I know that many Americans have moved on from the debates, but I’m stuck. Why? What the hell was all of that? 20? Why did we need 20 debates? Why couldn’t we ever get a format that really helped inform the American people about the issues that are facing our country? Why do we continually get these sound bite answers that can fit on a bumper sticker? How is that adequate? The debate process has been so inadequate, I would argue that it has actually detracted from our democracy. I would argue that we learned absolutely nothing except there’s actually a penalty for trying to answer a straight question with a straight answer. Nobody wants to hear a nuanced answer. We are living in the age of American Idol, Survivor and the Amazing Race. Thoughtful hard work gets you voted off the island. Instead, it was the sound bites that got all the applause. Newt Gingrich kept yammering on and on about how dangerous the world was – why couldn’t we have a serious discussion about the dangers that face the United States and how to combat those dangers? I simply don’t understand why we can’t have an intelligent discussion on television. The epitome of this mindless, childish and time wasting event was the one-word answer to describe yourself. Really? One word? What is this – the Dating Game? How does this 7th grade exercise help our democracy? How does this help you and I decide whether any these guys are qualified or have the right ideas to move the country forward?
I find it interesting that the hyper-macho Republicans can cry but Democrats can’t. When Hillary Clinton choked up she got criticism. John Boehner seems to cry every week, yet there is little or nothing about it from the mainstream media. Newt teared up and everyone is talking about the terrible pressure that the candidates are under. Whatever. All I know is that if Barack Obama would have broken down in Iowa, it would have been open season on Obama. The amount of non-stop criticism about how unfit he was to lead the country would have been unprecedented. Fox News would have played the loop non-stop for a week. There would have been a Fox News special on how emotionally unstable he was.
As Newt began to tear up there was someone in the audience (several people, I think) who said, “Awww.” Now contrast this reaction to the Republican debate in which people cheered Perry for executing more than 200 Americans …
Sorry. I’m a political junkie and I admit it, but I really don’t like the State of the Union address. I think that the State of the Union is an excellent opportunity for the president to paint a picture of something that he knows he will never achieve. I want reality. If I want fantasy, I’ll read a book or watch Star Wars for the 23rd time. I just don’t see how you cap spending and invest in infrastructure, new technology and green energy. The whole thing leaves me kind of depressed.
The only part of the whole speech that I really enjoyed was that the seating arrangements prevented the high school pep rally type atmosphere. Also, I think the president speech did not lend itself to the wild applause that we’ve seen over the past 10 or 15 years. That I liked.