Presidential Debates Rarely Matter, Except If Someone Royally Screws Up

The three presidential and one vice presidential debates have been set. You can find the details on them at In that piece Andrew Malcolm notes:

The political reality though is that debates, like college mid-terms, seem important at the time but end up mattering less at the end. Arguably, in hindsight only two presidential debates over their 52 years have been decisive:

The first in 1960 when Richard Nixon’s make-up and shaver failed him on black-and-white TV while the country discovered a young, well-spoken senator in John F. Kennedy.

The other occurred in the final days of the 1980 campaign when two former governors faced off. President Jimmy Carter actually lead Ronald Reagan going into that set-to, as incumbents tend to do, even those burdened by a terrible economy.

There have been some memorable moments, but Malcolm is right. The debates aren’t going to decide this election; not with two polished candidates contending. And if you think the vice presidential debates will matter remember that the K.O scored by Lloyd Benson over Dan Quayle with the “you’re no John F. Kennedy” line didn’t help his ticket win…

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