September 14, 2007

Should we narrow the field?

Can meaningful political debate really be conducted between eight people?

The formal debates with the eight democratic presidential hopefuls have been progressing. This year has seen ten so far, the last being in Florida on September 9. But with eight men and women all vying for the spotlight, it has been hard to distinguish each person’s take on every issue.

In July, John Edwards approached Hilary Clinton onstage at one of these debates and proposed that they should arrange something with a “more serious and smaller group.” The way he framed the proposal was to encourage more serious discussion.

Lesser-known candidates like Dennis Kucinich and Chris Dodd have taken issue with his plans to exclude them from future debate. Kucinich went so far as to send letters to both Edwards and Clinton, challenging them to one-on-one debates. Neither responded in the affirmative.

So is it a good idea to debate with a smaller group? Probably. But not at the cost of excluding other contenders. The people have to know all of their options to make the most informed decision.

1 comment:

Zakahi said...

That's a bit of an interesting paradox, but I must disagree with your logic. Most of my classes have had more than eight people, and many of them have included meaningful discussions on complicated topics. I also suspect their would be little change in the level of debate, as the general rule of not saying anything that could ever be used against you would still stand (which generally amounts to not saying anything at all).