If I Ran The Presidential Debates.

Political debates are meaningless rituals.

Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Ric...

The problem started way before me. Well, not way before, but before. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The debates don’t tell us how either man works under pressure. They know roughly what the questions will be. The environment is strictly controlled and formatted.

Our jobs aren’t like that. We don’t know what is coming next. A president should have to show the ability to work like we do – in uncontrolled situations. I’ve got ideas that would make the debates watchable and give us a better reading on how ready these fools are to lead us.


At the last debate, both men came out in suits. That’s pretty conventional. I did think it was ridiculous that Mr. Obama wore a blue tie to show that he represents the Democrats and Mr. Romney wore a red one because he is the Republican. Did they think we’d mix them up? Come on, prematurely grey African-American with big ears, Obama. Caucasian robot with a hair helmet, Romney. We don’t need color coded ties.

They both wore suits. Oooh, risky. They work in suits every day. Besides, even I can look presidential in a $4000 suit. Alright, $4,500, but that’s my last offer. Not a cent more.

I could learn a lot about them if they both came out in clothing that they had no idea they were wearing until they arrived at the debate site.

If I were in charge of picking out what the candidates were wearing for the next debate, I would have them dressed for a Greco-Roman wrestling match, including the headgear. No, I don’t want them to wrestle. I do want to see them recover from the feeling that they look ridiculous and give solid answers to what they’re asked.


Both candidates have to wear make up for television.

Once they’re finished in the make up room, I would like to have a neutral person come into the room and write something on each man’s forehead. Imagine the debate starting, with each man able to see what his opponent’s forehead says, but having no idea what their own head says.

Can Romney address a complex policy issue with the distraction of seeing “sponge cake” written over Obama’s eyebrows? Can Obama counter, if he has to read “silly putty” over Romney’s face? Which man will get the giggles first? The one who the situation angers loses my vote instantly.


No one works in a distraction free environment. That’s why I would have a sensory overload debate.

Both candidates would wear headphones through which they would hear the questions I’d ask them.When they answered, sometimes I’d let them hear themselves, sometimes I’d play music on the headphones so they couldn’t tell if they were yelling or whispering. At least once per debate I’d ask a question, let them start answering, then ask another question. No matter which question they answered, I’d take points away for answering the wrong question. I know there are no points, so I’d take eleven thousand points away just to tick them off.

Flashing lights, thrown objects, distracting images, and anything else I can think of to disrupt the candidates would be fair game during the sensory overload debate.

You might ask why it is so important to stress the candidates out in this way. I want them stressed because unexpected interruptions happen to presidents all the time.  Whichever candidate wins might plan a day to work on the economy. Oh no, here comes some craziness from North Korea and he’s got to pardon a stupid turkey before meeting with the people who bribed him contributed to his campaign! What was that thought on the economy? Sensory overload is the best way to simulate a hectic and unpredictable presidential work day.

Political debates are nothing but a series of lies and talking points. Giving me control of the debates would make them more of an indicator of job performance and so much more watchable.


39 Comments on “If I Ran The Presidential Debates.”

  1. Laura says:

    This is a great idea — half political debate, half Japanese game show.

  2. List of X says:

    I think your debate rules would be too difficult and humiliating, and would limit the pool of presidential candidates to the most desperate ones.

  3. Unlike you, I DO actually want them to wrestle.

    I will vote to put you in charge of every debate from here on out. Posts like this are why I love you so. I mean your blog. Um, er…

    • omawarisan says:

      It might be fun to make them wrestle, but they can’t know that they’re going to do it until they walk out. Then, starting positions will be determined by playing twister. You get to be referee because I say so and you can call anything you want as penalties!

  4. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    This is one of your all time best ever posts! Your idea would be far more entertaining for those of us who foolishly decide to watch. Please also give the studio audience some peanuts to throw at the candidates if they don’t like the answers. And some rubber balls to throw at the moderator when he falls asleep or doesn’t do his/her job well.

  5. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    Oh, yeah – I’m putting this post link on my Facebook page!

  6. I’d like to see the debate rounds scored by a panel of judges from one of those shows like DWTS or American Idol. I’d pay for your $4500 suit just to hear Christina Aguilera tell one of them, “You got it goin’ on in the looks department, but it was just a bit pitchy.”

    Also, after each debate, Julie Chen should give America a choice on what they would like to see the candidates do in the next debate: eat worms blindfolded or climb a spongewall that is soaked with honey. Let’s make this a participatory democracy.

    • omawarisan says:

      If I was in the debate, I hope she’d say that my opponent was pitchy. If she did, I would laugh and say that she said bitchy. I’d keep saying it until my opponent got into a fight with her.

      After that, I’d run the footage on all my commercials. The voice over would accuse my opponent of pursuing a radical agenda of violence. You have to say radical agenda in campaign ads.

  7. We Found Him Captain! says:

    I agree with you. How about giving each member of the audience a pair of loafers. Democrats would get black, Republicans would wear brown. They would be allowed to throw them at either candidate whenever they choose to. When a candidate starts getting hit by shoes from his own party plus those from the opposition party, he would realize he was losing the debate.

    Ater all, President Bush had to duck some shoes once. Why not try to get both of these turkeys to listen up?

  8. Debbie says:

    Debates are part of the game to make us think we’re getting to know the candidates. In reality, they’re little more than rehearsed show. I think you’re onto something — test ’em out, see who comes across as capable. Yeah, I’d watch that!

  9. Michelle Gillies says:

    If you were the one setting up the debates, using this model, I would never miss a debate. I would tape the debates and watch the a second time. I’m not even American and I would watch.
    Now, can you come set this up for our elections?

    • omawarisan says:

      I will be right up, Michelle.

      I have a new idea, fishing trip debate. Candidates sit next to a pond, fishing. There are no fish. Divers are in the pond, putting embarassing things on the candidate’s hooks. They have to reel it in every time they get a “bite”…oh no, it’s a picture of the candidate in a leisure suit.

  10. I like your idea a lot…it would be very helpful to see how the candidates respond to a real life situations. Absolutely the first candidate who looses his temper–loses my vote. Could we add a few crying kids? I would also like to give them $4,000 to spend 6 weeks before the election on their campaign and not one penny more and see how they budget their money. And yes, debate ties count against that budget.

  11. Betty says:

    Makes perfect sense. The job itself certainly isn’t preplanned.

  12. I think a good distraction would be someone walking by with a different yummy cake every couple minutes. Maybe waving it under each person’s nose, too. Someone will crack under that pressure.

  13. Lenore Diane says:

    In general, isn’t politics about lies and talking points? At least if you are on the opposing side, of course.
    Regardless, I like your idea. Please, do what needs to be done to make it happen, Oma.

    • omawarisan says:

      I think I would like to be the debate planner when I retire. with 4 years to prepare, I can come up with a lot of good stuff. Participation in the election will be thru the roof.

  14. Too bad I read this AFTER the VP debate tonight. I could have at least played a mental game.

  15. writerdood says:

    I wonder if there’s a Halloween debate scheduled.

  16. audreyhipbone says:

    I think we should audition Presidents like Stanley Kubrick used to audition actors. Kubrick would listen to actors read for him with a box of tennis balls by his side and every now and then he would toss a ball at the actor to see how they responded. If you got a second read, there may be some rotten oranges along with the tennis balls – or Kubrick may invite some mischievous friends to also throw stuff. I think that’d sort the hawks from the doves pretty soon!

    • omawarisan says:

      Kubrick! What if they came out, everything was normal…except there was no moderator. Then the questions started coming over a speaker in the voice of HAL from 2001 A Space Odyssey

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