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Why We Can't Stop Watching the Stupid Presidential Debates


US Politics & Gov't  (tags: debates, candidates, Obama, elections, voter registration, news, democrats, republicans, news, media )

Carrie
- 564 days ago - blogs.reuters.com
The 2012 Presidential (and Vice Presidential) Debates, a four-part miniseries, will debut on televisions and computer screens around the world on Oct. 3 and continue weekly through the month. The program will feature presidential candidates Barack Obama..



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Comments

Kit B. (277)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 5:02 pm

Maybe if turned the debates back to the League of Women Voters we would learn some thing more about the candidates. These are per-programmed for TV showing and no one really wins a debate, they already know what they will be asked. I think we learned more when the questions were not given in advance. Still it is a part of the campaign process and we will watch them. Though personally I don't much care what the "undecided" have to say, by now thinking people have decided and they will carry the election.
 

Kit B. (277)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 5:04 pm

That should be pre- programed - sort of like re-runs. Just one different face this round, John McCain was by far a better candidate, he just made a BIG mistake in his choice for vice president.
 

Carrie B. (279)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 5:17 pm
I also agree with Kit, but then what does logic and fairness have to do with anything?
 

Giana Peranio Paz (367)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 11:24 pm
Body language is more important than the actual words, although they have gone through courses teaching them to control and manipulate body language to their advantage.
 

wolfNoFwdsPls a. (135)
Sunday September 30, 2012, 3:09 am
> Why We Can't Stop Watching the Stupid Presidential Debates
'tis exactly for the same reasons We Can't Stop eating $hit:
We ain't started yet and never will

 

Carol H. (229)
Sunday September 30, 2012, 5:42 am
noted, thanks Carrie
 

Past Member (0)
Sunday September 30, 2012, 5:53 am
We all wait for the great revelation that will be brought about through debate.

In teaching ESL it is amazingly difficult for 3rd world children to understand what true debate is. Bless the USA, Britain and the Western World for giving us a vehicle to talk things through, albeit through rhetoric, and to [hopefully] bring us clarity and intent through words alone.
 

Gene Jacobson (233)
Sunday September 30, 2012, 7:33 am
Actually, I am looking rather forward to the debates. I usually don't bother with them, apart from the Clinton debates because I so loved watching and listening to him work, because there is never any doubt in my mind who I am going to vote for. There isn't this year either. But Mitt allegedly (because I only saw sound bites) trashed his "competition" last winter and I read that he has been cramming factoids and figurelings into his shiny head for a couple months in preparation and I want to see what that looks like. I want to hear actual specifics from him about how he intends to do, and pay for, all those things he's talked about, specifically. I want to hear with whom he plans to go to war and when because I am quite sure he intends to. I want to hear him defend what he said when he wrote off 47% of the country as beneath him and his rich friends, all those people living on salaries at 50,000 and less, all those social security recipients who do not now pay taxes but who did all their lives, all those living on the minimum wage, all those still on unemployment, all those who though working and paying taxes still qualify for food stamps and used them because feeding their families is more important than letting them starve.

I know his religious agenda, I want to hear him defend it. I have actually seen written, by supposed christians, that yes, all those moochers on disability really aren't and should be allowed to die in the streets because they are a drain on society and not really worth it. Those are christians who never actually read the New Testament and whose preachers, preach only from the Old I guess, because that is sure not what Christ did while He was here.

But most of all, I want to see the President, on point, demonstrate again why he is the better man, without ever saying it. He'll do that with ease. I want the people (including those "undecideds" looking for their 15 minutes in that debate crafted just for them, those who just can't make up their minds this late in a campaign, and I say that with disdain because I believe they are either lying, glory hounds or fools and poltroons, perhaps all of that) to see the two work a room of fools. Clinton excelled in that arena, so too will the President, Mitt's arrogance and sense of entitlement will drip off him like the arrogant man he is deep inside.

So, yeah, I usually don't care about these, and nothing that happens will change my mind, I just want to see the two of them speaking together. I can't think of anything better for the President's campaign than that. Whether I can make myself watch that much of Mitt is still open to question though.
 

Marlene Dinkins (225)
Sunday September 30, 2012, 12:12 pm
noted thnx
 

donald Baumgartner (3)
Sunday September 30, 2012, 12:27 pm
Just WISH It was ALL over, the debates that is!!!
 

