Monday, October 6, 2008

Oh, So That's What "Debate" Means?

'Nuff said and kudos to Aden Renkei for nailing what was so depressing about the Palin vs. Biden debate. What's the point of these things if at least one of the pair starts out by stating that they likely won't be answering the questions from the moderator, preferring instead to parrot bland party lines helpfully written onto cue cards stashed under the lectern?

Coming from the UK, I cannot understand how political debate in this country can be seen as functioning, even barely, when no one will ask the hard questions and keep on asking them until they get some answers? Listening to the wounded bellows of those who think Palin's inability to handle even simple questions like "what newspapers and magazines do you read" unless they are sent in three days before and can be dealt with via answers scripted like the stage directions to a Broadway play, calling foul because it's "unfair" and down to "liberal media bias" just beggar belief. And even this soft slap was from Katie Couric, for chrissakes, hardly the punchiest of pugilists the fourth estate can offer up. (Where's Jeremy Paxman when you need him most? Actually, "on BBC America" is the answer! Go and watch him take politicians apart on YouTube if you don't know who he is.)

Politics is a contact sport. It's not afternoon tea with the vicar and a nice chat over a post-prandial game of croquet. I expect those who aspire to public office to be able to think, speak and act on their feet, because that's real life. Palin's not the only one guilty of this charge of course, she's simply the worst of the bunch. The race here has really reached the point where policies no longer matter, it's all down to likability. And isn't that the thesis for electing a president that got us into this current mess in the first place? You betcha!

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