Presidential Jeopardy
December 30, 2007, 12:01 PM
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How many Presidential debates have been held this year? A quazillion? And how many have you, personally, watched? If you are like me, maybe half of one and three minutes of another.

Is this our fault? Well, of course it is. But, still ... couldn't the candidates try a little harder to make it interesting?

For example, one cause of voter cynicism is the suspicion that the candidates are complete ignoramuses on every topic on which they haven't been preprogrammed by their handlers. So, instead of having them stand around and semi-argue with each other, why not have them play Jeopardy instead, with the categories weighted toward history and current affairs.

Sure, the frontrunners wouldn't be likely to agree to it, but why not let laggards like Duncan Hunter and Dennis Kucinich volunteer for a match. They don't even have to be in the same party. Come on, you'd watch that, right? And once a Hunter-Kucinich-Paul Jeopardy match got triple the ratings of the last debate, pressure would mount on the big boys and girls to pick up their buzzers and fight.

Couldn't the match be rigged by producers who leak the questions to one candidate or another? Sure, but there are ways around that. The show doesn't have to write new questions—it has tens of thousands of old questions, far too many for a candidate to study. All the producers would have to do is categorize old categories as Relevant, Middling, and Irrelevant with a weighting toward the Relevant, then have a random system that picks old categories moments before the show starts taping.