Someone Get the President a Computer

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There is profound truth in this bit of humor, but it seems not to have reached contenders in presidential debates.

For some reason, debates are treated like games of sport. Players win by blood and sweat alone. In the same way you don’t get to pro ball by controlling a robotic pitcher during tryouts, you can’t bring an iPad with you to a presidential debate (it’s actually against the rules).

But while a ban on machines makes sense in the context of playing baseball, the same logic doesn’t hold when your goal is to govern effectively. More than that, those rules actually hurt the quality of debates by pushing candidates to rely on ill-conceived anecdotes and “he said”, “she said” arguments.

Give them computers, and let them cite the studies that support their ideas. Then let their opponents pull up those studies and call bullshit when they see who funded them. I’m more interested in who can quickly verify or refute information than I am in who can convey a more touching story about how the “American way” is in trouble.