The republican candidates seem to have either a death-wish or are naively under the impression that virtually free public exposure is cost-effective vis-à-vis campaign expenses with regard to what have been labeled “debates,” numbering about eight now and comprising a traveling circus that trivializes both them and the process. The latest was essentially a shouting match undoubtedly savored by its sponsor, CNN, as a prime example of bickering wannabes who lack even the social graces, much less the intellect to govern the country. This, at a time when the nation is headed by a sophomoric administration and sliding toward oblivion.
Disclaimer: I felt from the start that the “debates” (or whatever they are) were hugely inappropriate at any time a year before the election in 2012, and that the fewer the better. I listened to maybe ten minutes of one of the first ones and finally about the last half of the most recent one on 18 October. However, that was enough enlightenment, especially as informed by my reading about them or hearing about them in the media, most of which wallows in the slimy process of using the “debates” to slime the republicans, who, however, do a masterful job of that themselves. That was certainly the case on the eighteenth. The notion that seven or eight people will have the time to discuss a given topic – much less a plethora of them – in a two-hour (sans commercials) time-frame is loony-tunes…not worth the time.
Largely as a result of the “debates,” the media talking-heads, pollsters, commentators and campaign gurus have made it a point to handicap the candidates, much as the odds-makers do with respect to sports. The public is invited to keep score, being forced in the process, of course, to try to separate fact from fiction with respect to not only the assertions of the wannabes but also the agendas of the various and assorted media and polling operations, which seem able to come up with data satisfying a given agenda. So…the democrats have pollsters, the republicans have pollsters, the newspapers have pollsters, the politicians have pollsters, etc., ad infinitum.
The media advertises which candidate will be the “target” before each debate, depending upon what the polls are showing in a given time-frame and/or what one or a bunch of the candidates have said lately. Perry has been a target recently, though the media seemed to believe that Cain would be the target on the eighteenth since his 9-9-9 plan has been much in the news lately, not that there is such a thing as a 9-9-9 plan because not even Cain seems to know exactly what it is. Actually, it’s a gimmick purporting to lower income taxes, making everyone happy, while at the same time adding a 9% sales tax to the sales taxes levied already in 45 states. It’s a “rob Peter to pay Paul” scheme that fools no thinking person.
The shallowness that marks the “debates” was enhanced by Brian Williams in MSNBC’s crack at the republicans when he questioned Texas governor Perry about the governor’s sleep habits vis-à-vis the executions in Texas, the obvious implication being that Perry was uncivilized at best and an outright murderer at worst. This was silliness to the nth degree by an “anchor” earning manifold millions each year but capable, nevertheless, of coming up with something as wacko as that. (I heard that one myself in my brief surfing activity, and am still laughing.) Perry could have asked Williams how he slept since General Electric, 49%-owner of NBC, paid no taxes last year.
Romney has repeatedly demanded that Perry “repudiate” a statement made by a Baptist preacher and Perry-supporter to the effect that Mormons are not Christians. Perry has said he disagrees with the preacher, which, by definition, is a repudiation of the statement. Romney, in other words, doesn’t know the meaning of the word “repudiate.” What Romney actually wants Perry to do is repudiate the preacher, i.e., cut off all connection. One of the definitions of repudiate is “to refuse to have anything to do with.” To make a demand like that is exponential silliness, but this is the level on which the “debates” are posited.
These silly “debates” are the product of an absolutely bankrupt/corrupt primary system, with state party-organizations, like schoolyard second-graders, now trying to “jump the line” to go first. Now, it appears that New Hampshire will opt for its SACRED primary to be held in December, with all the media biggies and candidates trudging through the sleet/snow/cold to gather in bars and town-hall meetings to cogitate and deliver oracular pronouncements. They should all be happy for Florida to go first for perfectly obvious reasons.
The old party-conventions, complete with smoke-filled backrooms, were eminently superior to the current process. Absent a return to that, all primaries should be held on the same day, probably about May 1. This would allow these confrontations called “debates” to take place between January and May, if necessary – and most of them are not. The actual winners are the media folks who manipulate the wannabes and make money off the mostly meaningless exercises.