Monday, November 21, 2011

Enough, Already, With The Debates

Enough, Already, With The Debates
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet

I am not a debater… never have been.  Although I have been speaking publicly since the age of nine, I hate debates.

You may have noticed that I DO tend to favor commentaries.  In a commentary I am allowed to express my views completely, without interruption, and then sit back and wait for the fur to fly. 

I have no interest in arguing my positions or opinions.  Once stated -- that’s it!   I don’t argue.  Its not worth the time and effort necessary to sway someone else’s opinion my way.  I simply don’t care if you disagree with me.   Once my personal deliberations are complete and I make my opinions known, I am finished.  (I know the shrinks would have a field day with this!) 

All this leads me to the so-called debates between the GOP candidates seeking the Republican Party nomination for President of the United States.  Only a child would confuse the debates with a press conference … for that is all they are … press conferences.  They are “gotcha” sessions.  Little is learned from them though they make for grand spectacle.

We Americans have a strange way of choosing whom we send to Washington to represent us on The Hill and in the Oval Office.  It is more than “passing strange.”

One quality we Americans demand from a candidate that I see nowhere else in the free world is… “purity.”  We conservatives absolutely demand purity in our conservative belief.   We never really get it – but we continue to demand it anyway. 

Election cycle after election cycle we swear we will never “settle” – never choose the lesser of two evils – then we go right ahead and do it anyway.

The debates are really just theatre.  Most conservatives already know whom they want as the nominee long before the first debate.  But we watch and we listen and we wince when the candidates stumble and fumble and make ridiculous mistakes while under the tremendous pressure of millions of viewers – not to mention well-versed questioners (with notes from weeks of research) making every effort possible to trip them up or, in a myriad of ways, make them look foolish. 

Then there is this:  Why are there so many candidates on the stage, anyway?  It is ridiculous.  We all know there are maybe two or three candidates who have even a prayer of a chance at the nomination.  Why not have only those two or three candidates and allow for a more relaxed atmosphere and more time for the candidates to formulate answers in their minds before responding to a question.  It would certainly give the viewers and listeners a bit more insight into the way a candidate thinks.

As a former broadcaster, I have to tell you, in my view; the debates are more for the broadcasters and press than for the electorate.  Its sort of like the Oscars -- Hollywood stars salivating and honoring themselves while preening before the cameras assuring us all of their deep concern for their fellowman.  Malarkey! Hogwash! 

Never, ever, believe the Mainstream Media doesn’t do the very same thing.  They are “stars” in their own right.  If you don’t believe it – ask them! 

I’ve done pressers and news conferences.  I have been the guy with the pad and pencil furiously taking notes as the center of attention babbles on.  I’ve been the guy trying desperately to shove his microphone into the face of some politician, or other, in hopes of catching some rare pearls of wisdom dripping from those esteemed lips. I have been there.   I know a little about how news folks work.  I also know what a bit of public adulation can do to the egos of a few very insecure news personalities. 

The whole debate thing really ought to be dumped.  Rather, a roundtable discussion between the candidates and a few members of the electorate would be far more informative to the public. 

The debates, as they are staged today, are more about entertainment and the star quality of the press corp than they are about genuinely informing the American electorate.

It is a shame, really.  Much COULD be learned -- important stuff, too.  But so long as we stick with the current format of the “debates” the electorate will have to glean their information elsewhere.

And then – there is this:  The GOP debates are the best weapon Obama and the Democratic Party have … at the moment.  There are no Democratic Party debates because Obama has no democratic challenger.  So all the screw-ups, all the mistakes, all the brain freezes, all the “space-outs” are happening to the republican candidates.  It makes them look weak, confused, even a little, well, dumb.  The Mainstream Media, which is in the tank for Obama and the Democratic Party, will play all the screw-ups and glitches of the Republicans to the hilt in order to make their extraordinarily weak President look better. Obama is SOOO bad, it doesn’t take much to make him look better.

In light of all this -- even more debates are in the offing. Wouldn’t it make more sense to STOP DEBATING?  But, hey, this is politics.  Who said it is supposed to make sense? 

J. D. Longstreet

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