With fall coming on and the use of ghosts and witches as lawn decorations, we all know what time it is. That’s right! It’s presidential debate season again! And in case you missed it, here’s the complete debate. Well, mostly complete, anyway. There are some sound issues, particularly at the beginning. And the YouTube page refers to “Barack Omama.”
Now, I always enjoy the debates, but I have to wonder about their effectiveness. Has anyone really ever been swayed to one candidate or the other based on a debate? By now, we pretty much know the differences between the candidates, and they’re just going to reiterate them. There’s also the general problem I have with debates, which is that they’re often more about presentation than substance. People are always talking about who won the debate, and in this case it looks like Mitt Romney is the favorite. But what does that really mean? Probably that he seemed more prepared and confident, with President Obama’s trademark pauses in the middle of sentences probably not helping matters much in that respect. While I definitely think Obama was right much more of the time, he didn’t look as comfortable up there. Maybe it’s because Romney has participated in debates more recently. I don’t know, and like I said I’m not sure it really matters, as most of us have already picked a candidate. Is there anybody out there saying, “Well, I WAS for Obama, but since Romney did better in this debate, I’ll vote for him instead”? By the way, did you notice that, whenever they showed Romney’s reaction when Obama was talking, he was smiling? What was up with that? And what about his rudeness to the moderator? Both he and Obama went way over their allotted time for each question (what politician doesn’t?), but Obama struck me as more apologetic about it, while Romney kept bullying Jim Lehrer.
One advantage a debate does have is that each participant can respond directly to the other. Did the participants in this particular debate take advantage of that? Well, sometimes. I do think Obama should have better addressed Romney’s accusations about cutting $716 billion from Medicare. On the other hand, he did some other things well in this regard. For instance, I appreciated that he called Romney out on his definition of small businesses, considering how often pretty much every politician uses this term without defining it.
I still don’t fully understand how Romney can talk up his health care plan for Massachusetts while condemning basically the same thing on the federal level, but his excuse is that it should be left to the states. According to him, pretty much everything should either be up to the states or private industry. Pass the buck much, Mitt? And why wouldn’t the Massachusetts plan work in other states? I think we have to be wary when someone is that obsessed with letting states decide everything, what with civil rights and all. I also see a certain amount of Romney’s typical assumption of privilege here. Not everyone can move to another state if the one they’re in doesn’t have good policies, and not everyone can drop their insurance plan and choose another at their own discretion. Really rich people can, but Romney admitted himself that they’ll do well no matter who’s in charge. Oh, and why is this “unelected board” that he’s so obsessed with making health care decisions bad, but private insurers doing the same is apparently acceptable? My take on the whole government vs. private industry thing is that neither can be trusted entirely, but the government has to be at least SOMEWHAT more responsible to the people, and doesn’t have to be concerned with making a profit. That said, the government is so much under the thumb of big business that I’m not sure there’s always a difference. Oh, and how can Romney say he won’t cut jobs while also wanting to reduce the size of the government and eliminate funding for PBS (no matter how much he likes Big Bird)? Wouldn’t doing these things affect people’s jobs? There seems to be a running theme here that the Republicans don’t consider government jobs to be real jobs, even though most of them are held by private citizens and not politicians. You might as well say that religious freedom is important and then turn around and imply we all believe in the same God. Oh, yeah. He DID do that.
At least it ended happily, according to this picture I found on Tumblr: