Here is an interesting post at Powerline with a “modest proposal” concerning Presidential debates.
I like the format proposed for the general election, but I think I like this one better. It’s inspired by the format used in the APPE Ethics Bowl competitions:
Candidates will take part in a series of 4 to 6 debates each focused narrowly on one particular topic, e.g., economy, foreign policy, entitlements, environment.
Candidates will determine the topics.
There will be two weeks between debates.
I. Each candidate supplies one of two moderators who will preside over all debates (A picks moderator #1, B picks moderator #2).
II. For each debate, moderators formulate two questions each, (call them questions one, two, three and four; Moderator #1 asking questions one and two, Moderator #2 asking three and four).
These questions are formulated without candidate consultation, nor with each other. These questions are to be used in the first portion of the debate.
A third party, sworn to secrecy will examine the questions to make sure there are not repeats. If there are, the offending questions will be thrown out, and replacements required. This process will continue until there are no repeats in this set of four questions.
III. Each moderator/candidate team formulates one question for the opposing candidate. These questions are used in the second portion of the debate.
These two questions are not shared with the opposing team. Moderators and candidates do not share questions with anyone before the event.
IV. Candidates will only be aware of the one question that will be posed to their opponents in the second part of the debate.
V. During the debate, moderators only present questions; do not in any other way participate. Moderators do not intervene, except to indicate time, or prevent interruptions of turn.
VI. If any moderator violates this rule, he/she is disqualified from the balance of debates, and from all future debates.
VII. Each debate follows this format:
1. Moderator #1 presents question one to candidate A
2. 10 minute response from A
3. 5 minute rebuttal/commentary by B, with no more than two questions aimed at A
4. 5 minutes from A in response to B
5. Rinse and repeat, with A and B switching roles. Moderator 1 presents question two.This portion totals 80 minutes.
6. Moderator 2 presents questions three and four following the above format.
7. Each moderator then gets to ask ‘the other guy’ the one question he/she has collaborated on with his/her candidate, (#1 asks B, and #2 asks A).
The format for these two questions is identical to the above.
This second portion of the debate will take 40 minutes. The event is now at 120 minute mark.
8. During the last 20 minutes: Candidates ask each other questions. Freewheeling. Moderators silent, except to indicate time remaining.
This is the third portion.
140 minutes total
Four to six debates. That would be interesting to watch.