Ben Carson, along with other GOP presidential candidates, wants a change in their debate formats. It’s no secret that candidates are upset with moderators having the audacity to ask them questions, and they plan to air their concerns, and maybe come up with their own plan, in a meeting Sunday night. Carson’s campaign wants some serious changes – specifically, he wants to take the debate portion out of debates.
The Wall Street Journal reported on this, saying that Carson’s campaign manager, Barry Bennett, wants each candidate to have a five-minute opening statement and a five-minute closing statement, at minimum. That sounds annoyingly long as it is. Once you do a little simple math and discover that’s a minimum of 100 minutes of statements, and 140 minutes if they get all 14 of them on stage at once, you realize it’s even worse.
CNBC seems to have taken the hardest hit for supposedly unfair questions, but that wasn’t the only debate that candidates were unhappy with. Also, prior to that debate, the candidates threw a fit over CNBC’s rules that there were to be no opening and closing statements, and that it would run as long as it ran. Carson and Donald Trump both threatened to boycott the debate if the rules weren’t changed.
Previous GOP debates were three hours. The CNBC debate was only two. Two hours is 120 minutes, and if the candidates each get five minutes at the beginning and five minutes at the end, and there are only ten candidates on stage, that only leaves 20 minutes for actual debate when you don’t count things like queuing up the next candidate, or commercial breaks. With all 14, there’s no time at all.
As WSJ said:
A wholesale shift of time away from moderators’ questions to opening and closing statements would also reduce the risk of candidates being asked difficult or uncomfortable questions in front of a national audience.
Getting asked difficult questions in front of a national audience is so terrible, wouldn’t you agree? It seems they feel that way though, and they also feel that they’re not all getting treated the same. Carson’s spokesman, Doug Watts, also said:
We think that the opening and closing statement issue is a good way to get around the inequities, real or perceived, by every candidate.
Yawn. We’ve already heard just how much of a snoozefest the Democratic debate was, because there was no fighting, disrespect, or anything of that nature. Having to listen to more than an hour of statements on both sides of what little debate there is will ensure that nobody tunes in to watch, either online or on television.
The “snoozefest” that is sure to be the next Democratic debate will seem positively out of control compared to that.
The Huffington Post says that Carson tempered that demand on ABC’s “This Week,” saying that at least a minute for an opening statement and at least a minute for a closing statement should be good. HuffPo pointed out, however, that even just one minute each, plus queuing and commercials, still amounts to nearly an hour of the debate spent on non-debate.
That’s the whole point, though. These candidates think questions are unfair because they’re tough, and because they’re not prepared for substantive questions, whatever they may say. We wait with bated breath to see what comes out of this meeting.