DORIS L. (61)
Sunday September 30, 2012, 12:37 pm
I'm with Gene Jacobson.
 

Roger Skinner (12)
Sunday September 30, 2012, 1:04 pm
These aren't debates, but contests to see who can deliver the best sound bites. The idea that complex issues and policies can be explained in two minutes is ludicrous.
 

Robert B. (57)
Sunday September 30, 2012, 1:37 pm
I'm going to watch, I'm looking forward to them.
 

Dave C. (204)
Sunday September 30, 2012, 2:13 pm
I can stop watching....won't watch these, my minds made up....if one's mind isn't made up this year as much and as long as we've heard about the candidates and their opinions then I don't know what to say.......

my big fear is that Robmey won't look as stupid, clueless, and out of touch with the average people as he usually does and it will create an October surprise getting him back in the race.....
 

Diane O. (151)
Sunday September 30, 2012, 3:06 pm
If we are doing our due diligence as intelligent adults, we will watch the debates. They are important. Romney IS in the race so much so that he is even with Obama. Not good news for an incumbent president.

Yes, they will know what the questions are and will prepare their answers. What we are looking for here is how each of the candidates can turn around a failing economy and high unemployment not to mention that our foreign affairs leadership has been nonexistent for the past four years. We need answers. We need to know what their plans are to correct the wrong path we've been on.

Romney is not going to look stupid. Off teleprompter, Obama puts himself at risk. Joe Biden is always a wild card and the gift that keeps on giving to the republicans. No surprise there.

I will be watching the debates.
 

Lois Jordan (55)
Sunday September 30, 2012, 5:44 pm
Noted & thanks, Carrie. I agree with Kit that that League of Women Voters should handle this. Meanwhile, those who do watch the debates often have their thoughts skewed by commentators who "explain" them to us afterwards. I will watch only to see what propaganda the media will give to the public afterwards...simply to inform myself.
I decided long ago not to vote for Willard, with the first strike against him being the fact that he chose to put his family dog on the roof of his car and drive for hours. This showed such contempt for life in general. His ownership of a vulture capital company, in itself, is disgusting to me. Not to mention all his offshore accounts, meant to hide his fortune from the IRS as well as his own church--which is a whole other ballgame.
 

Jennifer C. (172)
Sunday September 30, 2012, 6:17 pm
Noted.Thanks
 

Kate Kenner (202)
Sunday September 30, 2012, 6:41 pm
I do not watch them as they are longwinded and I do not need to listen to a lt of double talk. In the primaries I vote for whom I really want (Jill Stein, Dennis Kucinich) and in the end I vote for the lesser of two evils. Sad way to vote, isn't it? I trust very few politicians so go in with a cynical outlook.
 

Past Member (0)
Sunday September 30, 2012, 8:15 pm


I am not looking forward to the debates. I will watch for I think I need see them for myself and not depend on other people's opinions.

I wish we were not reduced to being forced to chose between candidates who have the most wealthy friends.
 

Susanne R. (248)
Sunday September 30, 2012, 10:04 pm
I watched my first presidential debates when John F. Kennedy debated Richard M. Nixon. My father was a Republican who favored Nixon, and my mother was a Democrat who favored Kennedy. Even though I was in elementary school at the time, I was very concerned about the cold war and the existence of nuclear weapons. (Why? Because I attended Catholic schools, and we often had civil defense-type drills to prepare us for a nuclear attack at which time we crawled under our desks, covered our heads with our arms, and prayed.) My father dominated the conversation that took place during the debates, and even though he always favored the Republican candidate, I observed both men carefully and couldn't bring myself to trust Richard Nixon. I've always watched the debates, and my children grew up watching them, too. I hope this tradition continues in my grandchildren and their children because I think it's a valuable experience. Watching the debates as I was growing up helped me to develop confidence in trusting my instincts and got me interested in politics. I'm not thrilled with the format they're using, but I think the "debates" will give us much to think about.

May the better man win the election. Again.
 

