Nevada Democratic Debate: CNN Goofed!

The Nevada Democratic debate was very poorly handled by CNN. The cheering and booing by the crowd at various stages of the debate was very annoying and adversely affected the debates. To start with, these debates are more for sound bites than for giving you any insights on the candidates themselves. The crowd intervention just made it worse.

Hillary Clinton appeared a lot more defensive and a lot less confident than she did in the previous debates. John Edwards completely “blew it” when he responded to the “gender card” question. Obama hurt himself a bit when he appeared to waffle on the issue of drivers licenses. Joe Biden bolstered his case by being crisp and to the point (unlike his regular long winded style). Bill Richardson didn’t help his case by saying that “human rights has greater priority over national security”. 

These debates are fast becoming boring and repetitive. A series of one on one “Charlie Rose type” interviews is certainly better at giving voters insights on the candidates. The good news about these debates is that they force politicians to give direct short answers while they are usually accustomed to long-winded often evasive responses. The bad news though is that in its current form these debates are nothing more than “made for TV” dramas with little depth and substance.

It is not enough to simply know what a candidates’ stand on a certain issue might be. It is equally important to know why and how they arrived at that position on the issue. How a candidate thinks is equally if not more important than his or her stand on specific issues. Unfortunately, these debates give you only the positions and the follow-on spin associated with it and not the real rationale and thinking behind the stand. The driver’s license for illegal immigrants being a case in point. Reducing the challenges facing the country to simple yes or no answers is wrong, bad and is most often misleading. Besides, a debate is really a battle of ideas, not a bunch of one-liners slapped together that sound good and make good press!

Author: Pran Kurup

Pran Kurup is founder and CEO of Vitalect, Inc.

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