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Presidential Debates


Albert Gore and George W Bush met last night on CNN to debate the issues. Or at least that's the rumour. What I saw didn't seem to quite match the description. Rightists will claim Bush won, Centrists will claim Gore won, and Leftists will say no one won because Nader wasn't allowed to debate. I tend to go with the leftys on this one.

Everyone is saying "Bush won" or "Gore won". Nobody won. It was a pointless excercise in political theater. One of the best descriptions I've seen was Jake Tapper's Salon.com bit titled And the winner is ... Gore: Still unlikable. Bush: Still dumb. Feels like a tie. I think that sums it up rather nicely. There was no debate. It was a series of scripted soundbites in response to a series of pre-published questions. How was this "debate" any different than the interview portion of the Miss America Pageant? Seriously, I'd like to know. There was no substantive discussion of real issues that affect real issues.

"Your program will do this" "No it won't!" "Yes it will!"

etc ad nauseum. I'm supposed to be inspired to vote for one of these banal non-entities on the basis of a kindergarten argument? Some people less cynical than I have called it "mere theater". That is a statement that I find highly offensive. Theater is (or should be) entertaining. There was nothing entertaining about the debacle I witnessed. Maybe bad community theater, I suppose, but calling the debates theater is an insult to theater.

The event itself? Bush proved once again that he's just a frat brat who expects everyone to like him and for daddy to hand him whatever he wants. I expected him to finish one of his statements by turning awkwardly to the camera, raising both arms, and yelling "Go Huskies, Beat State!". Gore proved once again that he has no personality and that he will say or do anything to get elected. Bush is more likeable, Gore is more competent. I suppose when choosing the evil of two lessers I would have to go with Gore, but I don't know if I could look at myself in the mirror after that, either.

The issue of third party candidates not being permitted is misleading. The Demicans and Republicrats are the same party. The Dems are the center-right segment of the party, the Reps are the right-wing segment. If you look at funding of the Dems and Reps, you'll see that aside from the trial lawyers/entertainment industry split, they get all their money from the same companies. On the issues, there is no substantive difference between them on any real issue, only on a superficial level. So they put on different make-up, they are still the same whores.

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