What debates?

May 5, 2007 | By | 3 Replies More

The Nation argues that we don’t really have any real political debates among the candidates.  In fact, what passes for “debate” is “idiotic”:

What passes for a political debate in the United States today is little more than dueling sound bites. The Republican candidates were restricted to sixty-second answers to the questions put to them. Such time limitations are the rule in American debating and give rise to the suspicion that these politicians are unable to discuss a topic at a greater length than 100 words. After that they apparently run out of material. They are programmed for short bursts and little more.

C-SPAN watchers see this every time they watch the woeful activities on the floor of the House of Representatives. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, the members of the House walk to the lectern to speak for one minute each. All the Democrats say exactly the same thing; all the Republicans say exactly the same 100 words, which is roughly how many words it takes to fill up a minute.



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About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (3)

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  1. grumpypilgrim says:

    Of course there are no debates among the candidates. A real debate might reveal the candidates to be as clueless and inept as they are. That is why the presidential debate committee, for example, is run by the campaign committees of the candidates, rather than by a group that might actually stage a real debate.

    BTW, I read that two of the Republican presidential candidates in the debate last week declared that they do not believe in evolution, and all except Giuliani want to repeal Roe v. Wade. And, of course, quite a few support Bush's decisions in Iraq.

  2. Ben says:

    Jason Rosenhouse has collected some GOP debate reactions…

    "Three other candidates (Brownback, Huckabee, and Tancredo) raised their hands when asked to affirm their lack of belief in evolution."


    "it was a good night for Republicans if they were called Neanderthals by Arianna Huffington"


    "The question was put directly to McCain, who answered with a simple "yes" before adding, "I believe in evolution. But I also believe, when I hike the Grand Canyon and see it at sunset, that the hand of God is there also."

    -Washington Post


  3. Erich Vieth says:

    For more on the so-called debates, see this post by Marty Kaplan of Huffpo. Here's a sample: "But in practice, "debates" isn't the right name for them. More than anything else, they're branding opportunities." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marty-kaplan/its-th

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