Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Debates - Round 2. Better...but not best.

This is a political post. 

Romney don't look happy. Image via Tom Joad, Facebook.

I realize that I'm expecting way too much, but I don't think I'll be satisfied until in the middle of the debate, the President just does a Joe Biden and calls his opponent out. Or even better,  just leans back, throws his head to the sky and in the fashion of almost friendly arguments everywhere yells "You must be out your goddamn mind!"

Expecting. Way. Too. Much.

What I found most interesting about the debate this time wasn't actually in the debate, but that the moderators of late are exercising journalism, asking followups, correcting the speakers. In today's partisan news cycle, where the news acts more like propaganda to see journalism is refreshing...twice in one year.

I say that the journalism was interesting because the people in the arena calling themselves undecided are apparently the people in the country who don't do serious political analysis, or even simple political analysis. Those questions weren't hard questions, or questions that even made the candidates think. Despite claims that the two choices aren't really choices, the two candidates couldn't be more different. The idea that you're still weighing options mean the vast majority of the undecided have discarded everything but the one issue that affects them most - jobs, healthcare, abortion, whatever. They're essentially flipping a coin to say if they hold fast their convictions or drink the respective kool-aid, from the point of view of whichever direction it is that you are coming from.

I was also interested in that the candidates seems to rattled by a format they should be familiar with. Two minutes, that's it. Both Obama and Romney found reason to keep speaking past their time. I realize these were impromptu questions (kinda) but I still think the moderator should be able to turn off a microphone after two minutes and thirty seconds, but that's just me.

In reality Mitt has changed the entire concept of debating. Since truth, facts or explanations are no longer required, and everything is spin and self promotion, what does one do, short of kicking the opponent in the teeth? Because of this there were times when neither candidate engaged the crowd, to busy verbally kicking one another or promoting themselves. And that's bad for us all. That's not the purpose of a debate.

Does the President need a debate coach. I realize that the President isn't culturally allowed to do what Joe Biden did, or go HAM on him, or even play a smoothed out Katt Williams, but I think he can still do better than he did. Case in point: when he has to check Romney, he needs to state the man is wrong, state why is one or two sentences, and move on. He should know what Romney thinks are the pressure points by now...and his team should know which ones are lurking. Have the responses memorized. He also needs to work in a few key buzzwords and terms he can repeat over and over, like his opponent does. I mean his staff writes great speeches, do they need help for snappy answers? We're available.

Though this week, two questions presented themselves that make me wonder are any of us really listening?

First, Stephen Colbert asked the question (in a skit while debating himself) that if Romney is going to lower tax rates by twenty percent, then close loopholes and deductions to make the reduction revenue neutral, then why lower the tax rate? And second, if Romney claims the government doesn't create jobs, then why is he promising to create twelve million in four years if he's elected? And I'm not even a reporter, you would think more than just a TV comedian and myself would think of these questions.

Are we really this slow as a people?

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