Once again, I have to agree with Susan Reimer — presidential debates are truly painful to watch ("No debate," Oct. 18). I watched the first 15 minutes of the first debate, 3-4 minutes of the vice presidential debates but chose not to watch the most recent debate. So-called reality TV is pretty pathetic, and the debates certainly come pretty close to being simply another reality TV program.

I would however, extend my criticism to the whole campaign process, which seems to be endless. We want an informed electorate, but this has become a circus at the national, state and local levels. Shaking a politician's hand is certainly not going to help me make up my mind as to who will do the best job. The time and money spent is scandalous, and these politicians are simply not as fascinating as they apparently think they are.

I don't want to see more of them — I want to see much less of them. I don't want them to knock on my door, and I certainly don't need them to wave at me from the street corner. The phony backslapping is just that — phony. Is there any way one can opt out of this relentless torture? I simply want to vote in peace. The idea that the public is so easily manipulated is offensive, but I will concede that maybe there are some people who are energized by the frenzied craziness of these political campaigns — just like reality television.

Edward McCarey McDonnell, Baltimore