This Page

has been moved to new address

Why we have debates

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Wide White: Why we have debates

Friday, October 15, 2010

Why we have debates

My friend Bill had a post this week questioning whether or not political debates are outdated methods. With all of the other options available to us for political communication through TV news, ads, social media, email, local events, etc., why should we have debates?

I've covered the purpose of debates in a previous post - at least from the candidate's vantage point. Their purpose is simply to communicate their campaign talking points.

But Bill asks a great question: do we really need them? This question especially becomes relevant when people like my congressman, John Kline, refuse to debate their opponents.

By the time November 2nd comes, the 3 candidates for Minnesota governor will have debated over 30 times, and that's only since the August 10 primary! Mark Dayton had upwards of 20 primary debates on top of that.

I think we need 2 or 3 debates, but more than that becomes excessive and the general public tunes out. Even those of us who actually follow politics tune out. I have yet to watch a single debate, not because I don't want to, but because there are just so many. It's easy to cultivate a mentality that says, "I'll just watch the next one." I typically watch all 3 presidential debates. If there were only 3 governor debates, I'd probably watch them all.

But whether 3 or 30, why have a debate at all? Aren't there plenty of other platforms for candidates to speak their views?

We have debates because outside of a debate, there is no platform with all candidates in the same room addressing one another. It's just that simple.

True, debates are over-political by nature. Candidates often bore us with their talking points that we've heard re-hashed over and over.

But every once in a while, one of them breaks through. Suddenly, we remember why we care about these things in the first place.

One of those moments happened in 2004 at Washington University in St. Louis, when Bush flipped in response to Kerry's allegation that the U.S. was fighting the war in Iraq alone.

A more memorable - and light-hearted - moment came in 1984.

This is why we need debates. These moments just don't happen in any other format.

Labels: ,


Anonymous Bill Roehl declared,

That Bill guy is a real jerk. I can't believe you link to his site. What garbage.

10/15/2010 7:56 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home