9/30/2004

Debate

This post has nothing to do with technology at all... but it must be said.

The American Presidential debate is on TV tonight.
Apparently, it is nothing at all like the Canadian Prime Minister's Debate.

According to what I heard on the radio (Jazz.fm) on my way to work this morning, the Presidential Debate comes with 40 pages of rules. Forty pages!!! What is with people and their love of rules? One of the rules is something like "the Candidates are not allowed to argue with each other."
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Before I ask the obvious question (ie: what kind of stupid debate is that?), I'd like to talk about the Canadian leadership debate. I can't believe I didn't post on it, as I did watch it this year, and was quite stunned. I did, however, write an email to a friend about. The Canadian Debate consisted of four old guys yelling at each other, trying to look manly.
Here's what I thought at the time:

Martin was terrible. He wasn't prepared. He didn't answer a single question. He spent the whole night dodging. Is this supposed to instill confidence in the Canadian people? ...His arguments and attacks were terrible. He would simply dismiss anything said by his opposition... He should have been much calmer, much cooler, more organized and more direct. Worse yet, he'd had the same debate the night before, only in French and produced exactly the same results. He should have reviewed his performance and improved his tactics ... Even his grammar needed help in some areas. Phrases like "significantly increase the significance of..." popping out of his mouth.
Layton also needs much improvement. He was not very articulate, despite having a PhD. He only answered half of his questions directly, only half of his... questions were well phrased and he simply could not resist plugging the NDP. His arguments were punctuated with "Vote for the NDP. We'll fix it for you! We're a viable alternative." This doesn't do anything at all for the party's credibility. We all know why you are here Layton. Everyone else is here for the same reason. So stop flagging yourself and stick to the issues at hand.
Harper was good. I would say that he was able to answer 85-95% of the questions posed to him directly. There were only a few that needed work. He also needs to work on the way he asks questions. When he was looking for answers from Martin on scandals, money and responsibility, he did very well. In other areas, he needed a little bit of work. He couldn't quite articulate his questions pointedly enough.
Duceppe was by far the most articulate. I suspect this has to do with the fact that he knows full well that the Bloc will not win a government of any kind. They have styled themselves as the opposition in order to leverage this position. He was almost never on the defensive and so had plenty of time to attack. His questions were direct and very well worded. In terms of ability, he was by far the best. Too bad he's the leader for the Bloc. Why does Quebec get the best leader?

Thoughts on the evening:
I would like to have heard the leader of the Green party speak. I watched Countdown, hosted by Mike Duffy afterwards, and he was there. I think it would be interesting to hear his views There were some comments on poor moderation. I disagree entirely. Let them have at it! I also disagree with the notion that the arguments on a whole were poor and the evening was just four grumpy old men arguing, and that somehow this is either bad or unexpected.



Very different from what will be on TV tonight.
As the chap on the radio said this morning, here in Canada we are spoiled. How do the American people put up with such a sanitized debate? Bush and Kerry should be able to duke it out. The campaign has been dirty enough anyway, so what are people afraid of? Unfair play? People should voice their opinions, and loudly. This is especially true if they are going to run a country. If you are voting for someone to be in charge, then I would think that you might want to know what they think about certain things.
I mean, I do.
We have all this freedom to say what we like, so why don't people use it? Why fear offending someone? People should speak out!

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