Thursday, April 17, 2008

Debating the debate: Hello? McFly? Has anyone been paying attention?

I wasn't going to write anything about last night's debate, but after traveling around the blogosphere as well as writing some comments here, I find that I do have just one point I'd like to make.

Where have all these outraged viewers been all season?

I tuned in to the debates halfway through without expecting much — and I guess the fact that I didn't feel compelled to watch from the beginning says something right there. The part of the debate that I saw could be characterized as (1) questions consisting mostly of issue-oriented topics, and (2) both candidates were taken to task a few times by the moderators when they seemed to avoid giving a straight answer.

Over coffee this morning I said to Un-named Partner that I thought it was a pretty good debate (compared with the rest of the debates this season), and that Clinton seemed composed, while Obama seemed tired. I also said I thought the moderators were tougher than they have been in the past, which is also how many saw it overseas and here at home. Little did I know that there was a storm brewing amongst the Obama supporters over planted questions, and "trivial" topics.

Where have all these outraged viewers been all season?

As a Dennis Kucinich supporter, I watched in disbelief as Kucinich waited patiently to get asked a question, only to have Tim Russert ask him about UFOs. The man is leading a movement to impeach the President of the United States for taking us into an illegal war, and you ask him about UFOs?

Where have all these outraged viewers been all season?

In the Republican debates, Ron Paul was regularly shunned and otherwise ignored. While I don't agree with much of what he says, he was a candidate on the debate stage. And deserved equal time. But the mainstream media ignored him. The mainstream media ran the show.

Where have all these outraged viewers been all season?

So you'll have to pardon my lack of sympathy for Barack Obama having to answer questions that some people think are "trivial." These topics of who he associates with and choices he has made in his past are an issue to many people, and while they may not have merited 45 minutes of primetime coverage, I am astounded that anyone is surprised it happened.

Where have all these outraged viewers been all season?

photo credit Jae Hong


Mauigirl said...

I wrote about this after the very first debate I watched (and to be honest I haven't watched any since, including last night's) - it was absurd - hyped up like the Superbowl, and nothing like the formal, fair format that we used to have in debates in the past elections. News and entertainment are so mixed now that you can't even have a regular debate without it being an Event more similar to a WWF Wrestling match than a political debate.

I think all of the candidates should boycott these so-called debates in the future.

I totally agree about Paul and Kucinich. In the old days there would have been a very set formula and they would have gotten equal time. Not anymore.

Sue J said...

O.K.! So that two of us! Where's everyone else been?

You are very right about the WWF: I had a bad feeling when I saw last night's debate promoted as "Clinton vs. Obama"

Mary Ellen said...

I think I'm probably one of the few that have watched every debate. If I didn't catch them as they aired live, I could usually pick it up on C-Span later. From what I understand, ABC wouldn't allow that.

Anyway, I have to cringe when I hear that the Obama supporters have massed and are going after ABC for what they perceive is an unfair debate. When Hillary was asked if she preferred diamonds or pearls, I didn't hear the outrage about that. When Tim Russert went at Hillary like a bat out of hell, not one peep from the Obama supporters. This time, Obama gets his clock cleaned, and they are all up in arms.

I'll tell you what was really creepy. I went to look at the Obama site blog and they were going nuts! When I read "The Obama Nation will take down ABC and their affiliates." I felt like I was in Nazi Germany and could visualize an angry mob of brown shirts ready to tear down the doors of the ABC studio! And since when did Obama get a whole "nation"???

I know many of us has complained about some of the debates. I was really angry when Kucinich was barred from most of them. Now, it seems that the Obama supporters think they could use their strength to "take down" whoever doesn't show Obama the love. No wonder the Super Delegates are freaked out! They've already been threatened with losing their seats in office if they don't back Obama. This seems to be a mob mentality that is very dangerous.

So many have commented that the issues weren't discussed last night. Granted, in the beginning they discussed Ayers, Wright, and the flag pin. I think the Ayers subject is a legitimate concern. The Wright thing is not going to go away and Obama had better get used to it because the GOP is going to use it to portray Obama as anti-American. The GOP will also use the flag pin, and although I think it's stupid, this is the stuff that conservative voters, especially in the South are interested in. Obama got a flag pin from some military guy at a rally the other day and Obama made a big deal about wearing it. Why doesn't he just wear the darned thing, especially since a soldier gave it to him. He had the perfect opportunity to wear it last night and if he was asked about it, he could have given the story of where he got it and scored some points with military families. That was just another dumb move by an inexperienced candidate.

And for OBama to whine about how long it took to get to the issues, he should have been happy it took that long! He did terrible with the issues and Hillary was right on target and looked calm and cool when she answered the questions. That woman has an amazing gift of recall when it comes to facts and figures.

I think he was also at a disadvantage because he was given the questions first and he couldn't play the old "me too" game that he's played in the past.

I liked watching Hillary's smile when he was struggling with the capital gains tax question. He obviously had no idea what he was talking about.

None of Obama's supporters are going to sway to Hillary at this point, and visa/versa. It's the undecideds they are aiming at and Hillary seemed to score big with them. I hope it holds until election day.

OBama is also whining about Hillary's ads. Here's a guy who has had a zillion ads out for the last month, outspending her almost three times over, and he's whining about the few ads she has up. He's such a spoiled child.

Sue J said...

As for the relevance of Wright, Rezko, and Ayers, I had dinner last night with my parents and my 84-year old super wonk dad said "People do tend to judge you by the company you keep."

It's relevant.

Linda Sama said...

"As a Dennis Kucinich supporter, I watched in disbelief as Kucinich waited patiently to get asked a question, only to have Tim Russert ask him about UFOs. The man is leading a movement to impeach the President of the United States for taking us into an illegal war, and you ask him about UFOs?"

you're preaching to the choir, sister. exactly.

when I get back from my weekend road, am blogrolling ya...

Nan said...

Ditto. There have been a few outraged and/or disgusted viewers taking the networks to task all along for their miserable performances in setting up the debates, but nothing like the ohmigod-we're-so-appalled uproar this time.

Sue J said...

Linda sama, thanks! Glad you agree! i checked out your blog and I hope you have an awesome weekend!

Nan, it has amazed me how livid Obama's supporters were over this debate, when all the of the others were so lame, as well. It would've been nice if the American voter were this outraged at unfair and irrelevant treatment of any candidate on stage, and not just concerning the one they support.

Are we really that narrow minded?

Mauigirl said...

BTW, I do agree that the earlier debates were just as horrible against Hillary.