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Online Presidential Debates This Fall Could Be As Revolutionary As In 1960

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Presidential debates in America harken back to Lincoln-Douglas in the 1858 election. Not many Americans saw them, but they were an important step for Lincoln. A hundred years later, the Presidential debates influenced and may have even determined the result of the 1960 election. People who heard the debates on radio thought Richard Nixon did better; people who saw the debates on television thought JFK won; many more people were watching television.

The online Presidential debates to be hosted by Charlie Rose this Fall will be another breakthrough. For the first time in Presidential debates, people at large – rather than a few handpicked journalists – will be able to ask the candidates questions. With the advent of blogging, people in general have been getting increasing access to all levels of media. It’s time and it’s good that we’re finally getting more access to the election process. After all, we the people at large are the ultimate bosses of elections, or at least should be.

Of course, media are only as effective as the people who use them. What guarantee do we have that the real-time questions or the videos sent in will ask the questions that you and I would like the candidates to answer?

There is none. There are no guarantees. That’s always the case when a bottom-up participatory democratic system replaces a top-down expert-driven process. But certainly this process will be more representative of the people than questions asked by journalists who, however professional, are elected by no one.

So kudos to Yahoo, The Huffington Post, and Slatefor making this happen. There will be two online debates – one for Democrats and one for Republicans. They will take place after Labor Day. Chances are high that something exciting and historic will happen.

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About Paul Levinson

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    It certainly will be interesting to hear the questions coming from the public.

    I’m certain that many (if not most) will be tough, incisive and pertinent, but I’m not sure from your article who will winnow through the the questions submitted and pick those actually used?

  • Zedd

    Paul L.

    Lets hope that the public will be riveted to that extent. Like Clavos, I am also looking forward to the reaction.

    If only we had better candidates.

  • Zedd

    Paul L.

    I think we have a better choice however I think that their pandering is so obvious that it takes away from whatever it is that they may really believe in.

    Last time around we had Clark, Dean, and Edwards. That was a choice. I know we ended up with Kerry but that was a reflection of our wimpy state of mind then. McCain has even watered down. Its rather discouraging.

    However, I would be proud if either Obama or Clinton became president mainly for the milestone more so than the candidate.

    What I fear may happen is that Giuliani will end up there and we will continue as we have with the arrogant madness of the past few years.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    However, I would be proud if either Obama or Clinton became president mainly for the milestone more so than the candidate.

    Now, THERE’S a great reason for electing a candidate!

  • Zedd

    Clavos

    Now, THERE’S a great reason for electing a candidate!

    Absolutely!! I’m glad you concur….. Being that I fall into both of the categories of those candidates and so do my children, the potential that these presidencies would enable would be amazing! What better reason is there than the world would be a better and more accepting place for my children and their children? There potential and horizon would expand exponentially. They too can lead the world!

    Ah the joys of being a White male. Those things don’t even dawn on you do they? Must be nice.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Odd, I teach my kids to be PEOPLE first and members of a race or gender a distant second. I teach them that as girls they are equal to boys, not second class citizens waiting for someone to open the door to opportunity for them. I also think they should be able to pick role models based on the quality of those persons actions and accomplishments, not their skin color or gender. Dang, maybe I haven’t programmed them with enough victimhood.

    Dave

  • Zedd

    Dave

    Did you actually have to TEACH your daughter that she was a girl? SHE JUST IS.

    We all teach our children that they are capable. You can drop the speech. Society has said different though for 221yrs. The proof is who they entrust power to.

    This is not a point to argue.

    What does “America is not READY for a XXXX (insert everyone but White male) president mean? We’ve heard that a lot.

    I know its tough to imagine the world being any different for you Dave but try just a little.
    You should have kept that to yourself. You just sound that much more sheltered, naive and spoiled.

    Drop the victim thing too. I’ve told you before, that is a bully tactic to get people not to state the things that make YOU uncomfortable. I just stated a FACT, which obviously bothers you. Which is odd.

    If a White person had NEVER held the office of President, you would want one to. No biggy. Saying you wouldn’t care will only reveal your disingenuous nature so don’t bother. Heck White guys get happy when there is a good White rapper or basketball player…. help us all! Let alone the leader of the free world?? Giveth me a break!!!

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Did you actually have to TEACH your daughter that she was a girl? SHE JUST IS.

    No, I didn’t say that. I said that I taught her that girls are the equal of boys in evry way.

    This is not a point to argue.

    Indeed, your words are always immutable truth. No one may argue.

    What does “America is not READY for a XXXX (insert everyone but White male) president mean? We’ve heard that a lot.

    Fuck if I know. I’ve never heard anyone with half a brain say it.

    I know its tough to imagine the world being any different for you Dave but try just a little.
    You should have kept that to yourself. You just sound that much more sheltered, naive and spoiled.

    As usual I have no idea what you’re talking about. Nothing I posted fits your description once it gets through your bizarro wild filtering system.

    I just stated a FACT, which obviously bothers you. Which is odd.

    What you consider ‘facts’ most rational people would call opinions.

    Dave

  • Zedd

    Dave

    Admittedly I am waddling in minutia HOWEVER:

    beautiful Zedd sed: Did you actually have to TEACH your daughter that she was a girl?

    Dave sed: No, I didn’t say that.

    Rewind to: #9 — April 29, 2007 @ 01:11AM — Dave Nalle

    I teach my kids to be PEOPLE first and members of a race or gender a distant second.

    Ouch! Sizzle! and a plethora of Snickers!

  • Zedd

    Paul L

    He wasn’t trying to be unfair. He actually missed it. It is indeed a fact that I would find joy if a woman or a Black person became president.

    He was just being a 7th grader. I don’t know if you have kids but at that age they argue the most minute and irrelevant points. You actually feel embarrassed for them.

    Its late.