As I look back on the presidents during my lifetime, I don't recall any of them that had to govern according to the rules of the debates that we seem to have instituted as a ritual of presidential elections. The debate rules disallow any kind of notes, and the candidates spend days trying to anticipate every possible question and come up with snappy answers and digs at their opponents. At most, this shows the voters how well the hopefuls might perform in press conferences.
Would we really want a president to lead the country without consultations with his aides and advisers, without his daily briefing papers at hand and having to try to think with his political opponents sniping at him during the process?
Both of these men have records in office and have spent months stating their positions on the various issues, yet somehow they're also required to tiptoe through this minefield in hopes that one of them will make a gaffe that dooms his campaign. What genius decided that would be a great way to pick a leader?
I already knew that Bush gets his tongue tangled when he has to speak impromptu and that Kerry is a droning gas bag. Other than remind us of those points, what do these debates really accomplish? I'd really much prefer to watch Dan Rather debate Bill O'Reilly.
Allen S. Thorpe