Does Political Debate Descend into Dalliance on the Twentieth Faceoff?

Posted in The Gnovis Blog

I reject and denounce, as well as renounce, condemn, decry, deride, and whatever other verb one can conjure to express, that I will not be subjected to any more debates between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

As a usual proponent of debates, I guess this means I… tergiversate.

I’m all for engaging the public in the democratic process. High-profile, televised debates just before crucial primary races are an effective way of informing voters in those states, and stirring up publicity everywhere else. I’m impressed that we’ve had twenty debates in only the primary season, and people are still watching.

But at least for me, sitting through Tuesday’s faceoff was tougher than watching this year’s slowgoing Superbowl. Which in my case means it was nearly excruciating. Like the Superbowl ads, the commerical breaks during the debate, which MSNBC reduced to almost nil when my attention span could have used a break, did not redeem the viewing experience.

The moderators did a fine job with choosing contentious policy areas pertinent for undecided voters. But rather than gaining more knowledge about the candidates and their policies, I came away from the debate with a lower opinion of both individuals. I’m a little disillusioned with the entire nomination process, which is starting to seem a lot like a dog and pony show.

1) If I must endure another semantic argument over the connotations and relative strengths of the words "denounce" and "reject," or anything of the sort as a lame attempt to draw differences between Clinton and Obama, I will be sorely disappointed in both of our potential future Presidents.

2) I will not watch another drawn- out discussion that amounts to splittling hairs on the fine differences between two healthcare programs, which at this point remain in the realm of FICTION.

3) Presidents should not engage in petty fussing over whose presidency would cause more of a "sea-change." It makes both candidates appear self involved, and less than enlightened.

Contrasting the boundary breaking rise of both candidates and the potential social effects is certainly relevant. But it’s not an issue to be contended on stage by the candidates themselves.

Overall, both Hillary and Barack played what have come to be their fixed roles in this heated contention. She is Tracy Flick , and he is her annoying nemesis– the effortlessly cool jock who floats on the scene, rendering her hard-worn political stature irrelevant with his unearned adoration.

Maybe I am simply growing tired of those roles, but they both seemed to present as more frivolous and unstatesman/womanlike than in prior events. I don’t think I’ll be taking these spectacles very seriously for the remainder of the primary race.

I’ll stick to watching the routines performed by actors on comedy sketch shows. They succeed at playing their scripted characters intended to be humorous, rather than falling sway to heated rivalry and allowing what should be serious dialogue to become unforgivingly farcical.

I’ll elaborate on further observations concerning HIllary’s unequal treatment and perceptions on both candidates in my upcoming post.