Dear Big Daddy,
Should Jerry, Meg and Steve do a threesome in the primary?
–Orville in Orinda
If we’re talking about debates, definitely not.
Debates are confusing and uninformative and boring, not because of the candidates – even a wooden Dan Lungren can be thrilling on stage – but because of the reporters, who keep getting in the way.
I don’t like the questions, which take too long, and I don’t like the posturing, which seems directed more at their editors to impress them than at the public to inform them. Now if you want lots of first-rate talk and posturing, look at a good politician. And keep your hand on your wallet.
Call me old fashioned, but I like the British style, where candidates actually bark at each other and argue for points, rather than the California style, where candidates respond to reporters’ questions, or just roll over and play dead. It’s a dog joke. Get it? Moving on.
Even the parliamentary model is better than anything we have here, where the chief executive takes questions from lawmakers. Imagine our governor standing up, unscripted, taking questions from Assembly members and Senators. Imagine our Assemblymembers being able to formulate an articulate question. Imagine our governor knowing any of the lawmakers names. Imagine there’s no country, it’s easy if you try…
As I was saying, the real problem with debates is the lack of an audience. Nobody pays attention to debates except a smattering of political junkies, the candidates’ relatives and the reporters who get paid to attend. Think of it as an issue of Capitol Weekly, but without typos. Unless a candidate makes supreme gaffe – one can only hope – or a candidate has a nervous breakdown and flees shrieking from the stage, watching the debates is losing an hour of your life you’ll never get back.
Then the people who don’t pay attention inundate web sites and newspapers with uninformed screeds, comments and letters, demonizing the entire process and threatening the very future of Democracy. Remember, these people who mouth off the most vote the least. I know politics is show business for ugly people, but this is ridiculous, this is truly ugly.
The thing about debate challenges is, well, you never see front-runners challenging their opponents to a debate. In Brown’s case, it’s part of a larger strategy that his opponents are empty suits with full wallets who are trying to buy the governor’s office. But it still underscores a major point of this election – Brown is not running like a front-runner.
The answer here, of course is a firm hand, and I’ve offered my skills to run the state in a spirit of public service. Nobody bit, but I’m still here if they want me.
In fact, I’ll be here forever with nothing to do but think about how to make California better. I’ve already come up with one answer.