City of Roses
Noah, I won't deny there were good questions but did you see any responses that were not sound-bytes or offered concrete answers to those questions? No, because they had no one to answer to - no one to question them. It was just a case of a question being broadcast followed by a candidate giving whatever canned answer he had for that particular topic. Hillary speaks of health care. Was there anyone to ask her why she didn't get anything done when she was in charge of health care for years? Nope, she was just free to continue screaming 'We need health care!". Anyone have any concrete answers on Darfur, Iraq, nuclear power, etc? Nope, it was the same old song and dance. "We need to be energy non-dependant!!!!", blah blah blah, without specifying how.
I'll agree with you in general on that point, although I believe, unfortunately, that's just the nature of modern political campaigns; the desire to get elected is a far more important priority than actually show genuine interest in solving the issues that matter most to each average Joe and Jane. Thus, candidates rely on their "canned rhetoric" or carbonated talking points so that they don't get caught up in embarrassing off-script situations where the risk of making a gaffe is all the more probable, which obviously is a defense mechanism for the candidate's own interests more than anything, and to control any damage on the campaign trail.
I believe most Americans are smarter than that and can see through that superficiality a good deal of the time, as well as stereotypes every candidate conjures up (I'll get to that in just a moment here). Nonetheless, rhetoric seems to always take the center stage in any political campaign, because I think campaigns are always on a defensive-offense from the very beginning, and establishment candidates know that the best way to boggle voter's minds are to compose simple, acessible messages in the forms of soundbytes and keep repeating them in a drumroll sort of style so that the rhetoric eventually seeps into the voter's minds, something both parties always do.
The bottom line is, candidates nowadays are pretty much expected by the public NOT to explain meaty solutions for meaty problems facing our country, and candidates resort to this "canned rhetoric" because they're scared going off-script and speaking the truth, for they know there's always a serious risk to that that could jeopardize a campaign. So, like I said, I liked the questions much more than any answer that was given by the candidates in the debate.
As an aside, I'd say that perhaps the reason Ron Paul is enormously popular on YouTube, Google and other grassroots communities on-line right now is because he is a congressman renowned for his independent thinking; there's a truthful tone in how he talks and answers questions that aren't saturated by the familiar soundbytes you hear pundits from either party shout in media echo chambers, as his voting record reflects.
Ron Paul isn't like that; he speaks the truth regardless of how others will attempt to make his views appear unpopular, whether it's a GOP or Democratic pundit, and while I believe you should NEVER put your full trust into ANY politician, I will say I believe Ron Paul, if elected, would stay true to his word in protecting and preserving our Constitution; something I can't confidently say for most of the other presidential candidates from both parties.
I think it's great Ron Paul is enjoying immense cult popularity on-line, and while I still don't think he has a chance in getting elected, I want him to stay in this race through the very end, and I'm optimistic he can successfully continue to get his point across to many more Americans, and make an effort to push the GOP establishment back in the right direction.......even if only one baby step at a time.
I've always found that to be incredible. The party of Kennedy, Kerry, Edwards setting themselves up as the people "for the little guy." Edwards, juggling his financial records to avoid paying almost a million in taxes, Gore abusing all of the energy conservation and usage he is pleading with other people to practice, Kennedy throwing fits over windmills to ocnserve energy being set up near his propertybecause they would ruin the esthetic value.....these guys and Hillary set themselves up to be the champions of the downtrodden....and people buy it.
As we've discussed many times before, I myself find political stereotypes distressing and harmful to social and political discourse, and obviously don't believe the stereotype that all Republicans are "rich, white men" or uneducated hillbillies, nor do I believe the stereotype that all Democrats are defeatists and weak on terror. They're just the grand design of the political PR machine of both party establishments to dilute public discourse to the lowest common denominator.
Unfortunately, stereotypes like those continue to have the damage done, and nonetheless drip and imbue public discourse and taint politics. And the bottom line is, while I certainly believe anyone who actually does their research rather than watch cable television all day can go and find facts that rebut the stereotype that the GOP establishment caters only to elitist interests or the Democratic Party establishment is entirely defeatist and weak on fighting terror, the stereotypes nonetheless persist in our culture and continue to be echoed tirelessly from pundits on both sides.
That's just the point I'm making; too many Americans from both sides of the aisle DO buy into these superficialities. Thus, it is up to the party and its candidates to step up into the public spotlight constantly and combat them, for any long duration of inactivity or idleness only provides fodder to the stereotype machine.
Rasmussen: July 25, 2007
I, myself, don't trust the Democratic Party any more than the GOP to resolve most issues that matter most to everyday Americans. Despite that being my personal belief, however, when you look at all the recent polls within at least the past six months, the Democrats nonetheless hold an advantage on all ten major issues, including national security by a slight margin, a category which the GOP used to mop the floor with the Democrats on by margins of over 30 points up through beyond the 2004 presidential election.
Thus, for whatever reason, a considerable number of Americans still trust the Democrats more than the GOP in solving issues that matter to them most, despite the GOP no longer holding control of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Ergo, there's great reason to believe that it's something about the GOP's image that's especially turning off many voters, moreso than the Democrats at this time.
