Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Great idea CQ, but what about a poetry slam?

This comes from Jonathan Schwartz at Congressional Quarterly:

CQ Politics columnist John Bicknell argues to drop the presidential debates in favor of one-on-one interviews with advocacy journalists from the other side:

"We learn virtually nothing from the debates as they are currently structured. We need to find out what these guys think, how they think, who they are, how they respond to a real challenge. That’s a very difficult proposition when all you’re hearing are canned responses to pre-packaged questions.

Wouldn’t you love to hear William Kristol or Jonah Goldberg or Charles Krauthammer go toe-to-toe with Obama? How about Katrina Vanden Heuvel or Peter Beinart or David Corn grilling McCain?"

Read more: http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?docID=news-000002974215.

Great idea! Absolutely no chance this will happen. Candidates make the rules and the MSM meekly follows. This is a strategy designed to benefit speakers/debaters/thinkers. You know, Obama and Biden. But even their handlers would demand too many restrictions to make this work.

You know what might be more fair? Presidential campaign poetry slams. You might think that candidates with polished speechifying skills could win any slam. I'm not sure about that. First of all, Sarah Palin already speaks in slam. The wags at Slate.com put some of her speeches into poetry form and they're not bad. Problem is, she'd need a teleprompter, which is a slam no-no. Memorization may be a problem. Same with McCain. His herky-jerky speaking style could translate well into the slam format. I'll have to come up with some appropriate poems for him.

On the other hand, Obama and Biden are just not very hip. Did you see Sen. Obama dancing on TV with Ellen D? I think Bill Clinton has it all over Obama in that arena. He's also a sax player, so he has some sense of rhythm. I could see a young Biden slamming in some beat bistro. Now he's worn dark suits for too long and it's affected his mojo, if he ever had any.

I say poetry slam, straight up, instead of the debate. All four up on stage, versifying. Pick some slam judges at random from the crowd and turn them loose on the performances. Let's really mix things up and include Ralph Nader and Bob Barr. I have this vision of Nader as the Talking Heads' David Byrne in "Stop Making Sense," wearing that over-sized suit and doing his spasmodic dance. Bob Barr? He's a mysterious fellow. His Southern roots might yield some surprising poetry.

I'll have some McCain poems up soon.

1 comment:

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