Presidential Debate Ploys – Distractions and Other ‘Facts’
Another huge turnout for the presidential debate Tuesday night as 65.6 million viewers tuned in to watch what continues to be likened to a political sporting war between opponents set to battle to the death. This political “blood bath” is garnering a lot of attention, and a fair share of distracting antics that seem to be muddying the important issues.
Is it just me or do these political debates seem to lean evermore toward high end entertainment and personality contests, with less emphasis on proven facts and thoughtfully articulated plans of action for the future and next four crucial years of leadership in the United States of America?
Who won? The most begged question of each debate appears to not have a definition of what winning actually entails. Is this gauged by best comeback ability and witty rhetoric, combined with skirting of questions and dancing around the subject at hand? Well of course, after all this is politics, right?
And no matter which corner your guy’s in, you’re sure to find a news station that airs ratings in his favor. Even one’s aimed more at entertaining rather than reporting, but hey, that’s media for you, right?
The day of the debate Rush Limbaugh did a play by play strategic moves list for Romney, forecasting the most likely strategy of the President as well as those of Candy Crowley, both of whom he shows similar distaste for.
Post-debate Stephen Colbert did a satirical number about Romney being the obvious winner because of his lack of stool sitting experience – bringing up a comical point a Fox News segment covered on Romney’s behalf, asserting that only people who drink at bars know how to sit on stools – and then stating that Romney’s Mormon roots were obviously the cause of his struggling with the stool, despite practicing for many hours to learn the difficult task.
After following the various news segments, enjoying all the skits, hearing about the polls showing a clear winner – even with conflicting results across the board – I just decided this time I would trash the video segment of the debate, skip watching the body language manifestos of each candidate and simply READ the transcript. It’s a funny thing how your ability to discern substance amidst chaos seems to strengthen in the absence of distracting escapades.
My findings? Well, it won’t impress either side I’m afraid. Both candidates show clear political-savvy of the kind that seems to be all that matters anymore. Substance took a back seat to this dog and pony show and both men at times seemed to be unable or unwilling to directly address questions brought up.
Mitt Romney won the first question in the coin toss which was asked by a college student who wanted to know what, if anything, Romney could do to assure future college grads a better chance at getting a job. Starting out strong Governor Romney seemed to understand the dilemma and stated that he had knowledge of this issue, that half of all college graduates were leaving school without ability to find a job, this Romney said, was unacceptable. He continued by sharing details of a conversation he had with one student who had explained a day in the life, “I’ve got my degree. I can’t find a job. I’ve got three part- time jobs. They’re just barely enough to pay for my food and pay for an apartment. I can’t begin to pay back my student loans.”
Romney then attempts to answer the question, but after reading it.. I must admit I’m still a little confused as to the conclusion of the matter (this portion taken from Fox News transcript of the second debate)
“So what we have to do is two things. We have to make sure that we make it easier for kids to afford college…
more debt and less jobs. I’m going to change that. I know what it takes to create good jobs again. I know what it takes to make sure that you have the kind of opportunity you deserve. And kids across this country are going to recognize, we’re bringing back an economy.
It’s not going to be like the last four years. The middle-class has been crushed over the last four years, and jobs have been too scarce. I know what it takes to bring them back, and I’m going to do that, and make sure that when you graduate — when do you graduate?
COLLEGE STUDENT: 2014.
ROMNEY: 2014. When you come out in 2014, I presume I’m going to be president. I’m going to make sure you get a job. Thanks Jeremy. Yeah, you bet.”
Huh? Did he give any details of how he would go about implementing that fantastic idea? Or did he simply state a wonderful awareness of a problem.. a serious problem that he will genuinely be able to resolve – details not included. That sounds just beautimuss (yes, I made up that word) Governor Romney, but to the point – Americans want to know why and how your going to be able to fix it. The how matters, does it not?
This was also exhibited in his purposeful skirting of the question posed by President Obama directly relating to why he would not allow a different scale for taxing amongst the smaller elite wealthy who pay the lowest tax percent, in relation to the majority middle to low income who pay the highest tax percent. With the economy and the deficit looking so impressive these days (<insert sarcasm) Americans want to know where help can come from, and want to know where the loyalties of each candidate lie when resolving where it should not come from.
Just don’t start changin’ your voting views yet. President Obama is just as talented in the art of saying nothing at all while speaking full sentences. His inability to concisely defend his foreign relations decisions when questioned about the State Department refusing extra security for the embassy in Benghazi, Libya was less than stellar, considering there has been so much heat generated from the crisis. Obama’s self portrayal as lower and middle class champion is all well and good, but Americans want to know that we aren’t being crippled globally by weak leadership abroad.
The next and final debate takes place Monday night at Lynn (ph) University in Boca Raton, Florida. If you’d like to know the guts of the debate without having to wade through senseless rhetoric and bravado, might I suggest you get a copy of the transcript (both Fox and CNN will have one) and keep it narrowed down to simply reading what was said.
Elections are in 3 weeks people! Let’s know the facts of what was said, not what was said in the most entertaining manner. Know your candidate and his opponent well enough to be able to anticipate his next move. Know whether that move is one you can support in light of ones you do not support.