So I’m pretty much a political junkie, and I could barely stand to watch the entirety of the Presidential “debate” last night. It was simply a terrible waste of an opportunity for America to learn more about the two candidates for this country’s highest office.
This was billed as a “townhall style” which meant that occasionally a person from the audience asked the same canned questions that were indistinguishable from those posed by Tom Brokaw, the official moderator. The questions were almost entirely policy focused, and didn’t ask anything specific about the statements made or criticisms levied by the opposing campaign, just the same broad based questions so the candidates gave the same canned answers and offered the same jabs at their opponents.
I feel like the primary debates for both parties did a much better job in encouraging revealing exchanges. Moderators would ask pointed questions about statements a specific candidate had made and give them the opportunity, and obligation, to respond.
Senator Obama benefited from the utterly boring debate because he’s ahead so an event with no impact is better for him than for Senator McCain. He also, frankly, has been given much more of a pass by the press on issues of policy and on his record.
Why is it that no moderator has asked for actual examples of working across party lines or of going against your party, and instead just accepts his vacuous claim to be a centrist who works in a bipartisan fashion? McCain has to point out that Obama has the Senate’s most liberal voting record, and many commentators act as if that’s out of bounds. That should be a totally legitimate question. Does he regret any of those votes?
Why is it that he has never been asked about his schizophrenic statements about trade? Does he really think NAFTA was a mistake? Or what he will do-beyond another round of tax hikes on the rich-to address Social Security’s shortfall?
Why is it that no one asks him about his experience in Chicago and working with tens of millions of dollars to promote “education reform,” which apparently had absolutely no positive effect on that school system and instead when into the sink hole of the education bureaucracy?
Senator McCain failed to make a positive case for many of his policies and expose Senator Obama’s weaknesses. It boggles my mind that he won’t defend the corporate tax cuts. Why not say something like “Senator Obama, I’ve fought against greed and excess, but it’s important to remember that corporations-even big corporations-are not America’s enemy. They are job creators and drivers of growth. You know why I want to lower corporate tax rates? Because they are among the highest in the developed world and are driving corporations to leave our great country and export our jobs. I want to stop corruption and bad business practices, but I also want to encourage good companies that create jobs to stay here, and reducing the monstrous tax burden is an important part of that and will benefit everyone who is has a job or is seeking employment in America.”
But the real failure here was the creation of the just awful debate format and the completely vacuous, boring questions posed by the moderator. What a shame.