Jim Dey | Game show host chairs political 'conversation'

Jim Dey | Game show host chairs political 'conversation'

This is a wild year for politicians and politics, one that exceeds the usual fratricide.

Here are some examples from both inside and outside of Illinois:

Category: Politics

Answer: Moderator.

Question: Who presides over the political debates involving Republican and Democratic candidates?

If that seems backward, it should. How else does one begin a story about "Jeopardy" TV show host Alex Trebek moderating a debate between Pennsylvania's Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and his Republican challenger, Scott Wagner.

Trebek — TV's king of the answer-and-question format — presided over an Oct. 1 debate in Hershey, Pa.

He brought an unusual style to the confrontation. Watchdog.org reports that their analysis showed Trebek did "41 percent of the talking," Wagner 32 percent and Gov. Wolf "brought up the rear at 27 percent."

Trebek told the audience the program would be a "conversation," not a traditional debate.

Abandoning the moderator's traditional reserved role, Trebek gigged candidate Wagner by challenging his suggestion that he and Wolf debate in each of Pennsylvania's 67 counties.

"You knew that was not going to happen. Now, were you just having fun, or were you trying to stick it to him to put him on defense?" Trebek asked.

At another point in the contest, Trebek questioned the candidates' constant attacks on each other.

"If we ... were to believe everything you've said about each other, we'd have trouble voting for either one of you. We'd go into the voting booth, and we'd say, 'Oh, my God, where's the line that says ... 'none of the above?'"

Did the audience enjoy it? Who knows. But they booed when Trebek announced the hour-long program was over.

"No booing or hissing," Trebek told the audience.

"I think they were booing you," Gov. Wolf told Trebek.


Sections (2):Columns, Opinion