A Facebook friend of mine had a great idea for the next debate, based on how multiple candidates behaved in the last couple. In a nutshell, it was to place the candidates in soundproof plexiglass tubes, so that each candidate would only be able to speak when it was his* turn to speak; this would rid us of all the interrupting--and, in Joe Biden's case, constant laughing--that has kept these debates from being a more civil affair. No, when each candidate's time is up, his microphone would be cut off.
(Image from set of Twenty-One courtesy The New Yorker under Fair Use clause)
Now, I don't think we'd want Geritol sponsoring this particular debate, as it would obviously lead to the question of age being raised. I do, however, think it would help matters if the candidates received points based on the correctness and efficacy of their answers.
Building on that idea, here are a few more things that I think would shake up the traditional debate format:
- In an effort to keep the audience from identifying the candidates and thus preforming opinions before each speaks, make each candidate wear one of those identical sheets that about five different Peanuts characters wore in It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Then disguise their voices so that they both sound like identical Munchkins. Or Ewoks. Whichever.
- Have each candidate submit a moderator with no veto power from the other side. Who wouldn't want a debate moderated by Rachel Maddow and Rush Limbaugh, for example?
- I think I've inadvertently borrowed this from someone else, but as I can't remember from whom it was, we'll proceed: we need some of that green slime from Nickelodeon that used to (or perhaps still does) fall on everyone's head. Perhaps give each candidate two opportunities per debate to drop it on their opponent's head when he says something egregious.
- Speaking of things that opponents can use twice per contest: give each candidate a red flag to challenge the statements of their opponents. That might be a better method of contesting statements or misstatements made. (But the slime would be fun to watch at least once.)
Actually, forget all that. Let's just make the debate like this:
And when I say "like this", I definitely mean that the Brady kids need to be included.
* I am not using gender-neutral language in this post because, as you are hopefully aware, both of the major party presidential candidates (as well as both of the major-party VP candidates) are male. Regular readers might be aware that I had hoped at one point for that not to be the case.