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.