The fix is in. Yesterday, for the first time in history, the Commission on Presidential Debates informed the candidates ahead of time of what topics will covered by the moderator during the first presidential debate. The Commission announced that three questions will be devoted to the economy, one to health care, one to the “role of government” and one to “governing.” Never before have the candidates been notified of the subject matters of the questions prior to the presidential debates.
The Commission on Presidential Debates, with this move, has completely removed the presidential debates from any relevance or impartiality. All it can really be now is a popularity contest, which of course Obama will win.
In July 2012, lawyers of the Obama and Romney campaign negotiated a detailed contract that dictates many of the terms of the 2012 presidential debates, including how the format will be structured. The Commission on Presidential Debates, a private corporation created by and for the Republican and Democratic parties, agreed to implement the debate contract. In order to shield the major party candidates from criticism, the Commission on Presidential Debates is concealing the contract from the public and the press. As a result, voters have been kept in the dark about anti-democratic provisions contained in the contract.
From whom the demand came is speculation, but the evidence seems to point to the Republicans for three reasons:
- Romney’s record is thin, rapacious and smarmy all at the same time. He’s also the candidate who hasn’t participated in a presidential debate before.
- He’s not as good a student as Obama. It’s not a stretch to say Obama would tear Romney limb from limb if they were both required to think on their feet.
- Obama is a rabid competitor as an athlete. He plays fair, but plays tough, as described at length by Michael Lewis article. I can not imagine that if the decision went by him he would have viewed it with anything but contempt. He simply doesn’tneed such an advantage.
Obama is still going to wipe the floor with Romney. Personally, I’m still slobbering to see it, though this news has sure taken the bloom off the peach for me. Realistically, I can now only view the debates as entertainment.
I must acknowledge that a lot of my antiwar colleagues may be right: my vote really doesn’t mean much, or anything, if the debates, the only one-on-one exchanges the voters get to witness between the candidates over the entire campaign season for the election of the world’s most powerful person, are just a manipulated three-act stage show.
And as to the one Vice Presidential Debate: Open Debates did not bring this debate up in its criticism, but presumably this private corporation created by and for the two major Parties also regulates the Veep candidates’ debate also. Not that turning the Veep debates into a popularity contest would really help Ryan. A few days ago, Ryan was booed in a head-to-head with Obama, and there’s plenty of evidence that Biden’s not as nice a fellow as Obama.
It’s entirely possible Biden will go some distance over the top tearing into Ryan. It could get very personal. The closer Biden comes to losing his cool without actually doing it, the worse for Ryan, and of course for the GOP ticket. That will probably be his debate strategy, besides saying, “I’m qualified to be President, you’re not. When’d you get your passport, kid? What’s your foreign-policy experience and record? Go back to Wisconsin, you can still be a Rep there.”
But a pox on both their houses for this. As Walt Kelly, the creator of Pogo, famously titled one of his books of comics, “We have met the enemy, and they are us!”