I agree that the point of the debates isn't -- or shouldn't be -- which one is more likable, a better debater, etc. These ought to be a chance for the candidates to carefully lay out their differences so the American voter can see their choice -- and it is a choice, even though not as much of one as some of us would hope. And the media ought to report it that way and stop underscoring all the qualities that point to popularity and start using the filter of "leadership" from which to ask their questions and make their analysis.
This, from the "Why I Am a Recovering Journalist" file.
And I haven't had my television hooked up since I moved to Colorado, so I watched neither the Olympics nor the debate. I'm trying to figure out whether I should feel bad because I don't think anything is missing from my recent experience because of that. I DO read the news from as many online sources as I can, despite the fact that I swore off news. (If I ever go back into journalism, I have this fear that they'll ask me about something that happened in 2000 and I'll just stare blankly and not have a clue. "Unh ... I read a lot of books...")
I like the suggestion of the "two-fer" competition. But the strategy that would work in the absence of that method right now would be for Nader and Buchannon to register as many new voters as they possibly can, decide on their rock-bottom three issues from which they will not budge, then right before the election, throw their support to the candidate with whom they can work out a compromise and gain assurance that those issues will become policy if they help that candidate get elected. That's the art of compromise, and THAT's at the heart of politics.