Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Debates and the Role of the Moderator

I'm not going to comment on President Obama's debate performance last night other than to congratulate him on a job well done. Personally, I think that Mr. Romney's weaknesses were highlighted (and, yes, the women/binders thing will haunt him), and that President Obama did a good job of highlighting those weaknesses, much as Mr. Romney did in the last debate in highlighting Mr. Obama's weaknesses. They are both coming into this election with some real soft spots that only need a little poking to go viral. At this point we all know that Obama's weakness is the economy, and we also know that Romney's weakness is that he has no concept of how the majority of Americans live.

Mr. Romney seems to be in a time warp, largely I think out of naivete rather than malice--as opposed to someone like Rush Limbaugh. I think that fact that he believes that he was elected and THEN (in his words, which have been debunked by the organization that provided him with those now-infamous binders) he went searching for women to fill various positions is damning enough. That this wasn't on his radar. That he didn't ALREADY have women working in his campaign and shaping his policies. If you think about these comments and not even question the veracity of his statements, it was only in the aftermath of his win that he thought, "Gee, maybe I need some women in my government." Now it turns out that the number of women appointees actually fell during his administration.

Anyway, the point of this post is to comment on the conservative backlash against Candy Crowley for having the temerity to call the candidates on their lies. Let's just call them lies because that's what they are. Given that the GOP has, for the last fifteen years made the "lie" an acceptable form of discourse, I, for one, am glad to see that someone, ANYONE, has started to say, Ahem, no.

This isn't restricted to just Republicans. If anyone is running for office and lies about something, I think they should be nailed on it. This is not party-specific. People are cynical and dispirited and hate Congress for a reason. They don't want to be lied to. They might want jobs and security and gas at $1.86 a gallon, but they also don't want to be lied to. STOP LYING. Everyone.  Conservatives have dominated the discussion for the last fifteen years because they have no compunction about lying.  Or omission, they are good at that too. Remember poor Fox News and how absolutely horrified they were that Bin Laden has been killed under Obama's watch? They couldn't even bring themselves to mention Obama's and Bin Laden's name in the same breath because that would actually would/could/might imply that Obama had something to do with it?

There are many, many issues that I think one can nail the Dems on. The problem is that the GOP are so intent on manipulating the message that they have forgotten their message. Or maybe they don't have one. I don't know. There was a time, and it wasn't that long ago, when the Republicans had a philosophy that wasn't based on lies. We have to go back a ways, like possibly pre Ollie North, and, oh, possibly pre-Watergate, where the issues weren't that we were, oh, lying or doing something illegal, the bad part was that we got caught. This is what makes people cynical and angry. Stop lying. Stop justifying reprehensible behavior. Stop being racists. The country isn't white anymore, and your tactics of subtle and not-so-subtle race-baiting are going to marginalize you further and further until you are totally irrelevant. Except for, perhaps, rich white guys.

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