Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why Debates Matter

Caller of the day: [paraphrased] "I don't understand why everyone is picking on Perry for his debate performances. I know lots of people who are fine in their day-to-day work who freeze when they're taking exams or certification tests. Having problems when he's center stage doesn't mean he can't do the work of governing."

Umm... I suppose, for thirteen days in 1963, if John F. Kennedy had choked under pressure, everything would have worked out fine?

There are those saying that the GOP is having to many debates.  That debates among presidential candidates don't matter or shouldn't matter.

I disagee.  While I have a certain distrust and dislike of organized government (much as I have a dislike and distrust of organized religion), if I'm going to be stuck with a federal government, then there are certain qualities I like in a president.  Debates highlight some of them.

If there must be a commander in chief, let's have one that can think on his feet.  "Nonsense!" some would say.  "Presidents have advisers who provide information and suggest possible courses of action.  All the president has to do is read speeches and make decisions."  There's more to it, I think.  Executives have to learn information, filter it, and make decisions.  While taking information in quickly, they have to be able to filter it.  Rats have to be smelled, biases detected, fallicies unmasked, groupthink disassembled, context gleaned and examined.  This process is best done against a background of a diverse education.  A chief executive who knows where Cyprus is, who knows what the issue is with South Osseta, and who knows who the president of 'uzbeckiceckiceckistanstan' is is better prepared to catch errors, find biases, and detect smoke being blown in his direction than someone who is limping along, leaning on their advisors.

A good debate will highlight that.  It will demonstrate who can think on their feet and who is relying on canned responses.  A debate will show who actually has numbers and facts ready to hand, and who can't go off script.  It will illustrate who has actually opinions on things and who is following a party platform.

Debates matter.  They separate the minds at work from the cardboard cutouts.  And in the case of Michelle Bachman, debates highlight who is bats*** crazy.

Googlebombing for a cause:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was really scary watching Perry. It was almost as though he was having a stroke. Even prompting from the other debaters (!) did not help him. Can you say 'dead in the water'?
Bachman is really as crazy as a loon...or maybe the loon is smarter than the girl.