Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Presidential Debates

Two thoughts on the presidential debates:

1. Regarding issues, I am disappointed that the environment was hardly mentioned at all. It seems to rank near the bottom of either candidate's agenda. Granted, it was mentioned in the form of green energy (which focused on the energy part, not the green element), and there are plenty of critical economic and diplomatic issues (one might even say crises to discuss), but I still would have liked one solid question focused squarely on environmental policy.

2. From a historical perspective, I wish they had had debates before 1960. Wouldn't it be priceless to see FDR in a debate in one of his four elections? He was so good with reporters questions that I have to think it would have been entertaining, if nothing else. I am sure he would have avoided a debate in 1944 on the grounds that he was too busy winning the war (and to cover up his declining health). Also to see Eisenhower and Stevenson, McKinley and Bryan, Truman and Dewey, or, the my favorite idea yet, a free for all between Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Eugene Debs, and Woodrow Wilson in 1912. Would any of these debates have tipped an election? We cannot tell, of course, because they did not happen, but I feel safe concluding that if debates have been a decisive factor in the recent past, they would have had the same effect before 1960.

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