There is much that is new in Presidential politics this time around. Example A is the frequency, and emerging importance of Presidential debates.
This election cycle, we watched thirteen debates before the first votes were counted. It was said by many at the outset that there were way too many debates scheduled, and that the electorate would soon tire of politics, and tune out the candidates.
Not so. The Republican Presidential debates rapidly became as much about entertainment as education and the national audience grew to a surprising seven million viewers. And now, we have a most unusual weekend of politics coming up--the likes of which this nation has never seen.
It's a Saturday night and Sunday morning of political theatre. Yep, this Saturday evening we have another prime time debate courtesy of ABC News. But what's different is that this 9:00-11:00 PM debate is followed just ten hours later by a Sunday morning debate on NBC.
This unprecedented scheduling of back to back debates gives the electorate a unique opportunity to see the candidates operate under pressure for a lengthy, sustained period of time.
They will field questions from a superb group of moderators, who all enjoy a reputation for tough, pertinent questions, and for not allowing candidates to sidestep an issue. Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos will do the honors Saturday night, and David Gregory will be in charge Sunday morning.
It will be interesting to see who best meets the challenge, and who, if anyone, exits the ordeal appearing calm, cool, and collected--looking Presidential. It's desperation time for some of those who will be on stage, and the gloves will be off.
What better entertainment for a Saturday night and Sunday morning.