I'm going to be perfectly honest here: While I will watch tonight's debate from Miami (OK, Mustang Bobby, Coral Gables!), as well as the other scheduled debates to be held, I'm not really sure if they will make a real difference.
The debates have simply become lengthy photo ops where the candidates do not have the opportunity to address each other directly or ask each other questions about their vision for the nation and world. They have a very generous idea of what the questions will be beforehand, so there is ample time to review all possible answers for the best possible response. And it's simply ridiculous that the candidates, through their representatives, argue over the most minute points such the temperature of the venue and the height of the podiums. They have about as many rules/riders in their agreement than a rock star (check out The Smoking Gun to see what I mean with the rock star reference). Not only that, but at the second debate --- a "town hall meeting" format --- there is argument over the makeup of the audience. The idea was to make it a group of undecided citizens, but the candidates want it split with their partisans.
And while we're at it, let's scrap the Commission on Presidential Debates altogether, and put the debates in the hands of an organization which is decidedly nonpartisan and has a history of doing it right without putting up with a lot of drama as we're seeing now: The League of Women Voters! I'm certain they can do it better that it's being done now.
If you really want to see the best of the debates, I'd wait for the VP candidates. That should be a show, with the pit bull (Dick Cheney) -vs- the trial lawyer (John Edwards). But honestly, I don't expect too much tonight except a well prepared couple of candidates giving a slice-and-dice version of their stump speeches.
Oh, and by the way...
Yesterday I was trying to find out how it came to be that President Bush decided to visit Marty McKenna's citrus grove near Lake Wales. I looked at Opensecrets.com to find out if he was a big contributor...he's not, not even to sheepdog congressman Adam Putnam. Then this morning I accidently came across this item from WTSP-TV 10, which brought things clearly to light: HE'S THE PRESIDENT OF FLORIDA CITRUS MUTUAL! It's the mouthpiece for the industry, so it's obvious that the Prez would walk with the organization's top dog in his grove.
And this morning's Lakeland Ledger noted the hopes of those wanting to see their nation's Chief Executive...but didn't get the opportunity. No time for the "common folk" in Polk.