I really enjoyed the forum Rick Warren conducted in 2008 with John McCain and Barack Obama. I found it to be very informative about both candidates. It was a laid-back conversation, rather than a format with reporters asking confrontational or gotcha questions.
Warren planned to hold another during this campaign season. Both candidates, according to Warren, wanted to do it. The networks wanted to do it, since the previous one brought high ratings.
But Warren has pulled the plug, and I salute him for his reasons. He explained:
“We created the civil forums to promote civility and personal respect between people with major differences. The forums are meant to be a place where people of goodwill can seriously disagree on significant issues without being disagreeable or resorting to personal attack and name-calling. But that is not the climate of today’s campaign. I’ve never seen more irresponsible personal attacks, mean-spirited slander, and flat-out dishonest attack ads, and I don’t expect that tone to change before the election.
“It would be hypocritical to pretend civility for one evening only to have the name-calling return the next day.”
It goes along with what Michael Scherer suggested in one of my posts last week: “In the end, there is only one thing that will force these candidates, their campaigns and supporters to hue a straighter line: Their own constituencies must object.”