McCain-Obama, amusing ourselves to death?

So, according to the New York Times Caucus Blog, John McCain proposed to Barack Obama to “join him in 10 joint town-hall-style meetings in which the likely Republican and Democratic nominees could discuss the issues this summer.” The NYT goes on to report that McCain claims to have gotten the idea from an agreement between “President Kennedy and Senator Barry Goldwater to fly around the country together to debate the issues.”

According to an update on the blog,

[t]he Obama campaign said that it finds the idea “appealing” but that it is more interested in the Lincoln-Douglas than the Kennedy-Goldwater agreement, which was of course never acted upon because of the assassination of President Kennedy.

Now that again reminds me of someting totally different: Neil Postman’s famous take on the Lincoln-Douglas exchanges. In his famous work of scathing Kulturkritik, he romantically admires the old days and gives us an idea of what could be ahead:

The first of seven famous debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas took place on August 21, 1858, in Ottowa, Illinois. Their arrangement provided that Douglas would speak first, for one hour; Lincoln would take an hour and a half to reply; Douglas, a half hour to rebut Lincoln’s reply. This debate was considerably shorter than those to which the two men were accustomed.  In fact, they had tangled several times before, and all of their encounters had been much lengthier and more exhausting. For example, on October 16, 1854, in Peoria, Illinois, Douglas delivered a three-hour address to which Lincoln, by agreement, was to respond. When Lincoln’s turn came, he reminded the audience that it was already 5 p.m., the he would probably require as much time as Douglas and that Douglas was still scheduled for a rebuttal. He proposed, therefore, that the audience go home, have dinner, and return refreshed for four more hours of talk. The audience amiably agreed, and matters proceeded as Lincoln had outlined.
What kind of audience was this? Who were these people who could so cheerfully accommodate themselves to seven hours of oratory?

Is this the Obama campaign’s outreach to intellectuals? Anyways, I can’t wait to see CNN broadcast three hour addresses with three hour rebuttals?