September 26, 2004
Jim Lehrer--that's it?
Here is the misnomer of all times: "The Commission on Presidential Debates" (emphasis added) has issued a 32-page contract hammered out between the likes of Karl Rove and the Kerry campaign. The candidates cannot talk to one another or ask questions; the audience must sit as quietly as Colin Powell at a cabinet meeting; the viewers on TV are not permitted to drink alcholic beverages two hours in advance of the "debate."
Of course it will not be a debate at all. The "debate" will feature Jim Lehrer asking questions and the candidates responding to his soft balls. With another black-tie dinner where Washington insiders applaud one another in the offing, Lehrer knows that he must ask only safe questions if he wants a place on the dias. Like a hall monitor in the local junior high school, he must furrow his brow if John Kerry answers a question with a rising inflection.
No props, notes, or charts may be taken to the podium. Even the size and height of the podium has been dictated in advance. The coin toss? It will be 72 hours in advance. It is hard to believe these rules are established for people seeking our highest office. Afraid of surprises? C'mon. What was 9/11?
So, the only hope for anything of value would require some Tobasco sauce on Jim Lehrer's dinner on Thursday. Go out and buy a bottle and send it to Jim Lehrer at PBS. Who knows? He might ask one tough one. It gets worse--Charlie Gibson is next.
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