Lynn Squance (219)
Monday October 1, 2012, 12:29 am
My favourite section from the article:
"Yet the debates still play a vital role in what anthropologist James R. McLeod liked to call the “ritual sociodrama” of the presidential campaign. During the primaries, candidates avoid acting presidential as they spew “powerful rhetoric of unity, disunity, order, anarchy, and chaos.” They don’t just throw mud – they irrigate and excavate whole new mud fields and construct new mud-delivery systems for the annihilation of their opponents in televised events that are called debates but more resemble rhetorical food fights. To pinch another of McLeod’s slick phrases, the high-sticking and peak emotion of the primaries render the nation “disarticulated politically.”"

I love this section because it reminds me of a statement by Beth Myers, a senior Rmoney staffer that said they expected a 90 minutes attack by Mr Obama on Mr Romney because Mr Obama could not debate his record. I happen to disagree with her. Although Mr Obama is not perfect, nor are the Democrats (Who the hell is? Not me, that's for sure.), He has accomplished a lot. What he really must emphasise is the 'do nothing Congress' and the pure Republican/Teabagger obstruction from day 1. But more than that, how can Mr Obama annihilate Romney in 2 minute sound bites?

I can't watch the debates on TV as I don't have cable, but I will be most interested to watch the body language etc after the fact. Too often, Romney has stepped in 'it' and tried to shake 'it' of his shoe unsuccessfully. I have seen Romney buckle under pressure (one was with Nikki Haley in SC where she had to rescue him).

Were I American and could vote, I would already know who I would vote for --- Mr Obama. Anybody who doesn't already know who they will vote for, is in my opinion not paying attention. How do you cram for an exam for a 4 year course in a matter of days? You can't and still do a good job.



 

Diane O. (151)
Monday October 1, 2012, 2:52 am
Obama has failed the American people over the past four years. He made a lot of promises he would not be able to see to fruition. Like they say, "he's a nice guy but a bad president." I believe "they" are right.

I encourage everyone to watch the debates.
 

Jo Ellen H. (3)
Monday October 1, 2012, 4:59 am
Diane, you are 100 percents right.. obamas's a nice guy, he's not a good job.. bad president!!
 

Diane O. (151)
Monday October 1, 2012, 6:23 am
Faither, Obama seems to thrive better in Chicago. He's a Chicago politician. I bellieve that's a perfect fit for him based on his four years in our White House.
 

Lloyd H. (46)
Monday October 1, 2012, 6:35 am
Diane O., Faither Jo H., WTF bad President who has failed America, your Teanderthal bias is sure as hell showing. How about we discuss the Planned and Orchestrated Repug obstructionism that began on the night of President Obama's Inauguration. You know vote against everything that might make Obama look good even if it is in the best interest of the American people and the American Economy. Evidently you need reminding that IT WAS THE REPUGS that got the US credit rating down graded, it is the Repugs that have ignored the Presidents Jobs Act, and the latest was the Senate Repug Ass-hats that killed passage of the Veterans Job Corps Bill until after the election and that includes the four Repugs that authored the bill and got everything they wanted in it. AND evidently you need to be reminded that it was the Repug policies of 8 years of Bush, that are exactly the same as the Romney/Ryan/Repug policies that doubled the debt and turned the Clinton budget surplus in to a deficit and flushed the economy down the toilet. Just exactly as every other Repug in power since Eisenhower has grown the size and cost of government while simultaneously ballooning the debt and deficit.
 

Diane O. (151)
Monday October 1, 2012, 7:35 am
Lloyd, hard to read and be able to understand someone who expresses themselves they way you do but you can't support not one of your comments with any hard data. I understand emotional posting but yours didn't make much sense to me.

Bill Clinton didn't have a surplus. He took that money out of social security and left in its place an IOU. Know your facts. Millions of Americans would take GWB's deficit back today in a heartbeat.

Obama had A DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS FOR TWO YEARS, Lloyd, so, no, you are wrong that he couldn't get anything passed. The past two years his own democrats voted against him...so I'm not sure what you are trying to say.

 

Carrie B. (279)
Monday October 1, 2012, 9:49 am
"How Long did Obama Really Control the Senate
Here are the facts:

Apparently everyone forgot the President needed 60 votes in the Senate to pass legislation. I heard a Latino news reporter say they felt if the President could pass healthcare, he could have passed immigration reform. Newsflash!! The healthcare bill was passed using "reconciliation", because there were not 60 Democrats in the Senate.

