The Oval: Debates

Good afternoon.

They say America has a vigorous democratic system.

We hold elections.

We have a free press.

We see elected leaders go to town halls.

And if you want to be president, you have to do a few debates.

A debate sounds like an argument…

And in theory, it is one.

But presidential debates aren’t really arguments.

They’re just a series of short speeches.

Each candidate tries to pick apart the other guy…

Each candidate tries to offend the fewest people…

But in the end, you never hear a candidate deviate from their talking points.

You never hear a candidate say: “I guess you’re right about that one.”

Debates are not held so that candidates come to agreement.

That’s not the point!

The people who put on debates – the media – don’t want the candidates to agree…

They want a good brawl!

They want dramatic, unscripted moments!

It makes for better TV. Better ratings.

But not a better country.

Look, I’m not saying we need a kumbaya “let’s all get along” session with the candidates.

The reason we have elections is because we have to hold our political leaders accountable.

And give new ideas a hearing.

And if those new ideas prove to be unconvincing, well, that’s why presidents get re-elected.

But can’t debates do more than merely reinforce what we already know about the candidates?

Why don’t we have debates which are real debates?

In a classic debate, the participants have to prepare to argue both sides of the same issue. Then, right before the debate… they are told to stick to one side or the other.

Pro-death penalty, or anti… you prepare to argue either case. On Monday, you argue pro. On Tuesday, you argue anti.

Now, wouldn’t it be interesting if we had the candidates – Barack Obama and Mitt Romney – prepare to argue both sides of the same issue?

The federal government is too big – agree or disagree?

“President Obama, you have to argue that it’s too big tonight. Let’s see how you do with that one.”

“Governor Romney, you get to argue that it’s too small. Have fun!”

Wouldn’t that be something?

You’d have political leaders take positions with which they disagree… and do their best job explaining themselves.

It would be revealing.

For one thing, it would tell us whether a candidate has a brain in their head.

It’s easy to memorize what someone tells you to say. It’s hard to make a compelling case against those things you believe already.

You have to have an imagination. You have to think quickly. You have to know the facts – and understand that the facts can be interpreted in many different ways.

You can’t present the argument of the other side as an absurd straw man – easily knocked down by the first puff of wind.

You have to respect both sides of an issue. It takes maturity.

You might even learn to question those principles you hold dear.

Sure, a debate like that might test our candidates more on their logic and arguing skills than their beliefs, but we don’t need a debate to know what the candidates say they believe.

They put out position papers. Their parties write platforms – or re-write them, as the case may be.

Debates aren’t there so people can find out what candidates BELIEVE.

They’re held so we can see whether candidates can handle the PRESSURE.

Debates are about the theater, right?

They’re about whether these candidates can think on their feet… can deliver a good line without a teleprompter… can out-maneuver their opponent… can handle criticism with grace.

So… why not switch roles and positions, just to make things interesting?

At the very least, it would be better than what we have now.

It would give us a window into the way our presidential candidates think through problems…

Weigh evidence…

Acknowledge doubt…

And whether they even understand the issues they talk about.

You’d certainly get us some dramatic moments.

What if Mitt Romney had to defend Obamacare?

What if Obama had to attack it?

What if the candidates were asked whether the US should stay and fight in Afghanistan until the Taliban were defeated?

I’m not even sure what the candidates actually believe on this issue, so it might be good to just assign them a position and see how they do with it.

We could do something even more dramatic. We could ask the candidates to edit each other’s answer!

Let’s say they ask President Obama: “What does America owe its citizens?”

He’ll give his answer.

And rather than Romney giving his own view to the same question, what if he tried to give Obama’s answer, but in a more convincing way?

It would be quite a test. Because we would be able to tell, right away, whether a candidate can see the world through someone else’s eyes. Do they have a better vision to achieve the same goal?

My point is that we need to get the candidates to address the issues, and take a stand.

No more splitting the middle.

No more mixed signals.

No more mushy, focus grouped language.

