Today on September 26 is the 56th anniversary of a milestone in American politics: the 1960 John F. Kennedy-Richard M. Nixon nationally televised presidential campaign debates. This was the first of four debates leading up the election, which Kennedy narrowly won. Watch the first installment here from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.
In August, we remember perhaps the most historical debate tournament of the 20th Century. This debate tournament featured 11 rounds of debate, over the course of one month in 1968 during the Republican and Democratic Presidential Conventions, televised on national television, featured two of the most prominent "celebrity intellectuals" of the 20th century representing the Democrats and Republicans, and what many state 'You can trace all modern political TV battles back to this one moment in 1968" or as Vidal stated "We created a monster." And recently made into a Hollywood Movie, "The Best of Enemies." While recent Presidential debates as well as televised debates in general have been criticized for growing lack of civility and personal attacks - this is not a new trend. The Vidal-Buckley debates of over 40 years ago show the more things change, the more they stay the same.