On “Debates” 2012

The first of the presidential debates starts this week. Well, there are not debates, but actually glorified new conferences with the parties setting the rules that give the candidates plenty of opportunities to continue there taglines.

Odds are very good that the candidates will provide an answer without answering the question. After all, Mr. Romney has previously stated to a moderator, “You have the right to ask the questions you want to, and I have the right to answer them in a way I want to.”

What if I was running the event? If so, here are the six rules in the A Frank Angle interview format.

  1. The moderator (me) is in charge; thus asks the questions, exercises any rule at any time, and can re-ask questions until answered.
  2. If the candidate does not answer the question, immediately turn off their microphone and surround them with the cone of silence.
  3. If the candidate strays from the question, immediately turn off their microphone and surround them with the cone of silence.
  4. If the candidate stresses the faults of the other candidate’s position over emphasizing their position, immediately turn off their microphone and surround them with the cone of silence.
  5. If a candidate cuts off the other, turn off their microphone and surround them with the cone of silence.
  6. When in doubt, see Rule 1.

Better yet, here are some questions that probably will not be asked on the televised events.

To Mr. Romney
Let’s assume you win, but face a divided Congress. How will you navigate the non-compromising segment of your party?

Was President Obama born in the United States? Is President Obama a Muslim? Besides some horseshit answer like “They are entitled to believe what they want to believe”, explain yourself to the people who do believe it.

If the US Supreme Court is for all Americans, would you favor one in the mold of the other conservatives or one of independent mind?

(Follow up) There are taxes, penalties, and fees. You repeatedly state that you want to lower tax rates After the Supreme Court ruling regarding the Affordable Car Act, you happily accepted the mantra that penalties are taxes. With that same thought, aren’t fees also taxes?

There are many in your party who advocate the teaching of various explanations of Biblical creationism in a science classroom. Why have you not taken the stance that the US Supreme Court ruled against that over 40 years ago?

To President Obama
One aspect of your 2008 message of hope and change focused on bringing the two parties together as much as possible. On the other hand,  a hard-driving Rahm Emmanuel’s (your chief of staff) is a direct contradiction to your message. How do you explain the difference between what you say and what you do?

Afghanistan continues to be a trouble spot. Although the American public supports the military, the majority does not favor this conflict. When are you going to make the decision to stop nation building and get the heck out?

Why did you not immediately embrace the recommendations from the bi-partisan Simpson-Bowles Commission?

The financial sector is the foundation for our economic system. Because Dodd-Frank continues to allow banking deregulation, why did you not support returning to the regulation established by Glass-Steagall?

Outside of the stimulus, the economy didn’t become the focus of your presidency until year three. Why?

To Both
Each of you frequently mentioned the importance of small businesses. What is your definition of small business?

(Follow-up) Why did you ignore the Federal Government’s own definition as per the Small Business Administration? Now, given statistics from the SBA and IRS, let’s examine your claims.

To Rep. Ryan
What is 1+1?
Good, you can add. Here’s a calculator, a pencil, scrap paper, and your budget. Because your numbers do not add up and need more explanation, go over to the side to work on this and we’ll get back to you.

To Vice-President Biden
How did you react to The Onion’s portrayals of you washing a sports car and offering guitar lessons?

Two Interesting Reads

91 thoughts on “On “Debates” 2012

  1. There would be a HUGE silent gap if you were in charge! 🙂 You can also ask Obama what happened to closing Gitmo? H’mmm I do believe another prisoner just got released to Canada this week on a deal. Canada kicking and screaming all the way….


  2. Frank, sweetie, I love you like a brother, but “frankly” the best part of the debates is the fact they AIN’T gonna be on my TV. While I take my politics seriously, I administer my doses in comfortable manners. Therefore, I will be dutifully watching and taking notes, while “Sons Of Guns” shows the Mythbusters how to PROPERLY blow up a propane tank. 😀
    ‘Cause if Romney gets elected, I’m gonna want some MAJOR firepower handy…. 😉


  3. I really wish they would allow Gary Johnson (Libertarian) and Jill Stein (Green) in the debates, I think they would have both Mr Romney and President Obama backpedaling and saying “What I really mean is…..”


    • Spiced,
      Ouch … but it least (I think) the Aussie way is not a multi-year process! When is the election? What are the polls saying at this point? Let me know if you want me to moderate the debate with my rules. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.


