americans across the country. Give them so many minutes...not 5 minutes but perhaps 15 or so, with a response of equal time. Hours of that will flush out the positions and where they stand.

  4. Debates are a complete waste of time. Excluding Trump they are all scripted by demographic marketing people with the intention of seducing the idiots.

  5. Replies
    1. Agree about seeing Silver. And ... you too.

  6. We've got a "choice" between tRump and tRump Lite.

  7. Replies
    1. Won't have to worry about the return of ny losers that way.

    2. My view: In a UFC event this would be the first time two 'athletes' in the Octagon tap out at the same time (ie, sitting on their stools // stools in their briefs)

  8. I'll just quote The Stage Manager in Thornton Wilder's play Our Town;

    "Wherever you find human beings you'll find nonsense ––– layers and layers of nonsense."

    Whether you see how that applies to the issue raised in this blog doesn't much matter to me. I can only tell you it explains the whole thing very handily.

  9. Daddy Bush and Bubba Debates; when 41 called 42 -Bozo-
    that told me everything. {"Something's UP"}
    'W' and Al E-Gore Debates; when Al "inconvenient truth"
    - trampled on "W's" space -- that said = E-Gore
    didn't care about anybody but himself; not even We The People!
    So yes, the Debates are worth something.

  10. Debates are what Deep State Staffers excel at.

  11. The debates are bad, but that's just one aspect of the much broader problem with commercial news media: the imperative is not to inform, but to provide theatre. I usually resist the tempting narrative that things used to be better in days gone by, but looking back over current affairs and news programming over the past 4 or 5 decades, it really does seem to be getting worse.

    1. Good day, Jez!

      As someone nearing eighty years of age, I can tell you with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY that, despite notable medical and technological advances, and the all too brief respite of President Reagan's presidency, things have gotten steadily WORSE since I graduated from college FIFTY-SEVEN years ago.

      I know you are still a young man (forty is no age, especally not these days)! ;-), but I believe, if you study more honest, less-agenda-driven accunts of history, you would likely come to regard the years immediately following the end of WWII with increasing respect as time wears on.

      To a certain extent I suppose most who enjoyed a happy childhood like me are inclined to view their young years as a halcyon period, but as one develops a broader understanding of the world, I believe a greater degree of objectivity comes to the fore –– in thinking people at lest.

      The Great Grey Brotherhood –– the unthinking incurious, unaware, proudly ignorant masses –– will generally prefer, consume, and do whatever the popular media tells them to like, think and do. –– a fact I personally, find frightening, because a vibrant, functioning democratic republic, such as ours was designed to be cannot thrive with a population of craftily-indoctrinated, mind-numbed robots.

    2. There's an optimistic way to look at it: the popular audience which was so easily led away from substantive debate by Murdoch et al. can be just as readily led back to it once we find a funding model for real journalism we're comfortable with.

  12. Then let's call it a DISCUSSION ...important to see the type of thinkers, how well they grasp the questions, how well they act under the enormous stress of millions watching for the slightest "gotcha!' error... Why does anybody think the DNC seems so eager not to allow Biden to 'debate'? I don't need to see him debate, I need to see how he and his ideas stand up to Trump's. Let's hear their talk of patriotism ...argue race with facts/figures....talk poverty and how to solve it.
    SO what that the term DEBATE isn't lived up to. Let's see them face each other head on........I'm for them, whatever they're called. But Biden will get his way and the ONE THING Americans would have seen which would have persuaded them he's not competent is being removed. typical.


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