I’ll be following the debate on Twitter tonight, most likely and maybe popping in here for the occasional commet. But if you think tonight’s debate will be substantive, check this out:
There are the public rules for each presidential debate — how long the candidates get for each answer, how long they get to respond — and then there are the secret rules their campaigns agreed to in a memorandum of understanding with the Commission on Presidential Debates. That memorandum is now public, posted by Time’s Mark Halperin. What did the Obama and Romney campaigns demand?
Among other things: no reaction shots, no ad libbing of questions, no follow-ups (on threat of mic being cut off), no shout outs (probably a good thing), no accessories like powerpoint, no direct questions, no clapping. In other words, this is to be a 90-minute campaign commercial and don’t you forget it.
The CPD has already proven their uselessness many times. They’ve banned third party candidates and insured that no one will get a Bernard Shaw type question. But they have long passed the point of subservience into the bent-over position. The CPD exists for no other reason than to give the candidates the platform to say what they want without any fear of an actual, you know, debate breaking out.
At some point, we have to rebel against this bullshit. At some point, one of these things is going to degenerate into an actual town hall meeting when the questioners simply refuse to comply with this nonsense and start deviating from their prepared remarks.
I mean, they can’t audit all of us.