Now that the presidential debate season is over, don't you miss it? And don't you wish there had been more of them, so many more, each more different from the last? No? OK, well, feel free to skip all this and just return to your hurricane shelters and/or lives.
CBS News' Bob Schieffer -- who, if the world ends this week, will be the last human being to moderate a U.S. presidential debate -- has posted a brief item in which he expresses his gratitude at having the opportunity to serve as moderator and makes suggestions about how the debate season might be improved:
Instead of three, I'd propose six, with the first one immediately after the political conventions.
Starting early and sitting the candidates down face-to-face could change the entire tone of the campaign.
An argument with someone you know -- even just a little -- is generally conducted on a higher plane than an argument with a stranger.
I'm not sure that doubling the number of debates would be the answer, but I submit that an interesting and untried format would be to stage a town-hall-style debate with reporters and editors of swing-state newspapers taking the role of interlocutors. My operating theory here is that these questioners would have an intimate awareness of how national politics affect their local constituencies, and as a bonus, they would be a few steps removed from the silly-season-obsessed, talking-points-prone cable news media.
Schieffer isn't too bullish on the town-hall format, however:
They seem to work best when the candidates are seated at a table rather than behind more formal podiums or wandering around the stage in a town hall format.
Come on, Bob Schieffer! Surely you of all people know that podiums are walked upon, not stood behind?
You know what, that's another debate format I'd like to see: one in which the two candidates had to cower behind a podium while standing on a lectern. Just to drive the point home.
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