Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - EDITORIALS -

The only thing bet­ter about the lat­est pres­i­den­tial de­bate was hav­ing fewer peo­ple on the stage. Other than that, the evening was, for the most part, a re­hash of the can­di­dates’ pre­vi­ously stated po­si­tions, an upright tweet-fest . ... If, on the other hand, you think the job of the pres­i­dent is prob­lem-solv­ing, then the de­bate ought to be ex­actly that — a prob­lem-solv­ing test . ...

If we don’t want the Oval Of­fice to op­er­ate like Twit­ter, why do we test our can­di­dates as if it does? … If I were a de­bate mod­er­a­tor, three days in ad­vance, I would sup­ply the can­di­dates with a se­ries of iden­ti­cal, fact-based prob­lem sce­nar­ios. These sce­nar­ios would re­late to real is­sues fac­ing the United States — such as health care, in­fra­struc­ture, Iran, North Korea, cli­mate change or cy­ber­war­fare. Can­di­dates would con­sider how to re­spond to the sce­nar­ios; they could con­sult with ad­vis­ers and ar­rive at the de­bate with a (hope­fully) work­able so­lu­tion . ...

The pres­i­den­tial hope­fuls would be re­quired to de­scribe how they had ar­rived at their ap­proach, ex­plain how it might be achieved and out­line the po­ten­tial con­se­quences. The role of the pan­elists would be to press the par­tic­i­pants, po­litely but re­peat­edly, on the fea­si­bil­ity of their pro­pos­als . ...

This for­mat would in­hibit a can­di­date’s abil­ity to prom­ise free col­lege, Medi­care-for-all and a tax in­crease only on bil­lion­aires — all to be mag­i­cally ap­proved by a Repub­li­can-con­trolled Se­nate — then have the time clock go off and ev­ery­one move on to trade pol­icy.

Greta Van Sus­teren, The Washington Post

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