Don't whack Jim Lehrer
The Kansas City Star
Being a debate moderator is a job that requires balance. You want to impose some sort of structure, but the structure isn’t an end in itself — contrary to all the post-debate carping on the web this morning.
My impression was that Jim Lehrer’s approach was to avoid inserting himself into the action too overtly, an occasional sin committed by bloated-ego newies in debates past.
The moderator’s job should be to guide the speakers into a few topics and stay out of the way while the candidates go at it. In the process we learn something about the character and gravitas of the candidates by judging their body language and expressions — often much more revealing than spoken words.
It’s an imperfect way of choosing a president, perhaps, but what is? It’s important for voters to take the measure of the men who would have power over us. Lehrer’s decision not to be a stickler on the time limits was reasonable.