I’ll tell you one thing: It would be a lot easier to decide who “won” a debate. You won’t need some media talking head to tell us that Candidate X had a better answer on Social Security.

You’d know it right away. You’d see it right away.

Look: This office is occupied by people for four years. The issues of 2012 aren’t necessarily going to be the issues of 2016.

The world will have new crises. Our economy will look differently. The president, whoever he is, will be tested in new ways.

If there’s one thing we know about the Presidency, it’s this: You can’t predict what issues a president will face.

But you should be able to predict how he’ll face them.

Today’s debates don’t do a very good job of helping us make that prediction.

We could do it better… maybe one day, they’ll try a new approach.

Thanks for watching.

God bless you, and may God bless the Republic.

An Afghan interpreter who helped save then-Sen. Joe Biden's life in 2008 was among those stranded in Afghanistan after Biden's troop withdrawal. He has now escaped the country with his family, but not with President Biden's help.

Thanks to private organizations, including The Nazarene Fund, the interpreter and his family have now been rescued.

Watch the video clip below to hear Glenn Beck share the details:

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A shocking new report by The Daily Wire reveals that the furious father whose arrest at a school board meeting likely sparked the call for the FBI to investigate anti-CRT parents like domestic terrorists was furious for good reasons: The Loudoun County School Board allegedly tried to cover up his daughter's rape.

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Tuesday to discuss the incident and explain why he joined 60 lawmakers in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding answers for why the FBI is targeting parents.

"We want to know ... what kind of coordination took place between the White House, activist groups and teachers unions, and the Department of Justice," Stewart told Glenn. "Because we have evidence that there was [coordination] and, in fact, that the White House are the ones who initiated this. They asked for these activist groups to write this inflammatory letter to the Department of Justice saying they were 'intimidated' and that they 'felt threatened', giving the Department of Justice Attorney General Garland, the excuse to say, 'Okay, well, we have to respond'."

Stewart went on to say he believes the federal government would only involve the FBI in such an issue if its purpose is to silence and intimidate parents concerned about the "poison" being taught to their kids in school. So, what can he and the other representatives who disagree with the Biden administration's overreach of power do to stop it?

Watch the video clip below to hear Stewart explain:

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Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu is now warning that his nation is preparing for war with China after Beijing flew a record number of warplanes over Taiwanese territory. Wu reached out to another country for help, but it wasn't the United States.

In a video, Wu urged Australia to help prepare for a possible invasion, but gave the U.S. no mention.

"The defense of Taiwan is in our own hands, and we are absolutely committed to that. And if China is going to launch a war against Taiwan, we will fight until the end. And that is our commitment. And, of course, during this period of time, we would like to exchange with other countries for security cooperation," Wu said on ABC News In-depth's China Tonight program. "We would like to engage in security or intelligence exchanges with other like-minded partners, Australia included, so that Taiwan is better prepared to deal with the war situation. And so far, our relations with Australia is very good. And that is what we appreciate it for."

On "The Glenn Beck Program," Glenn, Pat Gray, and Stu Burguiere discussed whether or not America would do anything during such a conflict — because it sure seems like President Joe Biden is more focused on working with China to fight climate change. Plus, why did China just cut off all cryptocurrency?

Watch the video clip below to catch the conversation:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

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On "Glenn TV" tonight, Glenn Beck heads to the chalkboard to reveal how the fundamental transformation of America has already begun by turning the Declaration of Independence upside down.

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You never hear the Left talk about the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights any more, unless it's to "reimagine" the Constitution or slap a "harmful content" warning on our founding documents. Seriously. The National Archives said while its website label wasn't targeting the Constitution specifically, "some of the materials presented here may reflect outdated, biased, offensive, and possibly violent views and opinions." The Left finds basic, guaranteed rights so offensive they now spend all of their time on workarounds to deal with America's annoying founding documents.

Watch the full episode of "Glenn TV" below to see Glenn outline the aggressive unconstitutional abuses "King Biden" is jamming down our throats and teaches Americans how we can defend against presidential tyranny.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.