Thursday, January 26

GOP Presidential Debate Game Show

The GOP primary is a week away and Florida is cloaked in politics. It must be a wool cloak because the constant political debate among Floridians has made it feel unseasonably warm.

I've tried hard to be a responsible voter and follow the 2012 election but my patience is wearing thin. We haven't even chosen a GOP candidate yet and I just don't think I can watch another debate. I can't listen to more of the same prepared answers by the candidates.

Mitt Romney: "I have been married for 240 years, I have 17 children and 84 grandchildren. I have more progeny than the Duggar family."

Newt Gingrich: "History? I studied history, I know so much about history I wrote history. I'm an encyclopedia."

To be fair, the questions posed to the candidates allow them the opportunity to repeat their stock answer. Perhaps the problem is not with the answer but with the question? To date, debate questions haven't been particularly surprising and in some instances the questions became the news rather than the candidates' answers.

Something must be done to improve the debates. I appreciate his efforts but I don't know why Gingrich keeps challenging Barack Obama to a Lincoln-style debate. President Lincoln was elected into office in 1860. Lincoln was a thought leader at the time and his debate style was provocative. Surely if Lincoln were here in 2012 he would point out that the candidates need to stop mooching off of his ideas and challenge each other on the issues in a manner appropriate to the current times. Media and politicians can now take advantage of technologies unavailable to Lincoln's campaign team and debate moderator. CNN and NBC must be able to come up with more than a stage, four podiums and a moderator in this day and age.

A lot has happened since Lincoln was in office — drive-thru restaurants, escalators and most importantly the advent of the TV game show. It's the concept of the game show (not the escalators) that could totally revolutionize political debate. I think the candidates should be quizzed in different categories much like the TV show Jeopardy. Candidates could earn points based on the accuracy and originality of their answer. Gingrich would clean up in the history category and Romney would own the sports category.

I have endless category suggestions: "Government, International Relations, Foreign Policy, Geography, Past Presidential Blunders and Bloopers." A sample question from the Government category would be: "What is the Third Amendment?"An International Relations question might be: "Name three countries in the Middle East that begin with the letter 'I' and as a bonus, whether or not there is a U.S. Embassy." A sample question from the Foreign Policy category would be: "What language is spoken in Cuba?" and a Geography question, "Where is Russia in relation to Alaska?"

There is so much potential for stimulating discussion and revealing answers with a presidential quiz show. Perhaps subjective situational questions could be included providing candidates a chance to reveal their own flair and opinion. For example, "If you were stunned like a deer caught in headlights by a question from Katie Couric, what would you do?"

I just want to hear Rick Santorum say, "Alex, I'll take 'Sarah Palin jokes for 1,000'."

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