That’s showbiz

How that nightmare looked from farther away:

Over the years, the presidential debates have become as much about entertainment as elucidation. As journalists we hype them like Vegas world heavyweight boxing bouts beforehand and score them like TV critics afterwards.

Indeed, and it’s maddening. There’s so much palaver about the stupid debates, as if they mattered, when in fact there are much better ways to evaluate the candidates and what they plan to do.

Ever since Ronald Reagan mastered the genre, the debates have tended to reward star power over expertise.

Well there you go. If it works for a Reagan and doesn’t work for a Mondale then it’s not a good instrument.

Presidential debates increasingly have come down to who can deliver Reagan-style one-liners, the jokes or putdowns that are rerun endlessly on the news in the days afterwards. What is supposed to be a job interview has become more like an audition for the role of leading man.

And…that’s not what presidents are for. They’re not our roommates or colleagues, we don’t have to live with them, we don’t even have to like them.

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