Excuse me, Noah? Reagan's tax cuts were bad for the "common man"? Probably as much as W's tax cuts have hurt the economy.....this economy which is one of the most robust in recent history, the economy that the Democrats are even afriad to bring up...those same Democrats who used to use the mantra "It's the economy, stupid!" C'mon...ya gotta laugh.
And yet, when you look at recent polling trends as I explained above, the public generally speaking currently trusts the Democratic Party more than the GOP on handling the economy by anywhere from an eight point to a thirteen point margin from all the polls I've looked at since January of this year, despite my belief both parties have their mediocrities on this issue.
I think a majority of Americans will surely agree our economy's current shape is a mixed blessing. I believe there are both signs of encouragement and/or success currently, as well as signs of caution and/or setbacks.
I believe the economy isn't doing that badly at the moment, yet it's also important to note that while our federal deficit is on the decline, according to a report that came out almost three weeks ago, our trade deficit, also in a report that came out about three weeks ago, continues to grow (currently at $60.04 billion, 2.3% higher than in April) and our deficit with China continues to widen, which are not trends we want to see persist in the long-term for our economy.
The bottom line is, I believe there are some things going right with our current economy, but some things going wrong as well and some details that are deceiving. We are doing good in terms of the exporting and importing of goods especially, and the number of laid-off workers filing unemployment claims has been decreasing recently as well, another positive sign currently.
Having said that, I believe many Americans do very much also have the right to remain skeptical, even pessimistic, about the shape of our current economy right now as, while all may seem glorious for someone who works on Madison Avenue right now, life may be exceptionally difficult for a middle-class family in Arkansas in contrast, as there's an overwhelming mountain of evidence that the tax cut policy has widened the chasm between the rich and poor of this nation.
Also, the federal deficit and the national debt are NOT the same thing, and while we're surely recovering from the deficit, the national debt continues to rise, including another increase of $38.7 billion in June (which is less than $100 billion from the current limit Congress has allowed). In fact, federal debt was less than 40 percent of gross domestic product in 2000, but under current tax and spending policies, it will reach 231 percent of GDP by 2050, according to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of government numbers.
Then you also have to take personal borrowing into account, where most Americans continue to struggle keeping up with the wave as real earnings have been slipping recently.
I don't think the economy is in terrible shape right now, but it's not in great shape either, and the sooner we begin resolving these debt and economic disproportionality issues, the better, or otherwise we'll be setting ourselves up for much greater troubles in the near future.
Most Americans I'm sure share that mixed bag view, and while I certainly can't explain right now why the Democrats hold a considerable margin in the polls over the GOP on handling the economy, I'm sure many respondents have reasonable explanations, as the shape of things for a lobbyist on K Street currently just isn't the same for a single mother living in Arkansas or Mississippi.
Actually, I can understand the republican dilemma with regard to the YouTube debate thingy. Poor fools are in a no-win situation. They can't just come out and say a debate conducted by you-tubers is ridiculous because, after all, you-tubers are ordinary people and that would sound offensive to the "masses" and yet they don't want tot participate in such a farcical endeavor....so they are scurrying around for excuses to not be available. In that I will agree with yiu, Noah. It IS a little hysterical.
I just don't see this is as the "no-win situation" as you do. I would respectfully disagree with you on that.
I believe it would be a winning situation for the GOP if they simply show up to the debate. Like I said, there will likely be certain questions asked that are too fluffy and appear to dumb down politics, and the candidate asked those sort of questions can simply respond in a two-fold manner where 1) the candidate starts by saying that he/she believes a serious topic has been demeaned by the network by having a snowman, yeti, Paris Hilton, etc. ask the question, then immediately follow by saying 2) how he/she will nonetheless handle the issue in a serious and assuring tone.
Showing up, and doing this, I believe will truly help the GOP, by making them appear more humanized, not being afraid to exhibit a little sense of humor on the podium in front of millions of people, and combatting that persisting stereotype that they only care about big oil fat cats, evangelical fundamentalists and their own pet projects, and truly care about young aspiring voters and volunteers as well.
I can't see how that would be a losing situation for them in any way. What WOULD be a losing scenario for them, however, is turning their back on this public opportunity. Given my heavy criticism of the GOP establishment as of late (which I defend) it may seem like I'm merely teasing and taunting the GOP and nothing more, but in fact I am rooting for the underdogs of the party; the young Republicans, the traditional conservatives, the populists, the libertarians, etc. and I want them to succeed and make the GOP the "Grand Ole Party" not just in name only again, and resist letting the whole party get hijacked by elitism and neoconservative ideology. On the contrary, I believe I am only trying to help begin to steer the party back in the right direction again, just as I hope the various rejected factions of the Democratic Party can find their voice again and rid the Democratic Party establishment of Northeastern elitism and San Francisco special interest influences.
Having said that, I'm glad Tommy Thompson and Mike Huckabee have agreed to join the debate now with John McCain and Ron Paul. That's four out of ten, making progress!
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"