Tomorrow night will be yet another Presidential debate, this one in a townhall format. I won't be watching, just as I haven't watched the prior debates, consistent with my plan to remain an uninformed voter but I wanted to take a moment and remember the time when this format contributed to the decline of Western civilization.
Let's go back to 1992 and the three sided race between George HW Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot. In that year's townhall debate a ponytailed social worker named Denton Walthall (google "ponytail guy" and you'll find the transcript) asked this question:
“The focus of my work as a domestic mediator is meeting the needs of the children that I work with, by way of their parents, and not the wants of their parents. And I ask the three of you, how can we, as symbolically the children of the future president, expect the two of you, the three of you to meet our needs, the needs in housing and in crime and you name it….”The decline is marked less by Mr Walthall's question than by the responses of the candidates. Bill Clinton pandered, Bush looked annoyed, wondering what he was doing there, but agreed with the pledge and Perot said sure, fine with me.
“Could we cross our hearts; it sounds silly here, but could we make a commitment? You know, we’re not under oath at this point, but could you make a commitment to the citizens of the United States to meet our needs, and we have many, and not yours. Again, I have to repeat that, it’s a real need, I think, that we all have.”
I was yelling at the TV set wanting one of them to say:
"Grow up! I am not your parent, you are not my child. You are an adult capable of making decisions. One of the decisions you need to make is who you want to hire to do this job for you for the next four years. If adults feel that they are children waiting to be instructed and led then this country is in big trouble. "
This is why I would not be a successful candidate for anything.