Thursday, April 17, 2008

Issues/Smishues: ABC's "Democratic Debate"

Last night's monitored exchange (we like that term better than debate) between Junior Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama was billed as a debate.  Interestingly enough Charles Gibson and George Stephanopolous were also billed as "moderators" with the whole televised argument being chronicled as a "tense debate."  For those of us who were waiting to actually have the two candidates thoroughly address vital policy issues, we had to wait until after Obama's much publicized comments and associations were brought up so that the so called moderators could look "tough" and Clinton could take advantage of him getting the kind of rough treatment she complained of receiving a couple of months ago.  That was nearly an hour of our lives that we'll never get back.

Long sigh.  Prayer for commercial break.  Long sigh again.

Eventually, the conversation (if you want to call it that) sauntered over to the topics of taxes, the economy, Iraq, Iran and Israel.  But this was really just a series of cursory comments that treated these issues as highlights rather than fundamental to America's future.  Clearly the candidates took the questions seriously, but the "debate" was ultimately about politics - not the policy issues that drive them.  We wanted someone to talk about why raising taxes on ANYONE is absolutely necessary to America's financial future - unless we want the entire budget going to Social Security, Medicare and interest on the National Debt by 2050.  We woke ourselves up to hear about what a troop withdrawal would mean in terms of initial damage and the candidates' initial thoughts on how an admitted defeat in Iraq would really affect the U.S.  Yeah, no luck on that either.  We also roused ourselves to see if there would be insertion about the federal government's renewed corporate welfare within and beyond the housing market and what role this will play in the recessed economy.  But apparently that wasn't as important as flagged lapel pins, truthful comments about bitter Americans, and the most blatantly naked appeals to superdelegates we've seen in a while.

The campaigns of both candidates, along with other sources that get away with labeling themselves "journalistic news outlets", admit that the focus has turned to white, blue-collar voters and who they are most likely to cast their ballots for once it's time to go the polls.  Onyx Cranium finds it interesting that after all this hoopla over racial diversity, gender empowerment and low key revolution, we're back to worrying about the same group of people. It may sound cynical, but we've become exhausted from NOT being surprised.

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