Despite rejection, Mich. debate commission could be a good thing - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Tim Skubick: Despite rejection, debate commission could be a good thing

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By Tim Skubick
FOX 2 Political Consultant

LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) -- Good thing there was no blogosphere back when Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Douglas staged their epic debates.  There would have been none.

A proposal for a Michigan Debate Commission was ill-fated attempt as the blogosphere almost unanimously rejected, even laughed at, the notion of a state commission to organize a series of debates for the next governor's race.

Looks like everybody is content with getting their information from the candidates based on their TV campaign commercials.  Egads!

Debates are rigged, offered one poor soul.

Proof?  Don't bother there is none.

Only 5% of the public watches.  Even if that was the case, which it is not, that would be at least one forum where the viewer could see the candidates under fire.

Fact of the matter is millions watched the three presidential debates, even those who had already decided.

And in the first debate for governor in 2006, the one-hour exchange between incumbent Jennifer Granholm and GOP challenger Dick DeVos actually changed the direction of the outcome according to the Granholm team.

Answers are scripted, noted another blogger. True, how true.  But that's where the moderator has to do his or her job, to craft so-called first impression questions that have not been rehearsed over and over.

It can be done.

Ask barrister Geoff Fieger who appeared with two other Democrats running for governor.

Mr. Fieger, do you support MEGA?

The usually verboise trial lawyer instantly became the deer in the head lights.  He had no idea what a MEGA was.  

And while he complained bitterly afterwards that "you set me up with that question," his answer turned out to actually help him cement his image as an outsider.

"I don't know what it is," he confessed on statewide Public TV.

His opponents, more savvy in the lingo of state government both knew what the Michigan Economic Growth Authority was. And they both lost.

Another misguided person suggested giving candidates three minutes to answer a question and than "shut-off their mic" and move to the next one.

Please.  Anything but that.

If you want canned answers that  is a sure-fire way to get there.  Any legit format should include the ability of the moderator to do follow up questions so when the fog machine is turned on by the candidate, the moderator can shut it off.

The debate on debates in this space was good and for the person who wrote debates would not "benefit the country" too bad Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Douglas are not here to enlighten you.

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