While typically, presidential debates do not matter, Romney and Obama have both fought hard to make sure they they do. Romney rode quite the pretty poll bump post-first debate, and it is yet to be seen how the polls will react to the most recent debate on the 16th. With the new weight of the debates influencing the polls, I am left with one major question;
Where are the moderators?
In all three of the debates, Vice Presidential included, the moderators have sat passively as the candidates interrupt each other and use up more than their allotted time. Instead of acting as firm enforcers of the rules of the debate, the moderators have chosen a more passive role, sitting back and watching the debate unfold, while not being nearly as firm as they should be with shushing the candidates when their time to speak is done.
While this phenomenon (hopefully) leads to more interesting debates to watch (who doesn’t want to see Obama and Romney bicker it out?), it does lead to a sense of inequality in the debates. They are structured a certain way to allow each candidate an equal amount of speaking time on specific topics. Without firm moderation, a candidate can speak more than his or her time, and can focus specifically on a topic that the opposing candidate may be weaker on, instead of moving on to other topics that may even the playing field. A firm slap on the wrist is necessary in order to keep candidates on the topic of the question, rather than straying to their strategic corners that put the opposing candidate in a bad light.
Here’s to hoping that the third, and final, presidential debate moderator can hold their own, because a debate run on it’s stated rules is a sight to see indeed.