I feel much the same about presidential debates as I do golf: It’s time that I’ll never, ever get back.
For one thing, they’re no longer debates. You know, with argument and discussion and context and logic and, um…facts. If I wanted to watch Kabuki theatre, I’d watch Kabuki theatre—not a couple of septuagenarians preening and posturing in front of a ridiculously self-serious audience while simultaneously dodging every question raised.
Do it Thunderdome-style, though, and I’m down to clown:
So obviously I’ll be skipping tonight’s performance. That doesn’t mean, however, that we won’t mark the occasion. After all, it was only sixty years ago that the very first televised debate was broadcast to the American people. (That’s the one in which, legend has it, those who listened on the radio proclaimed Vice President Richard Nixon the winner, while those who watched it on TV thought JFK had prevailed.)
More important though, it that it’s also the sixtieth birthday of Nixon’s half-eaten sandwich—one of our greatest, if largely unsung, national treasures:
But I digress. If, like me, you miss the days when candidates practiced the gentle art of persuasion—when it wasn’t so hard to tell the difference between a presidential debate and a WWE Smackdown—maybe tonight you should watch this instead: