A Debate Under Duress

I really hope the first presidential debate occurs as planned Friday night.

Debates, theoretically, are rare opportunities to hear from candidates when their words are unscripted. In reality, however, candidates often prepare for weeks ahead of time, including last-minute intense cram sessions like the ones you remember from your college days.

What I love about the prospect of a debate Friday night is that both candidates have been severely preoccupied with the financial bailout fiasco all week and are likely much less prepared than they would otherwise be. I think seeing Barack Obama and John McCain debate each other without all of the usual coaching and grooming that goes on before debates will be an extraordinarily better view into how much each of them really knows about the financial crisis.

I want to see what each candidate will say in the middle of a storm, not after it. Debate on…

Side note: If you haven’t read the New York Times article linked to above yet, give it a read. It’s some pretty dramatic stuff, with Henry Paulson actually getting down on one knee in front of Nancy Pelosi.

11 comments on “A Debate Under Duress”. Leave your own?
  1. Dave F says:

    Amen. There’s no reason why they can’t fly out for a couple hours, do it and then fly to where ever else they “need” to be. I can’t help but think that if McCain doesn’t show, it will look like he’s duckin’… no matter what excuse he gives, no matter how his camp tries to spin it… a no show just won’t look good to a lot of people me included.

  2. Rob L. says:

    The subject of tonight’s debate is supposed to be foreign policy, so if the debate actually happens, we probably won’t get too good a glimpse of their views on the Wall Street mess. It’ll be brought up, for sure, but the moderator(s) will likely try to steer things back on-topic.

  3. Scott says:

    Agreed. If this debate doesn’t take place it will only serve to solidify the feelings that many voters (who all too often don’t even vote) have about the process. Those feelings being that the voters aren’t as important to the candidates as they should be. There seems to be a bit more interest in this election than others in recent memory. I hope the candidates don’t screw that up by canceling this debate.

  4. Mike D. says:

    UPDATE: It looks like it’s on! Woohoo!

    Rob L.: Shit, you’re right. Apparently, they swapped topics about a month ago. Originally the first debate was going to be about domestic policy. I say switch it back! Even less chance for preparation that way.

  5. Mike D. says:

    Now that I think about it, here is the master stroke for one (ahem) of the candidates right now: publicly urge that the subject of the debate be changed to domestic policy and economy right now, in light of the current circumstances. It probably won’t happen, but if the other candidate doesn’t agree to the change, it will make them look scared and/or unprepared.

  6. troy says:

    I could not agree more, Mike. …very happy the debate will occur as planned! I am equally excited for the VP debate on October 2 – it should interesting, to say the least. Question: will Biden assume normal form and aggressively challenge (Palin) OR will he hold back out of fear of public backlash? It’s risky either way, but I hope the former occurs.

  7. Omar says:

    Here is another stroke for a certain candidate…he declared that our current domestic economic state is tied directly to the foreign affairs topic for tonight, as many foreign economies are directly impacted by ours. So it’s not only a good idea they talk and display their views, it’s imperative. And even better that a candidate can show us how they tie together. I’ve never been interested in politics, and the fact that someone is talking in a way that makes me interested is evidence that they’re doing something right…for me at least.

  8. Mike D. says:

    Wow, 90 minutes in and this debate certainly isn’t living up to its billing so far. Pretty much a draw, and pretty boring. Definitely didn’t expect that.

  9. Reed says:

    I wonder why I got an email from Feedburner about this post today…

  10. Mike D. says:

    Reed and Michael: Yeeeeeeeeeah, sorry about that. I’m getting my redesign ready and it’s kind of tricky making sure none of your feeds updates while you’re still re-arranging the furniture. Kind of a random entry to show up though!

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