A modest proposal regarding the Presidential debates

Wouldn’t it be nice if a Presidential debate was actually a debate on one question, where each candidate took a position on that question and defended it? It might be the question of whether low tax rates for wealthy people are good for the economy – something where the candidates have a well-known, clear difference on a matter that is debatable in a practical sense. That particular question is that economists disagree on and that most Americans have an opinion about as well. We wouldn’t learn any less about the candidates’ actual plans this way, and we would learn more about the qualities that matter. The candidates would know the question in advance and would be expected to prepare. It would be a treat for the audience to see a question like that debated. It would be educational. And it would show television viewers something that they might never know otherwise: That there is more to issues than soundbites and emotional affiliation, that there is knowledge worth knowing, knowledge that makes a difference…

One comment on “A modest proposal regarding the Presidential debates

  1. Global warming might be another topic. I was disturbed by Romney’s casual dismissal of this issue in his convention speech. Also, government funding of public broadcasting — while it may not deserve to be the one topic for debate between the two, it is disturbing that Romney would signal out this for defunding, when it takes up such a minute portion of our federal budget yet provides such a valuable service, an important alternative in our media culture.

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