Wednesday, February 27, 2008

So, I watched the debate last night.

And I am not impressed. Now, before I go on, I should point out that I am the type of guy who does not care for debates a whole lot. Heck, when it comes to events like debates, the Oscars, etc., I catch the highlights the next morning. Why waste the time when you can get the results without all the extra padding the next morning? Besides, I am a librarian. I can find all the information, analysis, propaganda, and other stuff you did not even know existed when I want it.

So anyways, there I was last night watching Countdown, which is one of the few programs I actually try to watch on a regular basis. Since our daughter is about to go to bed, while the little one gets ready, the missus suggests, "let's just watch the first five minutes or so." It was probably something between we did not feel like changing the channel and what the heck, how bad can it be? We ended up watching the whole thing, if by watching you mean us commenting on what the candidates were saying as they were saying it.

What they actually said was not that much different than anything they have said before. Anyone who has half a brain and at least reads some news will have heard it in one form or another. So, what did catch my eye?

  • Hillary's first question remark. Sorry hun, but whining does not really befit you, especially when after complaining you throw in the "but I am glad to answer it" anyways. What the hell was that anyways? I could not help but wonder if it was actually part of her plan or not. I think the lady does best when she sticks to the issues. When she tries for snark, personal attacking, or playing the victim, it just looks fake and/or desperate. Not very inspiring.
  • Russert's hypotheticals. Another wtf moment. Obama clarified the line about bombing Pakistan, to which I thought, in a mean moment, "why the hell not?" Let's be honest, the so-called ally in the region is a two-bit dictator who is doing the absolute minimum to appease the U.S. and keep any aid coming. The terrorists are in Afghanistan, right next door, and they often hide in Pakistan. Pakistan not cooperating, I probably would say "bomb them, and anyone else who does not like it" for good measure. This is probably why I would never run for any office. I say what I am thinking without reservations. Because, historically, the U.S. has a bad habit of coddling dictators if it somehow "helps" U.S. interests. All you have to do is look at the history of U.S. interventions in Latin America. Oh, and by the way, no mention of Latin America in the debate.
  • The Farrakhan thing. Ok, that seemed to come out of left field, as the saying goes. Obama denounced it, so what the heck else did Russert want him to say? Obama does have a point: the reverend can say and support whoever he wants. It is a free country last I looked. Farrakhan, I believe, is a U.S. citizen, so he would be entitled to vote for whoever. Does not follow the candidate embraces the support. You got your answer Russert, let it go already and move on.
Overall, it was a pretty bland affair. I even grabbed some paper to see if I could outline the debate. Back when I was a debate coach in high school, I could do that pretty well. After a few minutes, I gave up, since they were not saying anything different. On health care, their details are pretty similar. And to be honest, either of them would likely do better than the guy in office now or his party.

One thing that did strike me, now that I have time to think about it, was a point in the debate when the missus and I were talking. She made some observation, I can't recall, and I said, "well, that is a good point, but unfortunately, most people will either miss it or not think about it like we are doing now." And that, in the end, is what really worries me. You see, I don't have a whole lot of faith in people. Most people are like sheep, and they just go along. Throw them a few platitudes, some bread and circuses, and they are happy. They would not think to dig deeper into what a candidate says. Supporters of one or the other are pretty predictable. They are like religious people in way, which live by faith, and faith requires no proof. I require proof, and lots of it. Do I think this may be a historical time? Sure, when will you again get a woman and Black man running for the highest office? However, are they really that much different from the politicians we have now? A colleague of mine said her spouse sees politicians as "those lying sacks of shit." To be honest, I would agree with the guy. Because even if we were to elect someone new to the Presidency, that person has to deal with the Congress, and they are all "lying sacks of shit." Just look at the lack of any serious work they do, the fact they are pretty much beholden to the highest paying lobbyists, who actually write a lot of the legislation for them, and their bickering over minor stuff (baseball steroid hearings anyone?), and you get the feeling it will be business as usual.

So, I was not impressed last night. Like Fox Mulder with his poster in his basement office, "I Want to Believe." But I know how people tend to behave, and I know politicians will be politicians. There are so many problems to fix in this nation, so many miles to go, and I am not hearing anyone even try to address those problems in a significant way. Yes, health care is important. I think you should treat it as a basic human right as is the right to life, education, so on, not as a business transaction. Neither one of them dares say such a thing (neither does the guy on the other side by the way). But what about education? Or any other myriad of things? When are we going to hear something truly meaningful like, "poverty is morally reprehensible, and we will do our best to erase it from the face of our nation?" Now that would be impressive, especially if whoever got elected actually followed up on it without regard to any lobbyist who may get pissed off.

I could probably go on, but I have gone on longer than I usually do when it comes to politics, which I keep close to my vest usually.

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