Tonawanda News

Columns

September 28, 2012

Debate? You can't handle debate

Tonawanda News — By this time next week it may all be over. Whatever it is, it may be over. 

The NFL referees’ lockout, the Major League Baseball pennant races, the fate of several network television shows, the hockey lockout, the choices for elections. This time next week we’ll see the fallout from the first so-called debate. (Ask anyone who did debate in high school or college. Resolution. Affirmative, negative. Cross-examination, rebuttal. That’s debate, the way the NFL differs from kids playing football in the street. These television presentations involving political candidates are more like press conferences or interviews: shout the question, get a response of sorts.)

I tend not to get misty-eyed when I think of my high school days, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, except for a few hot teachers and my ability to dismantle opponents in debate (my various nemeses learned quickly I could convince anyone I’m right about anything. Their solution: stop listening to me), but I look forward to Mr. President and Mr. Governor sorta squaring off to bat things around. Regrettably neither candidate goes into these things with the attitude of finishing the other off. The rules are intentionally skewed so it doesn’t happen.

Mr. Obama, what do you think? Mr. Romney, same question. Expect the vague “make this country great again” answers.

Interrogators lob in softball questions, with little time for follow-up exposition. What you’ll learn, if anything, is which candidate handles televised pressure the best (and remember, one’s been commander-in-chief for four years). Little else.

Candidates do not even enter a debate unless they and their handlers can control it. There will be no hard-left or hard-right questioners on the panel of experts, for example. You think Mike Wallace was an inquisitor? Imagine an Obama-Romney debate with Rachel Maddow and William Kristol as panelists, then get set to watch candidates at their stumbling, panicking worst. 

Text Only
Columns
  • WALLACE: Be part of the solution I recently attended the Town of Tonawanda's Comprehensive Plan update meeting on Tuesday at the Brounshidle VFW Post in Kenmore. I went as a newspaper reporter but also as a resident of the Village of Kenmore and Town of Tonawanda.

    April 24, 2014

  • CONFER:

    April 23, 2014

  • DuVall, Eric mug.jpg DUVALL: In defense of the Common Core

    They've become the two dirtiest words in education, but the Common Core is very much worth defending.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • tucker, barb.jpg TUCKER: Bits and pieces from out and about Ever since it was restored and opened, the Hotel @ Lafayette in downtown Buffalo has fascinated me. Last Monday, the Preservation Buffalo Niagara offered a tour of the hotel led by developer Rocco Termini.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug - adamczyk.jpg ADAMCZYK: Kenmore is a village made of bricks Buffalo and surrounding environs have brick buildings galore, often in the process of repurpose. Whole neighborhoods made of brick await development, redevelopment, gentrification, whatever wand will be waved at them to make them function again. Structures here tend not to be razed; they fall down occasionally but typically simply stand and wait.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • leffler, scott.jpg LEFFLER: Justice is blind -- and deaf and dumb I've always been intrigued by the concept of justice. I say concept because it really seems more theoretical to me than practical. One man's justice is another man's nightmare.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: Don't go soft on teenage criminals

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • DuVall, Eric mug.jpg For Sabres, more suffering is on tap

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • tucker, barb.jpg TUCKER: Taking down trees 'disheartening' Several readers have questioned the City of Tonawanda's tree removal program. An email to Jenna Koch, who represents the third ward and checks into any query on the city, explained the program.


    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug - adamczyk.jpg [Duplicate] ADAMCZYK: Letterman was on my side The announcement that Mr. Letterman is retiring from his groundbreaking television program, sometime in 2015, is already old news, but it gives opportunity to ponder a few truisms about history and modern life.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Facebook
Front page
NDN Video