The Non-Debate Debate

democratic debate

Candidates greet each other and NBC News's Chuck Todd after the (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Opinion editorial by WBZ NewsRadio political analyst Jon Keller

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — To me, a political debate is like an ice-cold beverage on a hot day—I’ve never met one I didn’t like.

Until last night’s Democratic debate, round one.

Yes, there were a few revealing interactions, especially a couple of times when New York Mayor Bill deBlasio took former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke to school over the war powers act. 

And Elizabeth Warren managed to scold her Senate colleague Amy Klobuchar on health care reform without even looking at her.

But really, ten candidates?

As we saw four years ago with the Republican cattle call, that may be a formula for an entertaining spinoff of “The Apprentice,” but it’s not conducive to actual debate.

Instead, we got disjointed segments where the show veered from topic to topic, serial bites that created sound but no light, and, predictably, a ton of incoherent cross-talk when the candidates got so frustrated they started ignoring the moderators.

Speaking of which, Chuck Todd is a smart guy who works hard at his craft, but someone has to pull him aside and explain that a debate like this is about the candidates, not him. 

Maybe his otherwise excellent NBC colleagues could take that on.

Perhaps it would chew up too much airtime and generate lower ratings if they broke the 20 qualified candidates into groups of five and did four nights instead of two. 

But it would surely be more edifying, and less embarrassing.

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Keller @ Large

Keller @ Large

Jon Keller is a WBZ TV & Radio political analyst. Read more


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