19 October 2016

Half a Century Ago

I'm busy watching Chris "Hardball" throw softballs at the candidates and then duck. Half a century ago, Paul Simon — not the late Senator — predicted this result.

Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon
Going to the candidates' debate
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you've got to choose
Every way you look at this you lose

OK, so he got the day of the week wrong. And it's an ode to an alcoholic...

Just like the other moderators, this one is doing an extremely poor job of actually ensuring that the candidates try to answer the question... and then quotes things out of context as his version of a "hardball" to candidates. We'd all be better served with either John Oliver or Jon Stewart as the moderator.

Bluntly, the Commission on Presidential Debates is not doing its bloody job. It is not structuring matters to encourage substance and discourage soundbites; it is not selecting moderators who will enforce the rules — not even the flawed ones it has; when it allows outside input on questions, it allows those questions to be distorted by pressure-group tactics (as only the latest example, the acknowledgement of NRA-sponsored pressure on gun rights, which is at best a side issue for a segment purportedly on the entirety of the Supreme Court); it doesn't have a coherent vision of what people want or need the debates to be. In short — and precisely because it is a bipartisan commission, not (as its co-chair claimed) a nonpartisan commission — this structure disserves both the candidates and the electorate.

When I've got to choose, every way I look at this I lose.