After last night's live debate on The West Wing, my wife turned to me and said, "If all presidential debates were that enlightening, it would be great!"
The debate, ably conducted by Alan Alda and Jimmy Smits playing the nominees of the Republican and Democratic Parties, respectively, had about it both aura of reality and unreality.
It looked like a real debate and there was something of the tension that comes through the TV screen with these quadrennial events.
The difference is that the Smits and Alda characters were blunter and more authentic than the real candidates usually are, exposing their fictional nominees' genuine sentiments about issues. Ironically, the showbiz candidates made no attempt to employ one of those standard presidential debate conventions, the withering one-liner, itself something nicked from showbiz.
The upshot? I think I would feel better about voting for either of the West Wing candidates for president than I've felt about their real-life counterparts in decades.
[By the way, here are links to some earlier posts on real presidential debates:
Note for 2008: Dump or Change Presidential Debates
Okay, So Maybe I Was Wrong About Debates]
NOTE: One reason I may have so liked the West Wing debate is that they adopted a format similar to the one I recommended in the first post cited above.