Saturday, October 15, 2011

Enter Watson, Stage Right

Oh for the days when men were men and disputes were settled with clubs. Maybe then we would be able to say, "The best man won!"

Listening to some of these candidates weasel their way out of misstatements and outright lies, and covering their tracks afterwards with accusations of  having had to battle "unfair" gotcha questions, makes me want to commit all manner of mayhem - or maybe just puke.

Do you remember the last debate Georgie Porgie submitted to? I think it was the one where cameras detected a Charlie McCarthy wire under his jacket that many have alleged was the source of his ability to survive even those softballs that were allowed to be tossed at him.

The debates of today are total frauds. Even without the successful cribbing W is suspected of, the tortuously contrived set of parameters that each side demands insures the public will never know the real measure of any candidate

In September 2004,  reporter Connie Rice filed a story with NPR outlining 10 things the political parties don't want the public to know. She wrote: 

"The League of Women Voters ran these debates with an iron hand as open, transparent, non-partisan events from 1976 to 1984. The men running the major campaigns ended the (LWV) control when the League defiantly included John Anderson and Ross Perot, and used tough moderators and formats the parties didn't like. The parties snatched the debates from the League and formed the Commission on Presidential Debates — the CPD." — in 1986.' 

Among some of the other things that are now forbidden are any back and forth communication and the audience must be divided with equal numbers of "soft supporters" who can't make approving or disapproving noises. They even have made agreements about what can be mentioned and what must be avoided.

Maybe the public needs to do a little rabble rousing when it comes to these debates. One of the most effective things would be to have the veracity of candidates' statements confirmed - on the spot - while the horsepucky is still hot.

While it might be impossible for the questioner(s) to have the information at hand to do so, IBM's super computer, Watson, who more than held held his own with Alex Trebeck's contestants on Jeopardy, certainly could.

It might even add some interest to these stultifying affairs and maybe, just maybe, we could end up with some useful information that was not canned, prechewed and predigested for our voting pleasure.

And if we like the results of that, we can hire Watson to check every idiot utterance a candidate makes throughout his or her  interminable campaign.

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