Prospective Employees Set The Rules For Their Interviews

I have previously written about the reprehensible practice of allowing the candidates to write the rules for the three presidential debates.  If a little manipulation of the process is good, more must be better.  Accordingly, representatives of the Republican presidential candidates are meeting tonight to formulate rules for primary debates.  There are two issues here.  The first is whether the rules should be changed.  The second is who should be changing them.  

The answer to the first is simple.  Of course the rules should be changed.  Anyone who has read my blogs or heard my radio show knows that I strongly support a different format for debates.  Under their current choreography, they are an unmitigated disgrace.  The debates should be governed exclusively by one abiding principle: The Public Comes First.  Towards that end, moderators should ask questions that matter and require direct answers.  The candidates should be forbidden from even referencing any other candidate, party or ideology.  Candidates should be made to directly explain their positions to the public in a manner that provides the public with a clear understanding of how their lives will actually be impacted by the policies and laws the candidate intends to implement.  

Ben Carson wants more time for opening and closing statements.  Donald Trump wants the debates to be shorter.  A senior advisor to Mike Huckabee’s campaign stated, “The campaigns are going to agree on the rules prior to agreeing to do the debate at all.”  What do these suggestions have in common?  They all favor those who wish to govern over those who will be governed.

The meeting to change the rules is in response to the CNBC debate last week in Boulder, Colorado.  The questions were ludicrous, although as a whole they did not constitute a downward deviation in quality or objectivity from the questions asked at previous debates.  Consider these comments/questions from the moderators at the Republican debate on August 6th in Cleveland:

From Megyn Kelly: “Gentlemen, our first round of questions is on the subject of electability in the general election”.  Is that a legitimate debate question?  Why is it of interest to a network that a party puts forth the candidate that is most likely to win?  Megyn Kelly went on to repeat a question from a Facebook contributor – “I want to know if any of them have received a word from God on what they should do and take care of first” – and asked all of the candidates, “Any word from God?”  

From Bret Baier to Rand Paul: “Why are you so quick to blame your own party?” Again, why should a candidate have to be accountable to a network over the issue of whether the candidate’s actions threaten the Republican party?  

Ben Carson is also requesting that questions in future debates be posed by conservative moderators.  In other words, he wants to replace deplorable bias with…deplorable bias.  Again, who does this change favor?  The candidates.
As far as who should be in charge of process for setting the debate rules is concerned, it should be the province of the public from whom the candidates are seeking a job.  It does not belong in the hands of those who benefit from gaming the process.  

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Rob Kilmer, the President of You Defend It, Inc. is a lawyer with a litigation practice in upstate New York.  He hosted the “You Defend It with Rob Kilmer” radio show until 2009 and since then has produced You Defend It debates..  He worked as a guest commentator for CBS4 in Miami during the 2012 Presidential debates, and Pulitzer Leonard Pitts Jr. wrote a piece on him called: “A Solution for Loud, Empty Talk”.

Mr. Kilmer’s initiative focuses on current, divisive issues, and provides members of the public with an opportunity to witness a dignified debate, the purpose of which is to identify how people’s lives will actually be affected by the outcome of the issue being debate.  Towards that end, You Defend It debates are governed by two, simple rules: 1) each debater must directly answer the question asked; and 2) each must do so without a single reference to his or her opponent’s argument, party or (presumed) political philosophy.  In other words, each debater is expected to show up at the debate with his or her own solution – and defend it.


You Defend It


“If you say it, prove it – because we live with the consequences.”

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