Saturday, September 27, 2008

Dueling Bracelets

The DAR ladies will be downstairs shortly for a meeting. I figure I should hide up here in my office or they'll eat me. This turns out to be a good thing since it gives me a chance to write and, just as important, they usually leave good snacks after they're done.

With McCain having decided that it might be a good idea after all for the president to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time, the first debate of the election season is now in the record books. Everybody's offering post-debate analysis, so here's mine.

First, as with so many debates in recent years, the first thing we seem to obsess over is, "who won?" I've never understood that. It's political punditry for people with MTV attention spans, focusing on some imaginary number of points scored while forgetting all about the details of everything that was said.

Last night's debate was a good one for both candidates, though I doubt anything said changed anyone's mind. Obama and McCain were both solid, and the points, counter-points and fact-twisting seemed evenly divided. Both candidates pointed out they were wearing bracelets in honor of a fallen soldier, proving the line between compassion and demagoguery can be a thin one indeed. Kudos to Jim Lehrer for repeating questions when they weren't answered the first time, something most political reporters seem unwilling to do.

Thursday's vice-presidential debate should be as cynically entertaining as it will be informative. It will be the longest Gov. Palin has been exposed to those pesky questions without her script. After her less-than-impressive (a nicer phrase than "occasionally insipid") performance in her interview with Katie Couric, it should be interesting to see how she manages against the formidable debating skills of Sen. Biden. (My son's recent comment on the previous post said it better than I could ever hope to. I'd written at first about Palin that only time would tell if she would stand up under closer scrutiny. His elegantly concise response: "Time told. :-(" )If nothing else, we can keep ourselves amused by counting how many times she says you can see Russia from Alaska while claiming to have opposed the "Bridge to Nowhere." At first I had thought her candidacy would, if nothing else, give credibility to wearing glasses, the way Ronald Reagan once made it fashionable to wear brown suits in the business environment. Now that we're getting to know more about her, even that's not working out.

A final thought as we prepare to watch the remaining debates. Around this time of the election season, we frequently hear how most people who watched the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debates on television said that Kennedy won, and that most who listened to it on the radio said that Nixon won. I wasn't there, or at least wasn't listening at the tender age of 1, but I can accept it as probably true. What I don't accept is the point people usually are trying to make when they bring it up, that Kennedy's "win" was due primarily to his good looks. I don't know about you, but when I'm hiring someone for an important job, I don't just want to hear what he's saying. I think it's just as important to see his eyes when he's saying it. Think of serving on a jury and only hearing what a witness is saying. Now think of how much more you have to work with if you get to see him saying it. I don't expect this will put that Kennedy-Nixon thing to rest because people seem to like it too much. It's just something we may want to consider as we make an important decision we're going to have to live with for a long time.



7 comments:

rdautumnsage said...

I'm staying on the far side of the room when it comes to the presidential debate...why? Simply because it's amazing how strongly opinionated people have been of late. (Not you, you actually gave everyone a fair shake here). The objective of everyone being allowed their opinions and choices - is overrun with zealots. This is the first time, I've witnessed such strong convictions in a presidential ballot.

The thing is...are the blinders on? Are they hearing the issues and solutions being offered, or are they still stuck in the race/gender mindset. It does no good to make history, if it turns out to be the choice that defeats our country. I truly wish people wouldn't see Palin as a woman, and the color of Obama's skin...we both know that isn't going to happen.

Paul(my other half) said the debate was definitely a reference moment to Kennedy. But he said it was more like a debate with Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. (Hugs)Indigo

imjacobnotjames said...

Yay, an update!

I don't have much to add since I was only paying attention 70% of the time and even then I did not understand a decent amount of it, but in terms of appearance -- Obama at least cut down on his "uhhh"'s for this speech, and McCain REALLY needs to stop doing that creepy "old man smirk" and the even creepier "old man chuckle". They looked, at least to me, pretty sinister next to Obama.

I was emailing mom during the debate and all she had to say was "I can't understand what they're saying because they always talk over each other. Haven't they ever heard of waiting their turn?!" - Such a mother. :)

Jake

imjacobnotjames said...

Oh, and another thing - were you watching on CNN? What was with that ridiculous graph at the bottom? If you give 10 people of each political "affiliation" little dials, is that really that great of a representative of the population at a whole? Just seemed a bit over-the-top for me.

It's a great thing that McCain solved the economic crisis while in DC so that he was able to attend the debate, seeing as though that was the only circumstance under which he'd attend.

Oh wait.

And did I hear McCain right when he said how, on the behalf of conservatives everywhere, they were sorry to hear about Ted Kennedy (who was already out of the hospital by that point, but even more interesting - are that many conservatives caring for him?), and that we shouldn't spend more on testing Polar Bear DNA? Wonderful pandering with the "Second Holocaust" reference too, huh?

gazker said...

We only got snippets over here, so most of it's real.
Gaz

oldhousegal said...

I have to admit, I only saw a few minutes.  It was just unbearable to watch, with all the scolding and talking over each other.  And as I gather from the post-debate commentary, neither one said anything of substance anyway.  Well, no matter.  I've already decided who I'm voting for and it's probably not hard for you to guess who.  Yeah, I'm doing a write-in for Hillary.  (Ah, such lovely dreams...)

What really upset me this week was Bush's address on the financial crisis, which I made the mistake of watching.  If you replace the words "financial crisis" with "terrorism," I think it's the same address he gave in 2002 before we went into Iraq.  More fear.  More dire consequences if we don't do exactly as he recommends.  My question is this:  Why does he think we believe him anymore?

luddie343 said...

You're completely right, and I remember clearly hearing Nixon's voice and thinking "gee he's in the loop" then JFK, sounding like a pup. (I'm older than you) I watched that debate it made history and is still the imprimatur for a reason. YOU try picturing a President as moronic as McCain would be, then pretend he looks like Abe Lincoln - or Tom Cruise, same thing.  It gets all caught up in aural v. visual input, I really have to say if asked that both MC and Ob lied their heads off and played to the cameras, just as they're expected to.  We like our pols fully functional as they lie like hell.  These debates DO make a diff, since our so-called vote is just our "opinion" the electorate takes into account before annointing a president.  Opinions count.  It's a freekin mess, I hate this crapola.  CATHY
http://journals.aol.com/luddie343/DARETOTHINK/  

dbdacoba said...

Excellent comments on the debate.  Thank you.            DB