NY Times Writer Calls for Ending Presidential Debates
It won’t be long until President Donald Trump and Joe Biden face off three times in the presidential debates, and we already know how that’s likely to go.
Every sign already tells us that Biden’s handlers would like to keep his public exposure to the minimum. Biden may not be able to run a campaign out of his basement – but it’s certainly better than the one he can run outside if it. The Trump campaign pushed for a fourth presidential debate between the candidates, which the Biden campaign rejected – hardly a vote of confidence in their candidate.
President Bill Clinton’s former spokesman Joe Lockhart penned an op-ed last week arguing that Biden shouldn’t debate Trump at all. “Whatever you do, don’t debate Trump,” he wrote as advice to Biden. His justification was that Trump would simply lie and ignore the rules of the debate. Those are simply Lockhart’s excuses for why he doesn’t want a man who can barely string together a sentence anywhere near the debate stage (and the fact that he has no confidence in Biden’s ability to refute Trump’s supposed lies seems to reveal that fact).
Today the New York Times came up with another solution: instead of have Biden look bad by not debating, why not just abolish presidential debates whatsoever?
Times writer Elizabeth Drew argues:
The debates have never made sense as a test for presidential leadership. In fact, one could argue that they reward precisely the opposite of what we want in a president. When we were serious about the presidency, we wanted intelligence, thoughtfulness, knowledge, empathy and, to be sure, likability. It should also go without saying, dignity.
Yet the debates play an outsize role in campaigns and weigh more heavily on the verdict than their true value deserves.
… Over time, the debates came to resemble professional wrestling matches, and more substantive debates were widely panned in the press. Points went to snappy comebacks and one-liners. Witty remarks drew laughs from the audience and got repeated for days and remembered for years.
The writer then went on to spend five paragraphs complaining about Ronald Reagan’s famous quip that he wouldn’t hold his opponent’s (Walter Mondale) youth and inexperience against him, a one-liner that dominated post-debate discussion.
One thing is made obvious by those arguing Biden shouldn’t debate – that they have no confidence in his ability to engage President Trump.
If talking for a few hours will be too difficult for Biden, so would the Presidency.