Rear Window Ethics Rear Window Ethics: Debates

Monday, September 20, 2004


It seems that both the Bush and Kerry camps have finally reached a consensus with the Commission on Presidential Debates. Or should I say, the Bush campaign has finally given in to the format selected by the independent organization and immediately agreed upon by the Kerry campaign.

The hang up? The second debate, which is held in a 'town meeting' style with questions asked of the candidates by actual undecided voters. It seems the Bush strategists thought this format was far too risky for them and their candidate, undoubtedly because of its sharp contrast to the way they have run their stump speeches to this point.

The raucous crowds shown hanging on Mr. Bush's every word at campaign events are carefully screened to make sure they all fully support the President across his entire platform. Anyone who even mildly disagrees with Mr. Bush is barred from attending such events to make sure that all audience inquiries, even on such tricky topics such as the economy, are cream puff questions for the President to answer.

Now the Bush campaign is worried about what they consider a terribly risky event in which the questions come not from fervent Bush supporters, but from undecided voters--the very group that they hope to woo to their side before election day.

I find it quite strange that the campaign for the candidate billed as 'one of the people' and 'a regular guy' was so scared of these truly 'regular' people. Moreover, it was odd that the campaign that touts the President as a strong, fearless leader in the world seems to be so worried about the questions of his own citizens at home.

I don't know what the outcome will be after the first, second or third Presidential debates. I don't know who will be deemed 'the winner' of them. I don't know what impact they'll have on the voting public. I just know I'll be watching them intently (on C-Span, not on Fox News).