With all the debating over which candidates fared best at the debate, the sole incontrovertible winner after last night’s performances in all sports stadiums is indisputably Hank Aaron, who had the class to congratulate Barry Bonds for beating his record, setting aside whether or not Bonds had the advantage of Home Run Helper. The other big winner is the owner of that ball, thought to be worth between $400,000 and $500,000.
At the Chicago arena Obama was seen by some as having appeared defensive and naive, which brings me to the question of the format. Is a debate the most reliable prognosticator of ability? Imagine Barry Bonds having been asked, “If you’d been at bat 9.7774 times with a history of 755 runs and were faced with a fastball from Mike Bacsik that would give you a shot at surpassing the world record, would you swing?”
We may be putting too much emphasis on debates. In his 2000 face-off against Al Gore, what we heard from George W. was, “It’s going to require a different kind of leader to go to Washington to say to both Republicans and Democrats, ‘Let’s come together’.” In 2004 he asserted, “I understand the serious consequences of committing our troops in harm’s way.” Should we not have other formats for assessing the candidates?
I'm proposing the candidates appear on:
Biography: Present and past partners of each candidate, along with other intimates, provide insights. Giuliani's daughter will have to choose between her father and appearing with Obama.
Top Chef: Candidates will prepare their favorite recipes, beginning with Hillary Clinton’s chocolate chip cookies.
Jeopardy: Topics to include which world powers are our friends, who's really an illegal alien, which picket lines count, when is stem cell research justified, whom do we have a right to eavesdrop on and torture, what we knew about the levees and when did we know it, can we arrange health care junkets to Canada, and where does loyalty end and cronyism start.
Inside the Actors Studio: James Lipton will ferret out when the candidate first became aware of his/her acting ability and establish how much money each has gotten from Hollywood.
Just For Laughs: We will see how the candidates respond when presented with unlikely situations, such as spotting a hand waving from a casket while at a funeral for a head of state.
Dancing With the Stars: is the candidate a leader or follower?
The Jerry Springer Show: candidates will brawl so we can get a true sense of which is, in fact, most competent when push comes to shove.
Please submit additional suggestions as there are 530 days left.