Tuesday, October 07, 2008

moderate the moderators

So I watched the debate, and my overall impression was that Tom Brokaw got in the way and the candidates played it safe (but again, Obama won). Another thing that I noticed was McCain's odd body language.

The debate was supposed to a "town hall meeting." The normal definition is that the people get to ask whatever questions they want, but the candidates get to call on them. There will be crazy people and booing and cheering. Here, Brokaw got to pick out the questions that the voters had writen, they didn't get to ask follow ups. But Brokaw got to ask "follow ups."

Rather than hone in on the candidate's non-answers, he asked whatever the heck he wanted that was vaguely related to the question that he picked from. Brokaw would complain that the candidates were not keeping to the time limits, but his questions themselves took at least half that much time, including stupid name dropping. Go back into retirement Tom. I used to love Brokaw, and his was the nightly news program I would watch. Now, I can't stand him.

Moderators need to move the discussion, get the candidates to answer the questions and engage with the issues. Jim Lehrer did that. Brokaw covered no new ground, and spent most of his time oscillating between complaining about the rules which he himself ignored and bloviating in his questions.

There is a lot of really bad things happening at the same time...the stock market is collapsing, we are losing two wars, health care costs are exploding, the climate is radically changing, food prices are exploding. And the candidates want to talk about sternly worded letters they wrote to some administrative official. They are both Senators and leaders of the their party. Why aren't they taking any bold stances on anything? One of these Senators will be president in 3 months, when are they going to step up to the plate?

Back to the debate, though. John McCain looked really old when standing near Obama and he got a little too close for comfort for those in the audience. You could see how awkward the guy felt whom McCain touched. After the debate was over, Obama stayed in the hall and talked to voters. McCain bugged out. Obama tried to shake hands with McCain, but John instead had Cindy shake Obama's hand for him. Odd behavior, and as weird as his referring to Obama as "that one." It seems pretty obvious that McCain has a personal dislike of Obama...but it shouldn't be. One of these days, I have to write a post about how incompetent the McCain campaign team has been. It really is quite stunning. Anyway, have a good night.


Allison said...

Thought you might want to let your readers know about this event...

The Sutherland Institute will hold a Marriage Law Forum titled, “State of the Union: Why California Matters” on October 14, 2008. In November, California will vote on Proposition 8, which would add a section to the state constitution that states "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

The Marriage Law Forum will be held at the Little America Hotel Grand Ballroom at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 14. The Sutherland Institute has organized the 90 minute presentation, which will include comments from Bill Duncan and LaVar Christensen, and will be emceed by Mary Ellen Smoot, former General Relief Society President for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Marriage Law Forum is open to both elected officials and the general public. Interested parties are asked to RSVP by calling the Sutherland Institute at 801-355-1272.

Unknown said...

Allison, will there be ANYONE there advocating against Prop 8? What is the goal behind the forum? Surely it is not to convince anyone to vote in favor of a prop in CA...

Allison said...

The Sutherland Institute is putting on the event, and their policy analysts will be speaking. I expect there will be representation from groups against Prop 8 as well, though not as part of the official presentation.

The forum will discuss the effects of the Proposition in Utah. Of course, Utahns can't vote there, but Sutherland believes the effects will be far reaching whether the Proposition passes or fails.