This was the worst-moderated debate in the history of presidential debates,” one McCain campaign insider told me just moments after John McCain and Barack Obama left the stage at Belmont University in Nashville. “The audience and the American people should feel robbed — that the one opportunity they had to ask questions of the presidential candidates was taken from them by Tom Brokaw.”
Tom Brokaw, long known to be a vicious privateer on the seas of journalism, last night sailed into the Belmont Straight and pilfered America’s one and only chance to find out what our candidates are really like. Bystanders claim Brokaw was wearing an eye patch, sported a fashionable new hook for a hand and shouted “Avast!” no less than seven times.
People do know that the format of these debates are carefully negotiated over for months before they happen, right? These are not freewheeling improv sessions. Representatives of the campaigns do their absolute best to pare away any possible advantage from the other team, leading to debates like the one we had last night. Talk as little as possible about as little as possible, try not to look at each other, try not to get too close to the audience, and for the love of God don’t let anyone follow up.
Even the presence of the dastardly Cap’n Brokaw was the result of inter-party negotiations, just like what we get in Congress. It’s the very spirit of bipartisanship, leaving us with legislation that pleases no one, helps few but will probably not get anyone voted out of office. Do you know what “stole” our chance to ask talk to our Presidential candidates? The existence of a national media that promotes ad-length clips over discussion combined with the natural desire of any politician to answer any question but the one that was asked.
Tom Brokaw is as much a debate thief as your little nephew Johnny is a pirate for downloading the new Linkin Park album. Drink up, me hardies, yo ho!