Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Republican Proposes Using Polygraph in Debate, Democrat Gives Poor Response

You've gotta love the spirit of this story.

"Ninth District Republican Party Chairman Larry Shickles on Wednesday proposed the political polygraphs for Democratic Rep. Baron Hill, Republican challenger Mike Sodrel and Libertarian candidate Eric Schansberg. The three are scheduled to debate Oct. 21, but an official with a debate co-sponsor said lie detectors won't be included.

Shickles, in a letter sent Tuesday to 9th District Democratic Chairman Mike Jones, suggested that the candidates be hooked up to lie detecting machines at the Oct. 21 event or a separate debate.

"While this format may be unusual, I feel strongly that voters need to be able to make a clear decision without all the usual spin," Shickles wrote.

Now that's more like it from the Republicans. Sadly, lie detectors are scientifically dubious, so their anti-intellectualism may have gotten the better of their instincts for no BS fairness, but its still nice to see some of what I remember being common among Republicans.

What I remember from the Democrats in those days was a lot of mealy-mouthed nonsense, and the Democrat in this scenario doesn't disappoint:

Jones said having a lie detector debate "just seems pretty bizarre."

"Polygraphs have their use in law enforcement, but I don't see them fitting in a political debate," Jones said. "There are plenty of avenues for finding out each candidate's true position. The votes of both Baron Hill and Mike Sodrel are on record with Congress."

Wrong, wrong. You say polygraphs are unscientific, which means that there would inevitably be moments where the machine claims a candidate is lying when he isn't, or give him the halo of truth when he is lying through his teeth. Giving the voters a false impression of knowledge we don't have is worse than leaving them to their own judgements.

Instead we got the BS above. Why is truth seeking more important in law enforcement than it is in politics? So because the candidates' positions are on the net, we shouldn't concern ourselves with whether they tell the truth in the debates? Jones makes it sound like he thinks its bizarre we should want to be sure he isn't lying.

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