Last week in another of several posts about the 2012 presidential “debates,” I included an idea from Anthony Noel, that of using TiVo to expand the Commission on Presidential Debates’ two party only production. Democracy NOW!, with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales, is actually using the same general idea. From Democracy NOW!:
As President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney square off in the first presidential debate in Denver on October 3, Democracy Now! will broadcast live from Denver with a special expanded presidential debate from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. ET. We will air the debate, pausing after questions to include equal time responses from two presidential contenders who were shut out of the official debate: Jill Stein of the Green Party and Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party.
I’m curious why Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party, isn’t involved. Whose decision is that?
Another effort to turn the staged “debates” into something more than a Democratic and Republican parties’ show comes from Free and Equal:
Free & Equal Elections Foundation announced their hosting of the 2012 Presidential Debate today. The debate will be held at 8:00pm CST at University Club of Chicago in Chicago on Tuesday, October 23rd. Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode and Green Party candidate Jill Stein have confirmed their participation. Incumbent and Democratic Party candidate Barack Obama and Republican Party candidate Mitt Romney have been invited to participate in this important debate.
Free & Equal hosted a similar debate in 2008. To receive and invitation for the upcoming October 23rd event, the candidate had to meet one of two requirements.
Either they must be on the ballot in enough states to be viably electable, or they must receive 1% or greater in a national poll.
As Obama’s campaign works to minimize expectations for his performance (he’s really busy at work, they say) and the Romney campaign works to deal with the “Romney must do well!” warnings, Independent Political Report writes that the “Third Sponsor Pulls Out of Commission on Presidential Debates.”
The Stein campaign continues its Occupy the CPD efforts. The grassroots efforts of Occupy the Debates also continue, with organizing local events, teaching sessions, etc. If nothing else, Gary Johnson’s law suit has helped make the self-serving Duopoly “debates” more obvious yet.
If you’re working within the System to make changes, then pushing to open up the presidential debates, and turning them into actual debates, is a key focus. Finding ways to hear what non-Duopoly candidates think can certainly be useful. So can outside the System efforts to point out how stuck and stifled that System is. As for the actual usefulness of the debates, check out “The Fallacy of the ‘Critical’ Debate” at The Atlantic, from James Warren.
The media and political consensus is clear: In Wednesday’s first presidential debate, Mitt Romney must channel William Jennings Bryan, Bill Clinton, Abraham Lincoln, and Nelson Mandela – or he’s toast.
The assumption is that the first of three confrontations is critical and partly explains the predictable attempts by President Obama’s election camp to lower expectations. …
The reality is that Romney faces an uphill battle in the election, regardless. And if history is any guide, it may be folly to think the debates will turn matters around irrespective of the media attention and the parsing of every word and pregnant pause in Denver.
One of many reasons why “the debates” are more hype than substance, I’m thinking, is simply the fact that the last one, October 23, is just too far away from Election Day, November 6. We the Electorate are famous for our short attention span, instant gratification needs, and just using the “R” and the “D” as a final decision making tool. Debates are mostly about zingers and gaffes, and about any “exceeds” or “fails to meet” expectations performances. “Issues” are just ways to know when carefully weighed and tested lines should be used.
The usefulness of the Commission on Presidential debates is itself debatable.
Presidential Debate Schedule for activists, occupiers, third party candidates, and independents
Presidential Debates should be for everyone. And, if you pay very close attention, you can find a way to attend a fair debate or to protest an unfair, exclusionary debate.
Here’s at least a partial list of presidential debate related events:
CPD Debate, University of Denver, Denver, CO
Occupy The Debates: March and “Afterrally Party”
Democracy NOW! Debate coverage, including Jill Stein and Rocky Anderson
CPD Debate, Centre College, Danville, KY (vice presidential)
CPD Debate, Hofstra, Hempstead, NY
Occupy The Debate! at Hofstra
CPD Debate, Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL
Free & Equal Third Party Debate, Chicago
(Poster via DemsRepsDestroyingAm)