Lincoln-Douglas they ain’t, but…

…we’ll be having three presidential debates (plus one VP debate) between now and election day.  If you can stomach the canned statements, repetitive platitudes and non-confrontational moderators, set your VCRs (does anyone still use VCRs anymore?) and DVRs as follows:

First presidential debate
Friday, September 26
The University of Mississippi, Oxford, Miss.
Jim Lehrer
Executive Editor and Anchor, The NewsHour, PBS

Vice presidential debate
Thursday, October 2
Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.
Gwen Ifill
Senior Correspondent, The NewsHour, and Moderator and Managing Editor, Washington Week, PBS

Second presidential debate (town meeting)
Tuesday, October 7
Belmont University, Nashville, Tenn.
Tom Brokaw
Special Correspondent, NBC News

Third presidential debate
Wednesday, October 15
Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y.
Bob Schieffer
CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent, and Host, Face the Nation

Each debate will begin at 9:00 p.m. EST.

Sadly, we won’t see anyone but the Republicrats at the debates.  The Commission on Presidential Debates, while ostensibly nonpartisan, has set as a qualification for a candidate that they command at least 15% in the national polls.  So, no Bob Barr (who has polled as high as 6%, if I remember correctly); no Ralph Nader; no Cynthia McKinney (who has the least chance of any of the minor candidates, but she would be an entertaining debator).  Though their chances are slim, how can any deny that these are household names with national recognition?  Shouldn’t that be enough to earn the right to take the stage?

Ever since Ross Perot participated in the debates in 1992 (and captured 19% of the vote!) the Demoblicans have been scared shitless at the prospect of third-party spoilers.  So, gee, I wonder where that 15% number came from???

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