What if they held a debate and nobody came?


Are we getting to the point where there will be a need for The Debate Channel? It seems the sun never sets on a stage-wide assembly of high office hopefuls trotting out applicable portions of their stump speeches in convenient short burst of soundbite. AARP and Iowa Public TV are getting into the act with a Democratic event scheduled for 9/20/07 and a Republican follow-up on 10/25/07. AARP represents a motivated constituency with a lot of government money on the table and an excellent track record of actually showing up to vote, but at this point, it is not filling all of the available podiums. Only five Democrats have committed – Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden and Bill Richardson; and only two Republicans have thus far signed up – John McCain and Mike Huckabee.

RBR/TVBR observation: We admit we cannot watch all of these debates. And part of the problem is that the formats almost always cater to the politicians’ desire to minimize risk. The unfortunate side effect of that is it minimizes the chances of delving any deeper than soundbite level into their thoughts, and it also minimizes the possibility of genuine news-making exchanges. They always say people watch car races for the accidents. It would help liven up the interminable debate merry-go-round if some of the horses come off their moorings once in awhile so we can enjoy their reaction when the freed steed starts bucking.