I know enough not to expect anything close to what we were taught in school about debating when I tune in on the campaigns' moderated discussions. When the moderator asks a question, usually carefully loaded to provide a maximum of embarrassment to each participant, it's no surprise to hear so few direct answers. Nevertheless, after listening to a couple of hours of commentators holding forth on the recent meeting of Biden and Palin, I have to ask, "Was anyone listening to WHAT was said?" Virtually every remark after the fact was directed at the WAY the "debaters" couched their arguments. These people who want our votes are supposed to be leaders.
A true debate would not permit the evasions, non-answers, digressions, and arguments ad hominem that are standard for these affairs--that ought to be arranged for the benefit of informing voters, instead of to further the public images of the contestants.
It's discouraging to find so little statesmanship and so much showmanship (and even some of that is pretty pathetic) concerning vital matters. Let's hope the puplic is more perceptive and analytical than the candidates' handlers think we are!