Thursday, October 4, 2012

Debatable Results

Last night I live-blogged the first Obama-Romney debate on my Facebook page. Thanks to everyone who joined in, and oh gosh am I pumped for the battle of the veeps on October 11. I can't wait to hear what Muscle Man and the High-Five Ghost have to say to each other.

When you have a 12-year-old, you make "Regular Show" references.
During last night's event, I think I actually kept things pretty non-partisan. Mostly because I was sort of turned off by both candidates. For goodness sakes, Jim Lehrer has been a respected journalist in this country for nearly 200 years; show the man some freaking respect. If I'd been moderator for the debate, and President Obama and Governor Romney tried to talk over me and each other the way they did, there would have been two live bare-ass spankings on national television.

Note to debate organizers: This might actually be a pretty good idea, ratings-wise. Also, you could sell licks to audience members for charity.

A la Airplane! Get a hold of yourself, everything's going to be all right.
In any event, both candidates talked and talked and talked. About taxes and health care and jobs and education and all of those things that are so critically important to America's future they cannot be discussed without wearing a moderately constipated expression on your face.

Fart first, damn you. Fart first.
And from what I could understand over all the shouting (seriously, I'm getting my belt right now, you two), both men promised to cut taxes, increase revenue, reduce the deficit, preserve Medicare, and create a race of billionaire robot super-patriots with their minds. Only Romney would do it while mowing down a death panel with a cheap, legal Uzi, while Obama would employ three million gay Americans to get it done. Or something.

This was a debate chock-full o' policy. You cannot accuse these men of sidestepping the issues. No pithy sound bites for these candidates; I think the shortest sentence the entire evening was when Gov. Romney announced, apropos of nothing, "I like coal." Other than the fifty or sixty times Jim Lehrer said "Uh...", of course.

But for all their loquacious verbal sparring, I heard very little in the way of specifics. Probably a good thing, or else we'd still be in the middle of opening statements right now. What we got was a series of very long, wordy mission statements that, like most mission statements, consisted of two parts PR and one part incomprehensible bullshit.

Or the terrorists win, amen.
Here's what I want the candidates to understand about America. And then come up with solutions. I don't have solutions; I'm a dirtbag blogger, not a scum-sucking politician. But if either Obama or Romney want to do a good job as President (which I assume is what they want, and that they're not just in it for the bedazzled flag lapel pins), I think they need to grok the problems better than they do.

So listen up.

1. There are 330 million people in this country, which is a few more than we started out with. Government that takes care of everything and government that leaves everybody alone are both terrible, unworkable ideas. Maybe when America consisted of twelve families and a bunch of cows. But not now. So stop pretending either philosophy is the only way to go.

2. Most people aren't gazillionaires. Most people pay the taxes they owe and chalk it up to the price of living in America. Most people don't understand why someone who makes $14 million a year even cares how much they pay. Instead they think, "If I made $14 million a year, even if I paid half my income in taxes, I would still have $7 million to tide me over until next year, awwwwwwyeeeeeeeaaaaaaaah." If you drone on about tax policy but don't get that taxes are only really, really important to the tiny fraction of Americans who have more than enough money, you can't govern this country.

3. The American population consists of well-informed, intelligent, thoughtful people, as well as ignorant, gullible, hateful people. No political party is composed of only one or the other. You have to be everybody's President, but the message of the lowest common denominator shouldn't define your administration.

4. Not one more negative word about your opponent or his party. Not about his record, not about his finances, not about his family or the jobs he held in the past. America is full of journalists who are dying to present the whole story. And they will, because people want to know. But no one likes a tattler. It's not your place to rat out the other guy.

5. Send Jim Lehrer some flowers and candy. Your manners really were abysmal.

He's totally unfriending you both.
Let's move on to the next debate. That's the one where we decide the whole thing with rock paper scissors lizard Spock, right?

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