      • The elected Government gets to keep it a secret but it has to go to the polls sometime next year. The polls for Julia have been improving a little lately because her father died so there’s been some sympathy amongst the swinging voters. I’m not sure if there will be any live debates but if there are, I’ll try to get you in on the action. This Government throws money around like there’s a never-ending stream so no doubt they’ll send a jet to personally pick up up xx


        • Many thanks for sharing. After all, like most Americans, I don’t know much about Aussie politics. But, your comments have perked up my interest, so thanks providing me some perspective.


  4. I would gladly put you in charge. But, like many others, I will not necessarily watch–I do not usually like the reality shows; this one sounds like Politicians of DC. I do like that both sides are lowering the expectations for their guy by predicting that their own man will probably not win the first “debate.” Then if they don’t drool too much, attempt to answer something, they exceed expectations. What a sick game.


    • Patti!!!!!
      How ya doin’? Oh my … gotta love your “Politicians of DC” title for a reality show. Meanwhile, I doubt if I will watch the debates – but definitely not the first one. Yep – it’s all a sick game. Thanks for stopping by and I hope all is well with you!


  5. i’d love to ask mittsie the following:

    Why is your wife (who has never worked outside the home and, therefore, never paid any taxes on money earned from working) entitled to world-class health care while a woman who is working for minimum wage and raising children has to depend on emergency rooms and charity?


    • Val,
      My questions were meant to be all inclusive, so hey … social-issue questions could be worked in. After all, I’m taking suggestions. Can you give me one to ask each candidate?

      Yes … feel free to reblog …. and thanks for asking!


  6. To Both Candidates: We currently have over 2 million citizens incarcerated mostly under the Drug War policies of the 1980’s. These policies have been shown to have failed, what will your administration do to change our incarceration rates, re-introduce non-violent offenders back into the community and back to families?

    To Both Candidates: Industrial Hemp is currently listed as a Controlled Substance and prohibited despite its many uses. Would your administration be willing to consider removing Industrial Hemp from prohibition and allowing farmers to begin growing for Industrial use?

    To Mr. Romney: Your party continues to block re-funding of the Violence Against Women Act, can you explain this decision by the GOP?

    To Mr. Obama: The DNC continues to support / allow the development of the private voucher program for schools rather than enhancing public school competency, can you describe your strategy to work with states if you are re-elected.


    • Val,
      Thanks for submitting the questions – and a special thanks for good questions to both. Hopefully, after repeated time in the cone of silence, they would be conditioned to answer them.


  7. Excellent questions. I’m definitely going to watch. There is still more to learn about the candidates’ positions and this forum is a better opportunity to learn about them than through their commercials.


    • Snoring Dog,
      Definitely more than from their commercials! Then again, in itself, not a great accomplishment. However, get ready to hear much of the canned responses. Nonetheless, one can still learn. Thanks for commenting.


  8. Well, as you are taking questions: To both: If 9/11 happened 3 times a year, every year wouldn’t American Authorities have to do somehting drastic to stop the carnage? Yet 12,000 Americans a year, every year are killed by gun crimes and accidents: Isn’t it time to to do something about this. Dosen’t this human dissaster outweigh the 2nd Amendment?


    • Debra,
      Hooray … another vote for me as moderator and my rules! I heard a great analogy today. Think of it as a judge of a figure skating routine. You know everything that is coming, but you are waiting for the mistake. Thanks for stopping by.


  9. Brilliant post …. you got everything in. Read that Obama is in the lead – good because out them two I have to vote on him – because Bill isn’t in the race.
    Don’t trust Romney at all …. a man that rich and don’t pay any taxes are going to be most powerful man in the world – give me a break. If America can’t see now what that will mean for the countries future … go to Spacsavers. God Bless America.


  10. If I could vote on a “man on the street” debate moderator Frank, you’re my man! Excellent use of the Cone of Silence and a very intelligent list of questions. I’m anticipating the usual — avoiding a direct answer to any question and reworking the question to spout about what they want to spout off about — with a few scripted soundbites tossed in.


    • Lame,
      Woo hoo … another supporter! 🙂 Meanwhile, reality is they will spout off their prepared statements … or do like Palin said (paraphrased): I don’t want to answer that one, but I want to say …. She should have been cut off the air! Oh well …. Thanks for commenting.


  11. LOL “Cone of Silence” is a great idea, although you might also consider a trap door in the floor from whence there would be no return (to the debate I mean – or do I, hmmm ???).

    As for asking the questions again and again – it didn’t work out for the BBC’s Jeremy Paxton a few years ago when he interviewed British government Minister Michael Howard.


