Debate Fatigue Sets In

The frequency of preprimary face-offs is wearing, even for a political junkie.

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In political terms, there is Bush fatigue, along with Clinton fatigue. How about debate fatigue?

The CNN debate for Democratic candidates last week was the last straw for me, and I'm a political junkie. This one was a Hollywood extravaganza.

If there were a truthful survey of viewers to find out how many watched the entire show, the numbers would be abysmally low. The yawn factor took charge in the second hour.

It must have been the environment of Las Vegas. Not only was the scene too glitzy and too entertainment-driven, but there were also too many questioners and far too much background noise.

Some late viewers must have thought they were tuning in to an NBA game.

For voters looking for any real depth on issues, they had to be disappointed. Sen. Joe Biden was shaking his head when Sen. Hillary Clinton and former Sen. John Edwards were trading barbs or insults.

Biden was right to say at the outset, when his turn came, that voters were more interested in what affected their daily lives and the welfare of their families. But he's considered a second-tier candidate, so he might be talking to himself.

The frequency of these debates in both parties over the past six months has been wearing. Most have been on cable television with limited audiences.

The important debates will come in the fall of 2008, when the two nominees tangle and the platform is not crowded with wannabes. The Commission on Presidential Debates is confident the nominees will agree to participate in three presidential debates and one vice presidential contest without prolonged quarrels over technicalities.

We should be so fortunate.