This week we listened to the two major party candidates pretend to answer the questions posed by the seemingly impartial moderator. It really is an interesting formula that has been developed by the parties over the years to make us think there is a debate when in fact there isn't really a give a take or an exchange of ideas that allow people to see where the candidates stand and what they really believe.
The whole debate scoring issue as proffered by the national media will hinge upon a couple of issues that will be the subject of the talking heads and pundits.
The scoring issues will be whether or not a candidate made a gaffe while trying to answer a question without really answering the question lest he offend some polling block with a demographic count larger than 50 folks. We all make gaffes.
We all have said words in an order that we want to take back. We tell our friends, "what I meant was..." and the friend usually accepts the explanation. We have all stated a number that is close to the fact or a number that we truly believe to be factual and if proven wrong we accept the correction and are able to move on.
That is not the case in elections. The national media has so corrupted the campaigns that we get distracted by meaningless side issues that don't deal with the real issues of the day. If we asked a friend of ours to explain how he spent the money we all invested with him and he started to discuss baseball scores we would shut off his worthless comments and tell him to "answer the question."
The current debate format allows for the moderator to ask a question and the candidate who is asked as a given amount of time that is uninterrupted to answer that question in any fashion they desire. That includes answering another question that the candidate simply wished that the moderator had asked ... The moderator can't cut in and say, "Answer my question."
Imagine when you were growing up if you came home late and dad asks, "Where have you been?" Your response is that you have enjoyed 30 weeks of good grades in school and there haven't been any calls home from the teacher. In the current debate format your dad would have to accept that answer and then ask a question of your sibling. In my home, my dad would have pressed the issue.
The press will declare who won and who lost ground according to their bias and then move on. The Democrats in the audience will state that the president "hit a home run" and the Republicans will tell everyone that Gov. Romney, "showed the poor record of the current administration in a thoughtful manner."
The main points of the questions will have been avoided and we will still have the 'undecided' remaining 'undecided' and they will be the least interested folks in the political process with the ability to tip the election either way based on some whim or the way the wind happens to blow that day.
I would love to ask the two candidates some questions and I would want the ability to interrupt them if they stray from answering that particular question. A buzzer goes off if they stray and I tell them, "thanks for playing."
Here are a few questions I would like to have them answer.
1. What one single political stance would be a deal breaker for you to determine your nominations for a place on the Supreme Court? Death penalty? Abortion? States Rights?
My second question would be to ask the candidate and the resident to define in 100 words or less the role of the federal government in the lives of the citizens? At word 101 the microphone would be turned off.
My third question would ask for a statement of how they see the United State's role in the world as far as military issues are concerned.
The following question would require the candidates to state the tax rates they think are fair for all American's to pay. Level or tier by tier.
I would end my questioning asking how the candidates' spiritual beliefs and values would affect their duties.
While I have many more questions, I think these five questions would allow me to begin to determine the candidate I would support for the office of president.
It sure would be fun to watch them squirm.