    • Paxman once said in anewspaper intervbiew that when interviewing Politicians jhe finds himself looking at them as they talk and wondering “why is this bastard lying to me?”

      He still hosts the BBC flagship Newsnight programme and he now has nice way of showing his disrespect by leaning back in his chair, follding his arms and looking up at the ceiling.


    • Fasab,
      Now there’s good evidence for my rules. I did consider the trap door … or the cane from across the stage. Still may add it, thus an alternative if they don’t change the ways from time in the cone of silence. Thanks for the video and comments.


  12. I would pay serious money to hear Biden’s opinions of his Onion coverage.

    I’m hoping the moderator will pin down the candidates and actually get them to answer something.


  13. Great post! I especially liked the questions for the candidates.

    Thanks for including the column by John Donvan of the Wash. Post in which Donvan talks about turning the presidential debates into a format resembling the Oxford Union-style debate as showed in a broadcast and live-streamed series called “Intelligence Squared U.S.” I watched that debate on Intelligence Squared U.S. and certainly hope future presidential debates incorporate some of its ideas.

    Also, am I correct that the “cone of silence” would be lowered by the moderator (you) without the candidate’s knowledge, leaving the live studio and TV audience to watch the candidate silently babbling away while you provide commentary on what you hear (through your earpiece) the candidate saying?


    • Tim,
      Thanks for confirming Intelligence Squared, which is something I will promote on a Friday.

      Although I haven’t finalized the design, but yes, I will activate the cone’s engagement. However, while the candidate may continue to babble, I will not listen and provide commentary … let them babble, …. and I continue on with the next question to the other candidate. Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for sharing the info and your thoughts.


  14. Ohhh, if only you could be the moderator, Frank. It would either force them to answer questions, or it would be hilariously entertaining. Win-win either way.

    I’m not confident that Ryan would be able to handle that math question, but it sure would be entertaining to listen to Biden talk about the Onion coverage.


    • Weebs,
      Awesome – another supporter of my format! Glad you enjoyed the Biden question as I purposely put that one at the end with the hope of some chuckles. BTW – the links on that are legit. As for Ryan, let’s just say that we may not have heard the end of that question. 😉 Thanks for commenting.


  15. Excellent questions Frank. Did you notice Jim Leher’s rules of the debate to the audience? I thought it was a great statement to the times we live in that it speaks to the general disrespect for the representative offices of the country.

    Anyways, I won’t go on any longer, the debate is about to start.


    • Mashed,
      Thanks … I didn’t hear Leher’s statement, but it sounds like a good one. Surprisingly, I won’t be watching … well, the rules for my format say why. Thanks for visiting.


  16. Now that was a train wreck to watch Obama last night on debate. Regardless if democrat or Rebublican watching him no agrument Obama so ill-prepared and non Presidential was sad actually. When you have Bill Maher on his butt you know NOT good performance. YIKES


    • Kellie,
      First of all, I didn’t watch. Nonetheless, to your point, if a partisan (as Bill Maher) is on your case, that could be a sign of a problem. However, my contrarian side also says that blind acceptance an cheer from the faithful is the coin’s other side. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


  17. Dang, Frank. I want YOU as moderator. I have a feeling, though, the cone of silence will be used too often.

    As far as the bipartisan question for Obama, Rahm is the Liberal attack dog, so you have a great point there. To his credit, he has appointed Republicans to his staff.


    • Spinny,
      The whole intent of the rules is to stop the insignificant ramble and get better answers. One would hope that after repeated trips to the COS, at least one candidate would change their tune. Glad you liked the Rahm question, but, appointing Republicans to positions has nothing to do with the question. 😉 …. just want to show how the rules would work. 😉 Meanwhile … thanks for your support for my format! … and for commenting.

      BTW – I may have another one in on this topic.


  18. You would make a fantastic moderator, Frank. We might not hear much from the candidates (the cone of silence would likely get a good workout), but I bet whatever we would hear would have some substance for a change.


    • Robin,
      Correct … once in the cone, I go on to the next question with the other candidate. However, if they are in a cone, I release them, but they may return. 😉 Thanks for your support. 🙂


  19. Why were you not the moderator instead of Leher? I want a do-over for the debates and I nominate Frank A. as the debate moderator! Perfect guidelines, rules, and questions.


    • E-Tom,
      Well … Me as a moderator and my rules come as a packaged deal. 😉 But let’s face it, the problems the rules address are common with politicians in most Q&A settings. Glad you enjoyed this and thanks for commenting.


  20. Pingback: Flashbacks: On Politics | A Frank Angle

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