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November 18, 2015

Debating the debates

We need to think about whether debating skills of a President, as done during this campaign on television, are more important than other skills needed to be the next leader of the free world. As it presently stands it is these skills that will play the largest role in selecting our next leader.

1960 Debate Between Kennedy & Nixon
I cannot remember ever seeing a sitting President engage in a formal debate with anyone other than maybe his wife, and then most likely he lost. As debates have gained such prominence we are at risk of sending the wrong person to the Whitehouse for the wrong reasons.

I interviewed a successful college debate coach having 20 plus years experience at the highest levels who brought up the point that there is more than one style of debate. He suggested that an interrogative style debate, where each candidate is interviewed separately with one or two interviewers, would be more beneficial to an audience trying to decide who they support. He is right.

Debating skills during the televised confrontations between candidates is less important than a Presidential candidate's values and other attributes needed to be the next leader of the free world. Other traits far more important include core values, character evaluation, interpersonal, decision making, analytical, and implementation skills.

There are others that could be added to the list before debate prowess. The best way for voters to grasp each candidate's skill with these traits is one-on-one interviews by the press with each candidate separately discussing issues and providing answers. Unfortunately, us voters have a low tolerance for detail and we need to be entertained. Electing the right person to be President should be hard work and not a fun outing or a great TV show.

Today’s world is too complex to rely on one's personal knowledge to navigate through all of the obstacles that a President must address. It is a must the next President have a cabinet having expertise that he lacks. As a result he/she must be a good judge of character and wisdom. The ability to judge others is also important when dealing with other world leaders. The President needs to know when to be on guard and at what level.

The next President must be able to analyze facts and information to draw the right conclusions.

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