November 1, 2012 | Vol. 116 -- No. 28

So just what have the debates accomplished?

In Our Opinion

After a month where tens of millions of citizens have watched a series of debates, what has been accomplished in the race for president?

These events were presented in a number of different formats and designed to shed new light on the candidates’ views.

Each side will say they were the winner in any of the three face-to-face showdowns between President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney. The same is true when the so-called experts parse what was said between Vice President Joe Biden and Paul Ryan.

Any of dozens of pollsters across the United States will publish their results where the needles sway one way one day or week and the opposite the next.

Significant numbers of those 60 or so million debate viewers still claim they are undecided after watching respective party favorites do verbal jousting on the economy, foreign policy, social issues and more.

Perhaps one of the reasons so many still claim they do not really know how they will vote is the debates have been more of a platform for put downs and less about the real path each man wishes to take the nation.

Obama emerged from the final debate coining a new term called “Romnesia” to describe his opponent’s alleged changing positions on key issues. Romney has taken repeated aim at the president, primarily on issues related to the economy.

Unfortunately, in either case it’s not about each trying to offer a vision and solution but rather scoring points.

The candidates should know the debates are not about them but rather provide a place where individual campaign and media filters are turned off and voters can get a better picture of the person.

But that’s in the perfect world we know doesn’t exist, especially in politics.

In that panacea – and especially in future debates – wouldn’t it be nice to have a better and clearer picture provided to voters in an effort to help us make the best decision possible?

To that end, we wanted to have some fun offering possible solutions. Because outside of stripping the American political machine down to the bare engine block and doing a complete rebuild, the blue smoke will stream out the tailpipe and the motor continue to fail further.

Wouldn’t it be fun in future debates to somehow secretly administer sodium pentothal – old fashioned truth serum – and watch them spill their guts in front of live television audiences in streams if giddiness? Or how about some real-time blood pressure checks in a crawl across the screen?

Sure, that’s a fantasy. But a more realistic outcome might be the network that chooses to have someone like PolitiFact do instant fact checking. That would save the audience the need to wonder if what was just said was in fact true. Or how much truth a statement may have contained. You know, mostly true, half true or liar, liar?

Debates and their results aside, one thing we do know out of all of what’s gone on, in less than a week Americans can go back to their normal lives. Until the next political cycle begins that is.

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