January 25, 2008

That’s Debatable

Posted in Politics tagged , at 1:06 am by Lindsay

Lately I’ve been missing all the presidential primary debates.  I don’t realize a debate is underway until I get a text message or phone call from my trusted blogging partner or sister saying, “are you watching the debate?”  The last couple of times this has happened, I find myself saying “another debate? really?”  I don’t have the exact number of how many have taken place, or will take place before the conventions, but I can safely say it’s in the range of 15-20.  (If anyone knows the actual number, let me know.  From my initial research, it seems there are many, like myself, who seem frustrated with the lack of communication from the parties regarding the official debate schedule.)

Are that many debates really necessary?  I don’t believe so.  In fact, I think that past a certain point, debates may be more harmful than helpful to the democratic process.  Debates allow a candidate to clarify and support their stance on relevant issues and policies, as well as highlight any differences they might have from their competition.  However, this objective is readily met within the confines of a handful of mulitple-hour debates.  After seven or eight debates, the candidates are forced to rehash issues and stances they’ve already been over.  And then things get ugly.  The debates turn from policy discussions to free attack ads.  They begin to attack each other’s integrity and history, because they’ve already been over what it means to truly have a universal health care plan a thousand times before.  With fewer, more focused debates, the candidates would be forced to use their time wisely and discuss the truly important tenets of their candidacy. 

For those of you who have watched the last couple of debates, were they truly constructive in helping you choose a candidate to support?  Or were you too busy wiping mud from your television set?



  1. Pullman said,

    I agree that there are too many. By now, I think we have pretty much heard all we are going to hear on issues. The only thing in the last Democratic debate that was new and insightfull was how each candidate felt about the economic stimulus package and their own programs. I’ll keep watching the Democratic debates, however, just to see how the candidates are holding up, but it’s not going to change my support any.

  2. LA said,

    Pullman – You have a good point about new issues that come up, like the economic stimulus package. I want to see how candidates deal with things that arise during the course of the campaign. This could easily be covered by having half as many debates, but still keeping them spread out throughout the campaign season. I’m also with you about the debates not changing my support, because I had made up my mind a long time ago. Anyone out there not attached to a candidate yet who’d like to comment? I’m interested how the debates affect your opinion of the candidates? Are debates one of the main resources for making a decision? Or are other mediums more helpful like a candidate’s website, an interview with them, articles about them, etc?

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