Immigration, Gay Rights could not be passed with the same process because it is reserved for budgetary matters. You'd think a reporter would know this stuff. The Stimulus was hijacked by the Republicans and job-creating measures were traded for tax cuts because...there were not 60 Democratic votes to pass it.

Apparently no one remembers that Scott Brown was sworn into office in February of 2010. At that time, the President had only been in office for ONE year. Most folks remember that the election of Scott Brown reduced the number of Democratic senators to 59. So the President could not have possibly had Congressional control for two years.

Here's the timeline:

When the election dust settled, Democrats had won 59 seats; the Republicans 41.




January 20, 2009 - After suffering a seizure during Barack Obama's inaugural luncheon, Senator Kennedy’s health forced him to retreat to Massachusetts. Also Senator Al Franken of Minnesota had not been seated because the previous Senator, Norm Coleman challenged the election results.


So at the beginning of his Presidency, Democrats had 57 elected senators…55 Democrats and 2 Independents.

Why do you think he had to compromise with Republicans on the Stimulus bill? He didn’t have enough Democrats to pass the bill! Why don't you people who moan such disappointment know this?

April 28, 2009 news outlets issued the following report:



Republican Sen. Arlen Specter has switched parties, which would give Democrats a filibuster-proof 60 seats. You do remember the filibuster? The Republicans employed it more than in any time in history for the express purpose of stalling legislation.


Despite the fact that the media hailed the party switch of Arlen Specter and claimed it gave Democrats a filibuster-proof Senate, the Minnesota seat still remained vacant. The Senate had 56 sitting Democratic members and 2 Independents. Technically, the Senate was two members short, but I'm counting Senator Kennedy even though he was at home ill because he did cast a vote in June. 59

May 15, 2009 Senator Robert Byrd was admitted to the hospital reducing the number of sitting Senators to 55 Democratic members and 2 Independents. 57



July 7, 2009 Al Franken (D) was sworn in after the election dispute over the Minnesota seat was decided in his favor. Senator Kennedy continued to recuperate at his home in Massachusetts and was unable to cast any more votes; Senator Byrd was still in the hospital. The Senate had 56 sitting Democratic members and 2 Independents. 58



July 21, 2009 Senator Byrd returned to the Senate making the count 59 seats. No Senator Kennedy.

Senator Kennedy died August 25, 2009.

The Kennedy seat was vacant from August 25 - September 24 when Paul G. Kirk was appointed to occupy his seat until the completion of a special election. The swearing-in of Kirk gave the Democrats a 60-seat majority.

Democrats had a 60 seat majority from September 24, 2009 thru February 4, 2010. 4 months; not 2 years!!

This does not account for the number of days Congress was not even in session during that time. If one subtracts the number of days Congress was out, the time that President Obama had a Democratic majority in Congress is further reduced by more than 30 days, or another full month.

Of a possible 94 legislative days during that period, the Senate was only in session for 67 days, while the House only labored for 54."

From Live Leak Added: Aug-28-2012 Occurred On: Aug-28-2012
In: Politics
Tags: facts, no bullshit
 

Carrie B. (279)
Monday October 1, 2012, 9:52 am
From The Daily Beast

7 Jun 2012 04:43 PM
The Big Lies of Mitt Romney V: Obama Had A Super-Majority In Congress For Two Years

" reader writes:

This stood out to me in "The Lies of Mitt Romney III":

"we remember the president’s own party had a super majority in both houses for his first two years"

I'm not sure how Romney defines a super majority, but my recollection was that the Dems only had a filibuster-proof majority (including two independents) from the time that Al Franken was finally seated (July 7, 2009) until the point that Teddy Kennedy passed away (August 25, 2009). That's only seven weeks, not two years.

And there was never a supermajority in the House as Romney claims. The balance at the start of the Congress was 257 - 178, which is a Democratic share of only 59 percent, not 67. So again, Romney simply lied. Obama never had a super majority in both Houses, let alone for two years. In the Senate, his super-majority lasted seven weeks.

