Behind the Mic: Mano A Mano

Now that the NFL has completed play and with college basketball, the NBA, and the NHL moving to their respective championships, I find I am desperate for some intense competition.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching the serenity and landscape of golf, but it does lack the “mano a mano” aspect that the aforementioned sports offer up.  But, I am happy to say I have found a new “blood sport” – the Republican Debates!

I was for many years the Debate coach at Wilson High School and I am proud to say that we competed quite well against the bigger schools like Allen, Dieruff, Easton, and others.  I remember the parameters quite well.  There was the debate topic (an issue or resolution), the two sides – one supporting the issue and one opposing it, and the judges who would decide who won.  In other words, both teams formulated their arguments and presented them in a formal way and then the arguments were rebutted by the opposing side.  There could be no interruptions and each speaker must wait their turn.  There were very formal rules of procedure to follow. The debate was to be only about the issue, not about the personalities making the presentation.

As I mentioned, I have watched both the Republican and Democratic debates when my schedule allowed it.  The Republican frays are much more interesting even though they should not be called “debates”.  I watched the last one this past Saturday night.  There were virtually no rules.  Personal attacks abounded; interruptions were commonplace; and disparaging comments were the norm.  The clashes between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, between Cruz and Marco Rubio, between Trump and Jeb Bush are as good as any hockey fight.  And the passivity of Dr. Ben Carson in that environment is quite interesting.

Some of the phrases thrown around were, “You are the single biggest liar”; “He’s a nasty guy”; “I am sick and tired of him going after my family”; “He’ll moon anybody”, and one candidate even attacked another candidate’s mother, his mother!!  There are many, many other examples.

I am not taking any sides here, but I do think there is a much better way for these candidates to conduct themselves and conduct their debates.  What would be so wrong, since there are so many so-called “debates” now, if each debate focused on one, two, or three issues – immigration, foreign policy, taxation, the economy, abortion, Planned Parenthood, wages, the Supreme Court and so on and so on?  And wouldn’t it be fair if for each question, each candidate had an opportunity to give their answer without interruption?  And wouldn’t it be better and refreshing if the moderators had enough knowledge of the few issues for each night to challenge the candidates if, indeed, they contradicted either their past words or their actions?

Even though we all seem to like a good fight, physical or verbal, it would certainly seem that it would be better for our democracy if the “debate judges” (the people) would be able to see the true differences between those running for the most powerful office in the world.

Then and only then, we would have the candidates’ positions to judge who would be the better president, not who is the best at name-calling.

I’m not taking any sides here, just wondering if Presidential debates should actually be more like debates and not free-for-alls. In other words, more “Presidential”.


  1. Remember the footage of Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens dragging Janay Palmer out of the elevator in Atlantic City? It was revealed this week that a Revel employee was paid about $105,000 for the video by TMZ
  1. The Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition is due out soon and already some unveiling, literally, is happening. It is reported that Tiger Woods’ former girlfriend and Olympic skier, Lindsay Vonn, and MMA star Ronda Rousey will be in the issue wearing only body paint.  Rumor has it Rousey is on the cover.
  1. A really good story came out of the PGA tour at Pebble Beach this week. Vaughn Taylor (who?) won!  He last won in 2005, and only got into the tournament as an alternate. He took a carry-on bag on the plane to California just to save baggage fees.  He was ranked #447 in the world.  But he won and made $1.26 million for the victory, $165,000 more than he made the last three years combined.  By the way, Phil Mickelson missed a five-foot putt on the 18th hole that would have tied him with Taylor.  Taylor now qualifies for his first Masters.
  1. If you want to see one of the best high school games we have ever had on RCN-TV, go to Video-on-Demand to watch Allen play Parkland. Imagine scoring 27 points and being the third leading scorer in the game.  The game goes overtime and two other players score more than 30 points.  It’s a special game – one of our very best.
  1. Mark your calendar on February 27. The District basketball and wrestling finals are that day with the Lafayette men playing Colgate starting the day at noon.  We will finish up very late into the evening.  We will certainly be ESPN-ish that Saturday!