Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Debate Options

So far, American voters have suffered through two debates between Barack Obama and John McCain. The first was the standard two podiums-one moderator debate and the second used a so-called Town Hall format. But regardless of the format, both were God-awful, boring affairs.

Which brings me to a modest suggestion for Wednesday’s third and final debate. Rather than revert to the standard format, why not change it entirely and liven up the proceedings? For example, it’s not too late to adopt one of the following structures:

No-holds barred format
Last Tuesday’s debate with John McCain wandering the platform gave an inkling of what might have been if this format had been chosen. Two candidates, two chairs, one microphone and no rules. As one candidate speaks, the other can circle the stage and do all in his power to confuse him. Catcalls, insults, hand gestures, funny faces. Nothing would be off-limits. The only rule? So long as you hold the microphone, the stage is yours.

Washington Cage Match
Madison Square Garden could be the site for the first Presidential cage match. Stripped down to their shorts, both candidates are free to use whatever rhetorical or physical moves they wish. All dirty tricks are allowed including wrestling choke holds, platform mis-characterizations and outright lies and falsehoods. Points would be won by take-downs and put-downs.

Debate Demolition Derby
Two worn out stock cars with two worn out candidates in a dirt-filled oval will make for one heck of an exciting debate. No more words; just well-aimed crashes at the other guy’s banged-up vehicle. The winner is the one with the still-moving car. The prize? Fifteen minutes of prime-time television to the winner to present his platform to the American viewing public. At that point, however, no one is obliged to keep watching.

Rock, paper, scissors
A moderator introduces a series of domestic and foreign policy topics. For each topic, the two candidates go one-on-one for a best-two-out-of-three games of rock, paper, scissors. At the end of the evening, the points are tallied and the winner declared.

Boxing match
Viewers and pundits who have been waiting years to see a debate "knock-out punch" may now get their way. Both candidates are suited up in silk boxing shorts and ten-ounce gloves in what will no doubt be dubbed "The Thrilla and Vanilla." McCain and Obama will literally go toe-to-toe for a twelve-round championship match. Make no mistake; this will be one debate format with a guaranteed winner.

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