The Next Best Thing to a Debate?

If you can’t get the gubnernatorial candidates to debate face to face, at least you can line up their faces on the same web page and issue video messages on the same topics. That’s what the Virginia chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars has done. Not Guy Incognito has the goods here.

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  1. criticallythinking Avatar

    Better than a debate. Debates are pretty stupid. The governor’s job doesn’t include debating opponents. Any ideas the guys have are developed if not suggested by their staff, and the debate is just a clever way to present those ideas.

    I want to chose my governor based on what he says he will do, and whether the ideas he chooses to adopt are sensible. I don’t care if one of them can come up with a quick turn of the phrase. I can do that, and it has nothing to do with leadership.

    Now, press conferences would be fun, because it is good to get answers to questions the candidates would rather not deal with. But we can do that without putting them in the same room and setting it up like some contest.

    My perfect campaign would be to send all the candidates home until the 3rd week in october. Then give them each an hour a week on TV to say whatever they want, and a half hour each week in press conferences.

    Four weeks, and we pick one and go on with our lives.

    Come on, how many of you need another 4 months to chose who YOU will vote for? Aren’t we all just watching for some weird occurance to destroy one of the candidates?

    I could say this a lot better.

  2. Waldo Jaquith Avatar
    Waldo Jaquith

    The governor’s job doesn’t include debating opponents.

    Sure it does. One of the governor’s primary jobs is working with members of the GA to convince them to support his agenda. For any of the three candidates, they will have the built-in support of only a minority or the GA — Kaine as a Democrat, Kilgore because the Republicans are split, and Potts because he’s…er…Potts. To get anything substantive done, they’re going to have to be able to sit down with people with whom they disagree and convince them, through the merits of their logic, to agree with them.

    You’re quite right in saying that debates as they’ve been conducted thus far do not actually consist of the sort of solid persuasive rhetorical exchange that is necessary for the governor in his job. This last debate was a dog-and-pony show. But debate is definitely a core skill — perhaps the core skill — for a governor.

  3. criticallythinking Avatar

    I would categorize that not as debate, but as negotiation, a quite different skill. In negotiation, you are trying to convince your opponent to settle for something more to your liking.

    In a debate, you are trying to destroy your opponent in order to convince outside observers that your opinion is better.

    Debate is rarely useful in negotiation.

    That said, it is true that communication skills and the ability to string sentences together are a common ability aiding both debate and negotiation.

    Is there a way to set up a “challenge” which would highlight the ability of the candidates to “negotiate” to their advantage? Or is that something we learn from examining the record?

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