How are the presidential debates like a Nascar race?

I am looking forward to watching the Presidential debates tonight. But for all the wrong reasons.

I believe I know pretty clearly what each side's positions are and what they points will be. So, like when I watch a car race (which is rarely) secretly I have to admit that I will enjoy the suspense of seeing the big crash : the screwup, mistake or unscripted moment.

Here's an article that pulls out a bunch of revealing details of the arrangement between the two sides and the moderator about what can and cannot be done during the debates. It's pretty revealing and interesting, for example:

  • "The candidates may not ask each other direct questions during any of the four debates."
  • "The candidates shall not address each other with proposed pledges."
  • "At no time during the October 3 First Presidential debate shall either candidate move from his designated area behing the respective podium."
  • For the October 16 town-hall-style debate, "the moderator will not ask follow-up questions or comment on either the questions asked by the audience or the answers of the candidates during the debateā€¦."

Read the whole article which also includes a link to the pdf of the 'contract' that both sides signed. Again, pretty revealing.

By the way, do we blame the media for promoting the "cage fight" view of the debates? No, we should blame ourselves. They are just showing us what they know we will tune in for.

(Also, this just in, commentary in Esquire "The Last Stand for Humanity for an Election in Which Bullshit Is Now the Status Quo: Your Debate Preview")