In the latest twist in this already twisted quadrennial whack-a-mole game of Presidential politics, the Obama and McCain campaigns have finally agreed to the debate formats for the presidential and vice presidential candidates. As reported by the New York Times, while the presidential debates will feature a more free-flowing, freewheeling format that allows the candidates to directly question each other (that’s fair), the running mates’ debates will be far more structured:
At the insistence of the McCain campaign, the Oct. 2 debate between the Republican nominee for vice president, Gov. Sarah Palin, and her Democratic rival, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., will have shorter question-and-answer segments than those for the presidential nominees, the advisers said. There will also be much less opportunity for free-wheeling, direct exchanges between the running mates.
McCain advisers said they had been concerned that a loose format could leave Ms. Palin, a relatively inexperienced debater, at a disadvantage and largely on the defensive.
Well isn’t that nice. The McCain campaign is, no doubt, still mindful of the recent interview with Charles Gibson, which made their little cheerleader look oh, so knowledgeable:
And then there was Sean Hannity’s softball puff piece last week featuring a smiling, fawning, bootlicking Hannity throwing softballs at Palin in a format designed to make her look good and, no doubt, show her the “deference” the McCain campaign thinks she deserves.
This is ridiculous, of course. The McCain campaign knows she’s not ready, but they’re hoping to use this format to fool the country into believing she is. Oh, and they’re also hoping to use it as a chance to push more of McCain’s positions:
McCain advisers said they were only somewhat concerned about Ms. Palin’s debating skills compared with those of Mr. Biden, who has served six terms in the Senate, or about his chances of tripping her up. Instead, they say, they wanted Ms. Palin to have opportunities to present Mr. McCain’s positions, rather than spending time talking about her experience or playing defense.
Uh huh, right. What they’re really worried about is more moments like this:
Yes, Alaska is close to Russia, and Russia was our main adversary for 70 years, ergo, everyone from Alaska has foreign policy experience. Oh, and energy policy experience too. Because of the oil, don’cha know?
No, better to protect their little hothouse flower from more self-inflicted embarrassment by strictly controlling the timing, structure and questioning of the debates she’ll participate in.
Folks, this only highlights the recklessness and carelessness of McCain’s choice of VP. She’s not ready, she won’t be “ready by January”, and if, God forbid, she is called upon to assume the role of President, she won’t be ready to face down foreign dictators if she can’t handle a soft-pedaled questions from ABC News or a free-flowing debate format against her Democratic rival. Kim Jong Il, Ahmadinejad, Putin, or any of the other foreign leaders wont “play nice” or be “deferential” to her. They’ll eat her alive. Unless she thinks they’ll be impressed by her “Don’t Blink” foreing policy doctrine.
We’ve already suffered through eight years of Bush-league politics. We don’t need four more. By putting a rank amateur in the second slot on his ticket, McCain has shown that his “Country First” slogan is nothing more than that – cheap electioneering. McCain would rather win an election than do what’s best for the country.
And that, my friends, is the straight talk.