The open nonpartisan August 16, 2008 Lake Forrest Saddleback Church forum, posing the same questions to presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain individually, is a much better format than previous presidential debates. Surely, the American people want to hear how each candidate responds to issues important to us rather than what seems important to the partisan press. In other words, we don't want meaningless or slanted debates, or "gotcha" politics of how bad the other candidate is, or how good or bad candidates look in face-to-face confrontations. That can kind of tedious, argumentative immaturity is on television every day, and will certainly be asserted in good or bad political ads.
Some of what we need to know about the candidates' backgrounds and opinions was clearly evident in the relaxed atmosphere of the individual forum. Party conventions aside -- from now until the election -- there should be individual forums for each candidate to respond in-depth to single issues, such as larger or smaller government, the economy, energy, taxes, national security, foreign policy, world conflicts, the environment, and these perilous times of terrorism. Then voters will decide who is most qualified for the most important job in the United States. Our future may very well depend on it. Unfortunately, the highly-partisan two-party system seldom, if ever, provides us with the most qualified candidates for any elective office. And that's no way to run our country.