Romney and Obama’s memorandum of understanding is an affront to the transparency of the presidential debates

The presidential debates are supposedly a window into the beliefs of the individuals running for the highest office in the country, but cynics see the debates for the puppet show of talking points and political posturing that it really is. Debates have in the forgotten past been substantive, but today we are only focused on how the candidates look in split screens and who has the best zingers.

The fact that the debates are a complete farce has been made even more glaringly apparent thanks to the Time’s Mark Halperin obtaining — and publishing — a 21 page memorandum of understanding that Romney and Obama have established with the Commission on Presidential Debates.


Parameters established by the agreement state that “The candidates may not ask each other direct questions during any of the four debates,” and for tonight’s town-hall debate “Each candidate may move about in a pre-designated area … and may not leave that area while the debate is underway.”

The memorandum is a behind the scenes look at how the Republicans and Democrats — who supposedly are diametrically opposed — are actually corroborating to create the political theater that is our modern presidential debates.

The saddest part is that while audience members of last night’s debate will get to ask questions of our candidates (prescreened of course), audience members “shall not ask follow-up questions,” with the agreement that the “Commission shall take appropriate steps to cut-off the microphone of any … audience member who attempts to pose any question or statement different than that previously posed to the moderator for review.”

The answers to questions that the American people really want to hear will never see the light of day with the current collaboration of the two party political binopoly.