In response to:

Those Endless, Onerous Presidential Campaigns

Kiffur Wrote: Dec 27, 2012 4:25 PM
The only "intelligent" debates occurred during the Republican primaries. Unfortunately, they were not shown nationally, so I was only able to catch one of them: a one-on-one debate between Speaker Gingrich and Herman Cain. The moderator *moderated* and did not impose himself between the combatants and the audience in an attempt to determine the outcome. More importantly, the two candidates were given the questions, allowed time to formulate *answers* and not mere sound bytes, and then given time for response and rebuttal. There was no grandstanding, no name-calling, no personal attacks. It was a friendly, open atmosphere of mutal respect - but one in which the viewer was able to see for herself/himself both the commonground on which...
Kiffur Wrote: Dec 27, 2012 4:54 PM
From what I remember reading at the time of the Republican primary, I think the Lincoln-Douglas format of these debates was suggested by Speaker Gingrich, who threw out a challenge to the Republican candidates; I don't know if Mr. Cain and Senator Santorum were the only candidates who took him up on the offer, or if the lack of national sponsorship precluded any more than two such debates.

What I *do* know, is that Presidential politics is the poorer for NOT using this debate format.Presidential politics should be dependent on intelligent debates, rather than on a series of infantile gameshow "events".
Kiffur Wrote: Dec 27, 2012 4:41 PM
Cont'd: ... but one in which the viewers were able to see for themselves both the common-ground on which the two candidates based their political philosophies and the different ways by which they intended to create the right atmosphere for their ideas to work. I thought the debate format worked perfectly and only wish that there had been many more such debates limited to only two candidates at a time. The only other limited debate I'm aware of was one between Speaker Gingrich and (former) Senator Rick Santorum. I did not see it, and have not read any comments about it, but considering the two participants, would think it probable it was very lively and very informative.

Whatever else the New Year brings, at least it won't be a presidential election or any of the primaries, caucuses, or conventions leading up to it. Which is more than OK with me. American presidential campaigns have grown excruciatingly overlong, and I look forward to a respite from the obsessive political coverage, the ginned-up gaffes and controversies, the rush to dissect each twitch in public opinion, the avalanche of dishonest advertising and disingenuous "fact-checking."

Of course not everyone agrees, especially in the press corps. "We all have our peculiar tastes," George F. Will once wrote. "Some people like Popsicles. Others like...