Monday, September 22, 2008

My Debate, My Rules

Evidently, the first of the presidential debates is coming up. I’ve been wrapped up in schoolwork and haven’t been able to pay much attention to the rhetoric as I would like, although perhaps I should count my blessings for that. I honestly don’t recall the last debate I watched or listened to, probably 1988 or so. I just find the entire made for TV debate thing worthless. They aren’t real debates – no candidate in their right mind would do that in today’s world. We couldn’t stand to hear what we really need to be told.

But this whole thing got me thinking, IF I could run the debates, what would I ask? What kind of format would I use? With that in mind, here’s the outline of Jeff’s First (and probably last) Presidential Debate – moderated by me, questions by me.

Ground Rules
Since this is really a forum, not a debate, here are some ground rules.
Three minutes per response. Period. Microphone goes dead at the three-minute mark.
(If you can’t summarize your thoughts in three minutes you’re not cut out for this job.)
This, like all elections, is about the future. Candidates are not allowed to discuss their past achievements, nor are they allowed to speak about the opponent or the opponent’s position. Because there is no need, no time will be given for rebuttal. Each candidate will be asked 12 questions, 11 of which are generic. Each candidate will also be asked a question that is specific to their candidacy. Questions 4,5,7,8,9,10,11, and Senator McCain's all require a yes or no answer. Once that is provided they can proceed with the rest of the question if so required.

Question 1. What are your specific plans to make a college education affordable for all Americans?
Question 2. Based on what you’ve seen in the housing market and most recently on Wall Street, what specific steps will you take to restore confidence in a free market?
Question 3. What are your specific plans to end the following crises in Africa:
Genocide in Sudan/Darfur; AIDS, Disease, and Poverty?
(I'll give them 5 minutes for this one.)
Question 4. Are you willing to make the U.S. a global leader in combating climate change? If so, what specific steps will you take? If not, please explain.
Question 5. Are you willing to end our nations addiction to oil, both foreign and domestic? If so, what specific steps will you take? If not, please explain.
Question 6. Please discuss your view of Just War.
Question 7. Are you willing to make sound science the foundation of your energy and environmental policies? If so what specific steps will you take, if not why not?
Question 8. Will you fully fund the Federal Government’s obligation of costs associated with special education for local schools?
Question 9. Will you be willing to offer a full and unconditional apology to the Native American people of this country for the genocidal actions taken by this government since its inception?
Question 10. Are you willing to make universal health care for all Americans an reality by the end of your first term? Are you willing to do that with a model that doesn’t use an outdated, free-market economy model as its base?
Question 11. Are you willing to implement meaningful immigration reform that maintains the dignity of the worker and the human being? If so, how?

Question Extra for Senator Obama
Given your pro-choice stance, what specific steps will you take to ensure that abortion is a rare occurrence in this country?

Question Extra for Senator McCain
Given that you are a Medal of Honor recipient, would you be willing to posthumously rescind the more than 20 Medals of Honor awarded to members of the 7th Cavalry for the massacre of over 125 Lakota men, women, and children at Wounded Knee, South Dakota in 1889?

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