Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Stop the Debates Now

I watched all of last night's "debate" between Obama and Clinton on ABC. It was a travesty. The co-hosts were Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopolous. Both were ill-prepared and interested only in trying to needle and embarrass the candidates with scandal-o'-the-week. Charlie Gibson said, in a preface to a question, that every time the capital gains tax is lowered, the government gets more money from the tax, and when it is raised, the government gets less. He said this was a historical fact, and twice threw it at Obama. You could see Obama seconds away from rolling his eyes or lashing out, something like "well, then, let's lower it all the way to zero and let the cash roll in." I thought Tim Russert was bad, but Charlie Gibson's "fact" that lowering capgains tax rates always and necessarily increases revenue was so idiotic. It was based on three tax cuts. Hillary Clinton was spared the brunt of that stupid question. Stephanopolous dug through the last few weeks of "scandals" and kept throwing them out. This all took the first half of the debate. No substance. They also tried to get a 'pledge' out of each candidate not to raise taxes on anyone earning less than $200,000/year. They each said yes, then got confronted with the fact that any plan to fix social security probably means fiddling with the payroll tax or (Obama) raising the cap above $100,000. That was the closest we got to substance, but the moderators seemed more interested in trying to create a youtube moment than teasing out the diferences between them. Stephanopolous proved to be such a hack with his whiny little "gotcha" questions.

The audience was also ordered to be quiet, which begs the question of why there was an audience at all. The interaction works better with an audience. If they laugh at an answer, the candidate instantly knows he or she has to follow up. If they clap, the other one can respond on the fly. It's much better.

Now, I think Clinton did "better" than Obama in the debate. She's more sure on her feet in such settings. You can tell, basically, that she's the challenger. He knows he has more to lose than she does. Fortunately for Obama, I don't think anyone was interested in the debate after the first few minutes. I hope they just ditch these events in the future. A good interview would be much better.


Dr. Strangelove said...

Sadly, I read this was the most watched debate yet. Not sure if that counted people who, like LTG suggests, just tuned in for the first few minutes. Sounds like an awful debate--glad I missed it.

USWest said...

I didn't watch it. But I am getting the impression that Obama was given "character" debilitating questions. Is that case?

If so, then I hear a sound bite from a speech given my Obama a few days later where he was sort of lamenting the crap that came his way. He is right to lament that, just like HRC was right to lament it back when she got tossed a lot of crap. Only then, she was accused of playing the woman card. Guess it is OK, though,if it's Obama who's bitching.

Then again, I may be giving an ill informed impression since I didn't see or hear the debate. I do find it interesting now that Obama's camp is lowering expectations by saying that they don't expect to win Penn.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Question (twice) from Stephanopolous to Obama: "Do you think Jeremiah Wright loves America as much as you do?"
Hillary never got anything as showstoppingly ridiculous as that. I know the HRC campaign has been claiming for months that Obama got special treatment at the debates, but I am not really sure what that was based on.

Dr. Strangelove said...

The conventional wisdom is that Hillary was given a harder time in most previous debates. As far as I can tell, Obama was pelted with the lion's share of the crap this time. I sincerely hope there will be no more debates... They serve no good purpose anymore.

History Buff said...

The only debate I would like to see is on science issues and I think that can wait for the general election.

Dr. Strangelove said...

That's interesting... Why science issues? And which ones in particular?

The Law Talking Guy said...

I know what the "conventional wisdom" is, but Clinton was constantly trying to stoke that perception in the press. She complained, for example, that she was asked too many questions first. I do not recall forming any such opinion when I watched the debates. Any particular questions you remember that back up that conventional wisdom?

History Buff said...

I'd like to hear about their stands on how to deal with Global Warming, what types of things they would sponsor. I'd also like to know if they would let the scientific community do their job and stop making it a political issue. I'd like to hear their opinions on stem cell research. And I would like to see initiatives for R&D on a lot of different challenges that we are facing, sort of like the going to the moon speech that Kennedy gave.