GOP debates test on-camera skills, not real issues

Story by Ben Rueter

I’m starting to get the feeling that each political debate is now less about how to make America better and more about how to not look like a fool on TV.

Take, for instance, these GOP debates. I’m sure (well, I’ll take their word for it) that each candidate up there is well versed in all things America, politics, law and pizza. They wouldn’t be up there if that wasn’t the case.

With about 10 more GOP debates left before the primaries, it seems more like an endurance race and whoever doesn’t trip (or has the better PR team) wins. It’s becoming less about the issues at hand, since we already know for the most part where each candidate stands.

All of this hee-hawing between the candidates begs the question now: Do we even need to have a televised debate this early? Or do we need to have them this frequently? I tune in every now and again, but I can’t keep up with it due to the fact that I don’t care that much and it gets so repetitive after a while.

One reason could be to weed out the bums early on, but at this point, I feel that it becoming more repetitive than informative. It’s like pre-season football for people who care about politics. It’s more for the politicians to go on record and say where they stand.

Just as long as your guy doesn’t go out like Peyton Manning during the pre-season, your politician might be OK. Having said that, I don’t see why these debates can’t be held online, or, God forbid, by radio or podcasts.

Maybe all of this is because we and the media love to focus on the negative side of topics, and we are all secretly waiting for one of them to fail on TV. When it happens though, it gets people talking.

Rick Perry’s latest ad campaign picks at homosexuals in the military. It’s blunt for sure, and it’s one of the reasons Rick Perry is a topic of discussion right now. He’s loud and this seems to be a trend with most of the GOP candidates.

They are finding something that makes a blunt statement and blowing it up. Herman Cain is an example of tripping and falling out of the race. Rick Perry is still in it, despite his claims against homosexuals in the military. Yet, I feel most people don’t really know what he stands for besides that.

These kind of statements are happening outside of the debates, which makes me think less frequent, more focused debates may cause people to actually pay attention to them instead of silly ad campaigns that are made to get the attention of the masses.


Ben Rueter is a senior print journalism major and Copy Editor at
The Spectator.