Please stay vigilant. Your eyes are as good as ours. Scan Romney's statements for factual untruths - not embellishments or exaggerations, but empirically false statements. Update from a reader:

Not to let Mitt Romney off the hook, because his "two years supermajority" claim is still blatantly false, but there was an interim Senator from Massachusetts who was, in fact, the 60th vote for healthcare reform after Ted Kennedy died. Paul Kirk served as interim Senator from Massachusetts from September 24, 2009 to February 4, 2010. Therefore, the Democrats had a Senate supermajority for seven weeks with Kennedy and nineteen weeks with Paul Kirk, for a total of 26 weeks, or half a year.

Update from another reader:

By the time Al Franken was sworn in on July 7, 2009, Ted Kennedy had not cast a Senate vote for about four months because he was terminally ill with brain cancer. (He died on August 25, 2009.) Robert Byrd was also hospitalized from May 18 through June 30, 2009 and may not have been well enough to attend Congress and vote for some time afterward. Thus the Democrats did not really have the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster until Kirk took office. Byrd (who died in June 2010) was also periodically too ill to attend and vote during the September 2009-February 2010 period, though I have not been able to confirm this with a quick Google."
 

Brian M. (142)
Monday October 1, 2012, 1:58 pm
"Maybe if turned the debates back to the League of Women Voters we would learn some thing more about the candidates." Per usual, you are absolutely right, Kit. I honestly don't think there is anything to learn about anything from these corporate celebrations of disinformation. The debates are funded by the same corporations that fund both capitalist parties...maybe the least our corporate masters could do is insert some really entertaining commercials, just like they do during the Superbowl.

 

Susanne R. (248)
Monday October 1, 2012, 3:14 pm
From: FactCheck.org | A Project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center

Q: During the Clinton administration was the federal budget balanced? Was the federal deficit erased?

A: Yes to both questions, whether you count Social Security or not.

The Clinton years showed the effects of a large tax increase that Clinton pushed through in his first year, and that Republicans incorrectly claim is the "largest tax increase in history." It fell almost exclusively on upper-income taxpayers. Clinton’s fiscal 1994 budget also contained some spending restraints. An equally if not more powerful influence was the booming economy and huge gains in the stock markets, the so-called dot-com bubble, which brought in hundreds of millions in unanticipated tax revenue from taxes on capital gains and rising salaries.

Clinton’s large budget surpluses also owe much to the Social Security tax on payrolls. Social Security taxes now bring in more than the cost of current benefits, and the "Social Security surplus" makes the total deficit or surplus figures look better than they would if Social Security wasn’t counted. But even if we remove Social Security from the equation, there was a surplus of $1.9 billion in fiscal 1999 and $86.4 billion in fiscal 2000. So any way you count it, the federal budget was balanced and the deficit was erased, if only for a while.

Update, Feb. 11: Some readers wrote to us saying we should have made clear the difference between the federal deficit and the federal debt. A deficit occurs when the government takes in less money than it spends in a given year. The debt is the total amount the government owes at any given time. So the debt goes up in any given year by the amount of the deficit, or it decreases by the amount of any surplus. The debt the government owes to the public decreased for a while under Clinton, but the debt was by no means erased.

Other readers have noted a USA Today story stating that, under an alternative type of accounting, the final four years of the Clinton administration taken together would have shown a deficit. This is based on an annual document called the "Financial Report of the U.S. Government," which reports what the governments books would look like if kept on an accrual basis like those of most corporations, rather than the cash basis that the government has always used. The principal difference is that under accrual accounting the government would book immediately the costs of promises made to pay future benefits to government workers and Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries. But even under accrual accounting, the annual reports showed surpluses of $69.2 billion in fiscal 1998, $76.9 billion in fiscal 1999, and $46 billion for fiscal year 2000. So even if the government had been using that form of accounting the deficit would have been erased for those three years.

- Brooks Jackson
Sources
Congressional Budget Office, "Historical Budget Data," undated, accessed 6 Sep 2010.

Kudos to Carrie for presenting FACTS regarding how long Obama really controlled the Senate and how long Obama actually had a super majority in both Houses (his super-majority lasted seven weeks).

Unfortunately, "there is none so blind as (s)he who will not see..."
 

Diane O. (151)
Monday October 1, 2012, 3:34 pm
Carrie was correct in her post. However, we have to also state that Obama's own democrats turned away from him. The liberals know this.
 
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