“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Friday, September 23, 2011

Last Night's Fox News/Google Florida GOP Presidential Debate

I tried to watch last night's Fox News/Google debate from Florida. I really did. It didn't take more than, I think, five minutes before I was channel-surfing. The pace was just too sluggish for me.

God help me, I just can't take the tedious, repetitive questions and evasive answers anymore. If others can, more power to 'em.

No matter who sponsors these things, and what the allegedly ground-breaking format for cutting off run on self-promoting 'answers' and such, I typically watch the next day's Fox News and Bloomberg programs for a digest of the high points of the debate.

Last night, I actually fell asleep during the latter half of the program. At least I think I did. Evidently it was so boring there was no recency effect for my memory.

What I last recall of the debate was former governor Johnson answering a question involving something to do with spending. But the actual topic is unimportant.

What is important is how Johnson replied. He began off-topic. Completely off-topic. Something about promising to send a balanced 2013 budget to Congress. But what I quickly realized, because I've used the tactic myself in business meetings, was that he was thinking in background about his real reply while tossing up canned positions on a somewhat-related point, so that, about 20 seconds into a 60 second reply, he came around to what his mind had rapidly settled on as his answer. I remember this because his 'answer' was prefaced by a qualifier like 'somewhat' or 'options including.' Meaning he didn't really have an answer.

That was pretty much it for me. The last straw. And I don't mean poll.

I think what would be more meaningful to me would be something like the following. A network provides a weekly two-hour slot for its 'candidate of the week.' One of the GOP presidential hopefuls sits on a set with one or two moderators and answers questions from online feeds and a live audience. Moderators provide follow-up questions and/or fill in background on the candidate's prior remarks on the topic. Or contrast their stance with other candidates, etc.

And, for good measure, the original audience/online questioner gets a few minutes of give-and-take with the candidate, so if the latter evades the question, the questioner can complain about that and note it for everyone else.

I really don't care so much what Mitt thinks about Rick. Or what Newt thinks about anyone. Or what Rick (Santorum) does to try to look relevant.

In the end, I care more about how these people interact with prospective voters than how they fence with each other. I don't expect them to agree with each other, so what's the surprise in these bear-baiting formats?

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