Chris Stigall Column: We Learn Nothing from Presidential ‘Debates’

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Donald Trump might have been smarter to just refuse to “debate” Hillary Clinton altogether. It worked for him during the Republican primaries. He simply refused to attend venues he felt were a waste of his time or hostile to him. His popularity grew. That strategy and rationale would be valid now, too.

Most conservatives and Republicans have understood for years these “debates” aren’t debates at all. The moderators aren’t objective observers. They’re active, partisan participants out to score points for their candidate of choice and make a name for themselves at cocktail parties.

Proof that “debates” are worthless evaluation tools for choosing executives? Ronald Reagan “lost” a debate to Walter Mondale. But, ask yourself. What does that tell you about predicting future performance?

Answer? Zero.

Debates, especially for executive posts, have nothing to do with the job. Senators and Congressmen are good at debating and showing off their oratorical prowess. But they don’t run or lead anything. If two candidates want to stand up and discuss their programs and philosophies, fine.

But this current system in no way is helpful to determine who might be the better executive.

You know what would be a better for an audience? Giving each candidate the same hypothetical (one can’t hear the other) and listen to their answers— one at a time with the other candidate in an area where they can’t hear to gain an advantage.

How would they respond to a problem – domestic, foreign, economic, military, etc? How do they approach the problem? Do they know their Constitutional limitations? Let us watch them think on their feet and hear them solve the problem. At a bare minimum, just a let the two candidates steer the conversation where they’d like to take it with no moderator at all.

What we’ve been watching is total nonsense. Hillary memorized canned lines and meaningless policy (vote-buying) proposals. As for Trump, if you want my honest opinion, he wasn’t interested in the process of this “debate.” Mrs. Clinton lives for them. She’s practiced her entire life.

Trump has ideas and desires to save the country from riots and terrorism, but who would know? That wasn’t relevant to the Lester Holt in the first “debate” this year. He didn’t care about Hillary and her surrogates involved in an FBI investigation, the President’s involvement in Hillary’s unsecured, hidden email, Benghazi, the highly suspect Clinton Foundation, and on and on I could go.

In other words, these “debates” aren’t helpful to voters in trying to determine who would make the better LEADER. Who is the better debater? Frankly, who gives a damn?

But Trump agreed to participate in these scams, so here we are. And as these are scored, Mrs. Clinton “won” round one. In order to “win,” Trump will have to practice and rehearse zingers and one-liners that he must deploy at specific moments. Candidly, I don’t like his odds.  It’s not his strong suit and it has nothing to do with how he’d govern.

Mrs. Clinton is the better phony.  Trump is authentic to a fault sometimes.  How will they lead or make decisions? We’ll not learn during these shows called debates.

It’s why we began throwing debate watch parties with food and drinks for our listeners and friends at the sports bar Chickie’s and Pete’s.  These watch parties have been described as sporting events for political geeks. That’s probably true.

I figure we may as well watch these “debates” like we’d watch the Philadelphia Eagles. Sure, you’d like to see your team win, but the outcome doesn’t really mean a damned thing.

More from Chris Stigall
Comments

One Comment

  1. I agree that they should be asked only pertinent questions about running the country without hearing each others answers, only we could hear the questions and answers

Comments are closed.

More From CBS Philly

2016 Guide To Holiday Mall Hours
What's New On The Nearby Slopes

Listen Live