The Presidency by Hugh Sidey: The Big Fight Syndrome

We are creating a political demolition derby, not a presidential debate. Those strange impulses in the American soul that have produced mud wrestling and The Gong Show seem to have claimed the national campaign.

The confrontations of the presidential contenders on television are designed more for harsh human drama than enlightenment. Bored with endless months of caravan politics, the opposing camps whip up national interest in the same way that boxing promoters try to build a big gate. There is talk of keeping the pressure on, of pounding away at this issue or that, of drawing blood, even of scoring...

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