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.

"Restoring Hope" has been a labor of love for Glenn and his team and tonight is the night! "Restoring the Covenant" was supposed to take place in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Gettysburg and Washington D.C. but thanks to COVID-19, that plan had to be scrapped. "Restoring Hope" is what was left after having to scrap nearly two years of planning. The Herald Journal in Idaho detailed what the event was supposed to be and what it turned into. Check out the article below to get all the details.

Glenn Beck discusses patriotic, religious program filmed at Idaho ranch

On July 2, commentator Glenn Beck and his partners will issue a challenge from Beck's corner of Franklin County to anyone who will listen: "Learn the truth, commit to the truth, then act on the truth."

Over the last few weeks, he has brought about 1,000 people to his ranch to record different portions of the program that accompanies the challenge. On June 19, about 400 members of the Millennial Choir and Orchestra met at West Side High School before boarding WSSD buses to travel to a still spring-green section of Beck's ranch to record their portion of the program.

Read the whole article HERE

The current riots and movement to erase America's history are exactly in line with the New York Times' "1619 Project," which argues that America was rotten at its beginning, and that slavery and systemic racism are the roots of everything from capitalism to our lack of universal health care.

On this week's Wednesday night special, Glenn Beck exposed the true intent of the "1619 Project" and its creator, who justifies remaking America into a Marxist society. This clever lie is disguised as history, and it has already infiltrated our schools.

"The '1619 Project' desperately wants to pass itself off as legitimate history, but it totally kneecaps itself by ignoring so much of the American story. There's no mention of any black Americans who succeeded in spite of slavery, due to the free market capitalist system. In the 1619 Project's effort to take down America, black success stories are not allowed. Because they don't fit with the narrative. The role of white Americans in abolishing slavery doesn't fit the narrative either," Glenn said.

"The agenda is not ultimately about history," he added. "It's just yet another vehicle in the fleet now driven by elites in America toward socialism."

Watch a preview of the full episode below:

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Acclaimed environmentalist and author of "Apocalypse Never" Michael Shellenberger joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Wednesday to warn us about the true goals and effects of climate alarmism: It's become a "secular religion" that lowers standards of living in developed countries, holds developing countries back, and has environmental progress "exactly wrong."

Michael is a Time "Hero of the Environment," Green Book Award winner, and the founder and president of Environmental Progress. He has been called a "environmental guru," "climate guru," "North America's leading public intellectual on clean energy," and "high priest" of the environmental humanist movement for his writings and TED talks, which have been viewed more than 5 million times. But when Michael penned a stunning article in Forbes saying, "On Behalf of Environmentalists, I Apologize for the Climate Scare", the article was pulled just a few hours later. (Read more here.)

On the show, Micheal talked about how environmental alarmism has overtaken scientific fact, leading to a number of unfortunate consequences. He said one of the problems is that rich nations are blocking poor nations from being able to industrialize. Instead, they are seeking to make poverty sustainable, rather than to make poverty history.

"As a cultural anthropologist, I've been traveling to poorer countries and interviewing small farmers for over 30 years. And, obviously there are a lot of causes why countries are poor, but there's no reason we should be helping them to stay poor," Michael said. "A few years ago, there was a movement to make poverty history ... [but] it got taken over by the climate alarmist movement, which has been focused on depriving poor countries, not just of fossil fuels they need to develop, but also the large hydroelectric dams."

He offered the example of the Congo, one of the poorest countries in the world. The Congo has been denied the resources needed to build large hydroelectric dams, which are absolutely essential to pull people out of poverty. And one of the main groups preventing poor countries from the gaining financing they need to to build dams is based in Berkeley, California — a city that gets its electricity from hydroelectric dams.

"It's just unconscionable ... there are major groups, including the Sierra Club, that support efforts to deprive poor countries of energy. And, honestly, they've taken over the World Bank [which] used to fund the basics of development: roads, electricity, sewage systems, flood control, dams," Micheal said.

"Environmentalism, apocalyptic environmentalism in particular, has become the dominant religion of supposedly secular people in the West. So, you know, it's people at the United Nations. It's people that are in very powerful positions who are trying to impose 'nature's order' on societies," he continued. "And, of course, the problem is that nobody can figure out what nature is, and what it's not. That's not a particular good basis for organizing your economy."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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Dr. Voddie Baucham, Dean of Theology at African Christian University in Lusaka, Zambia, joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to explain why he agrees with Vice President Mike Pence's refusal to say the phrase "Black Lives Matter."

Baucham, who recently drew national attention when his sermon titled "Ethnic Gnosticism" resurfaced online, said the phrase has been trademarked by a dangerous, violent, Marxist movement that doesn't care about black lives except to use them as political pawns.

"We have to separate this movement from the issues," Baucham warned. "I know that [Black Lives Matter] is a phrase that is part of an organization. It is a trademark phrase. And it's a phrase designed to use black people.

"That phrase dehumanizes black people, because it makes them pawns in a game that has nothing whatsoever to do with black people and their dignity. And has everything to do with a divisive agenda that is bigger than black people. That's why I'm not going to use that phrase, because I love black people. I love being black."

Baucham warned that Black Lives Matter -- a radical Marxist movement -- is using black people and communities to push a dangerous and divisive narrative. He encouraged Americans to educate themselves on the organization's agenda and belief statement.

"This movement is dangerous. This movement is vicious. And this movement uses black people," he emphasized. "And so if I'm really concerned about issues in the black community -- and I am -- then I have to refuse, and I have to repudiate that organization. Because they stand against that for which I am advocating."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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.