Fred Barnes is dismayed that the first two presidential debates have been so boring and uninformative and wishes that, instead of taking about the economy, healthcare, and the war, they would focus more on the social and wedge issues that the Right loves … kind of like the faith forum hosted by Rick Warren back in August:
Oddly enough, it wasn’t a journalist who staged the best debate between McCain and Obama. It was an ordained minister, Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California, the author of best-selling The Purpose-Driven Life. In separate sessions, he asked the same questions, first of McCain, then of Obama.
Their answers gave voters a far better idea of what makes the two candidates tick than all the policy-reality questions asked in the two official presidential debates and one vice presidential debate.
What did Warren ask? Questions like, who is the wisest person you know and do you listen to that person? And what is your greatest moral failure and what is America’s.
Here are more Warren questions: What have you changed your mind on? What was your toughest decision? What does your faith and your trust in Jesus Christ mean to you on a daily basis? When does life begin? What’s your definition of marriage? Does evil exist? What is worth sacrificing American lives for? How do you define “rich”? What would you do as president for the millions of orphans in the world?
In an hour with each candidate, Warren managed to draw more out of McCain and Obama than either Brokaw did last night or Jim Lehrer did in the first presidential debate. There’s a lesson in that that the media professionals would be wise to learn.
Apparently it is the purpose of presidential debates is to skew the issues to focus on those that help McCain rally his base. Heck, why not just have Warren moderate them all? Maybe he could offer to personally pray with McCain, like he’s done with Sarah Palin. Or better yet, why not just have James Dobson moderate the debates? After all, the only real difference between the two, as Warren admits, is tone.