Debating Debates

So after watching the first presidential debate of the year between President Obama and Governor Romney, I came away with only one feeling.  Nothing at all.  There was no major breakout moment for either.  Nothing was said that we haven’t heard before from either campaign during all the speeches that have been given… including the conventions.  And it only allowed the voters to actually hear half of the presidential candidates.

Seeing both candidates up close, I’m now even more certain that neither one of them are all that different.  They both hit up talking points and just changed how they sounded overall.  In the end, it was nothing we haven’t heard in previous elections.  They both said they were going to cut the budget and reduce the deficit.  Big deal.  Did we honestly expect one of them to stand there and say that he was just going to go on a massive spending spree and didn’t care?  If there is going to be a debate, how about asking them something a little deeper than that.  Sure, our federal budget and our deficits are a bit deal, but at least ask a question where there can at least be a debate on the subject.  We all expect a candidate to say that he’s for cutting the deficit just as much as they keep saying they want to lower taxes.  How often do you hear a candidate saying he wants to raise taxes… with the exception of President Obama saying he wants to raise it on the top 2%?  Both of these are softball questions because we all know what the answer is going to be.

So we have Obama and Romney standing on this stage acting like they are debating and giving Americans a real choice when they are only half of the actual candidates.  The other two candidates were purposely left out of the debates by the political parties of the other two.  Make sense?  The Democratic and Republican parties have made it almost impossible for any third party (or independent) candidate to be included in these debates since Ross Perot’s independent candidacy in 1992.  Here’s the Catch-22 of the issue.  To be included, a candidate must have poll numbers so high in so many polls.  The problem is that they aren’t even included in the polls to start with… and that’s even if they are on enough state ballots to reach 270.  So here’s my rhetorical question… how are they supposed to get to that “magic” poll number when they aren’t even presented as an option to those being polled?

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” Noam Chomsky~

So here we sit with two parties on the stage that have basically set that very stage, and then they present themselves and the issues as if none of us have heard any of it over the past several months.  I mean if we are going to have a debate, then let’s have a real debate.  Let’s get everyone included… that would have been Obama, Romney, Gary Johnson (Libertarian), and Jill Stein (Green).  Let the American people actually see a debate and see actual contrast to the issues instead of the the same old disguised status-quo.  Get them off their talking points and get rid of the softball type of questions where we already know the answer.

Since we do have a couple more of these coming up, I can only hope that the moderators will do a better job with picking questions and topics.  Because of how lackluster and uneventful this debate actually was, I can only hope that the Commission of Presidential Debates will wake up to actually allow all the proper candidates to be on the stage and to stop letting the Democratic and Republican parties control the ordeal.  Let the American people truly decide.  I do believe presidential debates are important in our political process.  They allow us, the voters, to see the candidates side-by-side.  But they have to be better than this one was tonight.  For the sake of our democracy, stop serving it up on a silver platter.  After tonight, I just want my 90-minutes back that I wasted watching this circus show.  For everything that I heard, I could have gone online and read everything they said before they said in half the time.  The time has come for us to redo how we do our debates.  The bar has already been set very low for these candidates by the candidates themselves.  Anyone wonder if the bar will go any lower (or even higher) with the next couple of debates?

With the first debate now over, the media and the pundits (and even the people) are already talking about who won the debate.  My question… who cares who won the debate?  They can all debate this until they are blue in the face, but one thing is quite clear.  The loser in all of this is the American voter who was subject to the 90-minute block of mindless drivel.  It was the same old story and there was nothing added that was new.

“Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it’s from Neptune.” Noam Chomsky~

2 Responses to Debating Debates

  1. Bradly says:

    Well-said, James!

  2. lista de emails says:

    i just wanted to make a quick comment to say i’m glad i found your blog. thanks.

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