In the 2016 debates, triggered by anti-plagiarism software, an on-screen headline should immediately notify voters whenever a candidate repeats 10 or more words in the precise order that he has used them before in public. This technological adjustment would be designed to embarrass candidates who lapse into stump speeches (“I know what it takes to create 12 million new jobs”). And it would move us closer to the dream of presidential debates as an exchange of ideas, not sound bites.
Here’s another proposal.
The saddest part of Monday night’s debate was moderator Bob Schieffer’s repeated plaintive pleas to “get back to foreign policy,” so if two future candidates cannot bother to devote a full 90 minutes to global issues, they would be obligated to jointly sign a binding contract declaring “The 21st century will never be an American century.” No more talk about American exceptionalism and “this nation is the hope of the earth” if you neglect to mention India in a presidential debate.Read More »from Unserious debates for serious times: how the empty, vacuous Obama-Romney faceoffs failed voters