Debates are part of our Presidential campaign process. The candidate’s handlers negotiate the terms of the debates. They control the number, location, and timing of the brief encounters.
Each team attempts to control details such as the height of the podiums, the intensity of the studio lighting, the air temperature, and the background color. The moderators have to be moderate enough for both camps. No brutal questions allowed.
Like the World Cup and the Olympics, our Presidential Kabuki Dance repeats itself every four years.
After the election, the winner answers questions exclusively in the controlled and managed environment of press conferences. The President calls on the questioners, and occasionally allows follow-up questions at his pleasure. He decides when the question is ‘answered.’
Presidential interviews are granted, not required.
America’s interests would be better served if we overhauled the procedure.
The British have a system called Prime Minster’s Question Time, where members of Parliament have the opportunity to question the Prime Minister on any subject.
The 30-minute sessions occur each week the Parliament is in session. They questions tend to focus on the key issues of the day. The Prime Minister can’t orchestrate the session by selecting the questioner or avoiding follow-up questions.
We must develop a process where, the most powerful man in the most powerful nation has to regularly deal with the hard questions from the Representatives of the American people.