The debate dodger

By David Talbot

By Salon Staff
September 8, 2000 11:30PM (UTC)
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With roughly two months to go to the election, this debate debacle should make one thing perfectly clear: If George W. Bush cannot prove to the American people that he has the wherewithal to articulate his vision, his policies and his skills in domestic debates, how can we be expected to trust this man to articulate our national concerns in the international community, where the stakes are far higher?


Simply put: Represent yourself to us, Dubya, if you expect to represent us.

-- Andrew Albanese

I was pleased to read your article on Bush's debate dodging. I am especially pleased by your call for inclusion of the "minor" candidates. Bringing all voices into the fray will help people decide how our politicians should do their job. We should not have to choose between A and B when neither option is sufficient.


I was disappointed, however, that you failed to mention the Libertarian candidate, Harry Browne. The Libertarian Party is the largest third party in the country and actually has members elected to public office. Perhaps what you should be calling for is the inclusion of all candidates who appear on the ballot.

-- Matthew Frank

Keep up the pressure. It is outrageous that candidate Bush would be so arrogant as to try to stiff the American people by not agreeing to all three CPD-sponsored debates. This is a bipartisan commission that favors neither candidate and is intended to reach the broadest number of voters. This should be the minimum number of debates and I agree wholeheartedly with your view that there should be more not fewer. I believe this is an important moment in our nation's history and we should demand that the issues each candidate supports be challenged and explained fully. The American people deserve no less.


-- Carl D. Haller

Does Talbot really wish us to believe that the commission's debate format is a completely off-the-cuff meeting of the minds? If he truly believes this, then one must question his political prognosticating skills. In the past few elections, those debates have been nothing more than a series of carefully constructed sound bites. Neither candidate actually listens to the other -- they only go over whatever script they have practiced with their handlers.


While I agree with Gore's statement that the American people deserve better, I think that in this case, better means a different format than has been used since Kennedy vs. Nixon.

-- Peter Cook

I can't believe the press is falling for this "expectations game" again. The Republicans are using any tactic they can to set the expectations for Bush's debate performance as low as they can. Basically, they want any debate in which Bush doesn't drool and fall over to be declared a victory -- "He performed better than expected" is the text they want to see.


-- Kathy Wienhold

Salon Staff

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