Saturday, September 24, 2011

Debating the Next Potential Disaster

I have never liked debates as a way to determine the best candidate, and the latest spate of contentious gumsnappery has done little to change my mind.

Debates should be, at most, a small portion of what potential voters consider when they choose a candidate to champion. Unfortunately, in today's world of reality television and 24 hour a day populist news jibber-jabber, it is the candidate who is quickest on his rhetorical feet that gains most on the staged political stage.

Newt Gingrich, a candidate who carries more baggage than a Michelle Obama stoop-shouldered bellhop, did nibble around the edges of my argument when he challenged debate moderators on two separate occasions to ask serious questions of the debaters rather than trying to manipulate potential presidents into embarrassing exchanges as if they were Snooki and Michael "The Situation" Sorrentino.

Each of the presidential candidates in the current Republican stable have years of history in business or politics or both, and a voter's investigation into these histories is a far better way to judge a candidate than whether or not they can deliver a scoring soundbite in the form of a quick comeback. And yet, this is not how I see many voters choosing candidates.

Debate moderators are offered but a few opportunities to dig into this history. Unfortunately it seems that they, and their bosses, would rather turn these events into entertainment spectacles rather than embrace their utility.

My Mom is a true believer in conservative principles; she believes an ever expansive government is dangerous, that a government, as well as those that it governs, should live within its means. She is a conservative that believes that the federal government should not nose its way into state issues, that the state government should not nose its way into local issues, and that local government should not nose its way into private issues. My experience is that she has no problems with parents nosing their way into children's issues, but that is another story.

So, at the end of the of the past couple of debates, she has decided that she is a supporter of Mitt Romney. This is not because of his long history of offering big government solutions, but because he is such a good debater.

I'm sorry, but this is akin to spending weeks investigating the best kind of car to buy, spending many hours digging into the option packages, the gas mileage, the warranty, the attendant service agreement, and then, when it is all said and done, choosing the pretty green one.

If not for his debating skills (and the not so subtle endorsement of mass media) a former community organizer with no business or administrative or foreign policy experience would not now be sitting at the helm of a country sliding off the end of the earth. A man who has never created a job in his life, but for political debates, would not be in charge of the national strategy of creating jobs. A man whose self-admitted real life administrative experience prior to his election amounted to nothing more than running his own presidential election campaign, but for debates, would not now be the CEO over the largest economy on the planet.

So, sure, pay attention to the debates. Let's see how quick witted and fast footed these celebrities of politics are. But, in the end, lets look at some history and track records. Perhaps we can avoid the next disaster.

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