Monday, October 6

Campaign 2008: Let the Mudslinging Begin

I am appalled and I am saddened by the most recent turn of events in this year's campaign. I'm not surprised. In both cases it seems that mudslinging and negative campaigning is the option of the somewhat desparate. And hasn't anyone yet learned that the American public, for all its voyeurism through tabloids and TV, really doesn't care for negative campaigning? That we're smart enough to know that it's a disingenuous and seriously expensive form of not answering the questions?

Tomorrow night is the 2nd presidential debate and with this sort of atmosphere, it promises to have the potential of bombast and extraordinary political rhetoric. The debate on Tue, Oct 7 is supposed to based on questions submitted by the American people. I wish I'd known that was an option--not sure how I missed that--because I do have a few questions.

As sophomoric as it may seem, I wouldn't mind if the debate could actually entail a bit of role playing. Groups of people come up with scenarios that might even be variations of real-life past events. Let the candidates see the scenarios for the first time at the beginning of the "role play" and be given 3 minutes to come up with as many key questions, points, notes, etc. they can. As though they were in an emergency Cabinet meeting or whatever meeting the situation calls for. Who do they need what information from? What else do they need to know to make a critical decision?

Ideally the candidates would write on a screen similar to that one used in Jeopardy and ideally the screens could be displayed side-by-side at the same time. An earlier coin toss would have determined who would speak first to his scenario thinking and be given time to explain his thinking. What would be even cooler is if members of the audience could be allowed to ask questions, although it might make more sense for key members of certain agencies to be present to participate in a Q&A. Then we could see our future leader interacting with the very individuals or levels of individuals with whom they would be working for at least the next four years.

Obama says we need to know about McCain and Keating. Well then, we also need to know more about Obama and the Daley Machine and Obama and Rezko. Except we don't. What we need to know is how these people will behave as Commander-in-Chief. What we really need to know is, as much as possible, the details of any plans recognizing there is a great deal these candidates don't know and won't know until they get into office. What we really need to know who is these folks are considering for Cabinet officials or, at the very least, the specific qualifications for which they are looking in those members of Cabinet, especially the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and Security of Treasury. It wouldn't hurt to know who they're thinking of for National Security Advisor and, I suppose, Homeland Security.

But let's end the negative campaigning. Stop the smearing. Stop the mudslinging.

Dear Candidates: Talk to the American people about what you can do for the country and how we can help you accomplish your goals. Shut up about the other guy. Please.

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