Obama takes his ball and goes home

“I’ll be honest with you, we’ve now had 21,” he said. “It’s not as if we don’t know how to do these things. I could deliver Sen. Clinton’s lines; she could, I’m sure, deliver mine.”

Shockingly, I agree with Obama to a point. Most of the debates so far have been, of themselves, useless. The only new things we learn from them are more about the candidates’ moods and emotional states than any actual policy planks or opinions.

But Obama is, let’s face it, the best debater of the three left standing. He’s usually acquitted himself fairly well in debates up until this last one. But when he has one bad night (and make no mistake, he had a real bad night), and then decides that it’s time to stop debating? That shows a complete lack of spine to me. I’d give him a lot of credit if he said something like, “OK, let’s have another one, and I’ll be ready for it. Name the time, name the place. Bring it, sister.” But instead, he’s running.

And that’s not the kind of guy I want leading my country in a world full of Islamic terrorist nutburgers and shrimpy North Korean megalomaniacs.

(entire article is here)

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5 Responses to “Obama takes his ball and goes home”

  1. Lauren Says:

    I have to disagree on the reason that he’s declining this one. I don’t think it’s because he didn’t perform as well as he has in the past. I think it’s exactly what he said in one of his speeches the day after the debate:

    “Forty-five minutes before we heard about health care; 45 minutes before we heard about Iraq; 45 minutes before we heard about jobs; 45 minutes before we heard about gas prices”

    At this point, the moderators aren’t asking important questions like “How are you going to fix the country?” They’re asking stupid, popcorn questions that turn what should be serious debates about challenges facing our country into something I’d expect to see on one of those cheesy paparazzi shows like Extra or Inside Edition or whatever they’re called. Right after the piece (with exclusive photos!) on Britney Spears checking into rehab again.

    They’re not debates anymore. They’re circus acts. If the networks would get their moderators to ask real questions, I’m guessing he probably would be on board with a debate. But right now, they’re just a waste of time, and like Jon Stewart to Tucker Carlson, he’s not going to be their monkey.

  2. Lewis Says:

    See, from what I saw of them, I don’t think the questions that they were being asked in Philadelphia were all popcorn questions. Popcorn questions to me are the kinds that we’ve seen at some past debates–“boxers or briefs?”, as an example. I don’t have a problem with Obama being asked about Jeremiah Wright, to take one example, because to me, that’s a pertinent issue. It strains my credulity to believe that he sat in Wright’s church for (most of) twenty years of Sundays and never figured out that Wright was, to be blunt, a black racist. Likewise, Hillary about dodging nonexistent sniper fire in Tuzla. I’d like it just as much if somebody hit John McCain with, “Senator, back during the Keating Five scandal, you said…” I like it when a debate goes a little off the rails, because we get to see how the candidate deals with stress.

    The problem I see with these debates–aside from the one thing I agree with Obama on, the fact that there’s just too many–is the total lack of depth and followup. They fly from one thing to another to another randomly at high speed, with no chance to go back and say, “wait, what did you just say?” I want to hear a candidate say “on the economy, I want to do x, y, and z.” And then I want to have somebody, maybe the other candidate, come back and say, “OK, but HOW are you doing to do x, y, and z?” Give me something concrete. Don’t just peddle the same old platitudes and talking points. I can go to a website and read those. Don’t just say “ZOMG CHANGE!!11!” Look into that camera and tell me what you’re going to change, and how.

  3. Lauren Says:

    “I want to hear a candidate say “on the economy, I want to do x, y, and z.” And then I want to have somebody, maybe the other candidate, come back and say, “OK, but HOW are you doing to do x, y, and z?” Give me something concrete.”

    I can absolutely agree with this. And I can agree with wanting the candidates to have to answer for their associations and their gaffes. The problem comes when the question has either a) been answered and the media won’t just let it go or b) the answer is completely dodged and the media does just let it go, rather than asking good follow-up questions.

    However, debates have been condensed into 60-second sound bytes with, what, 30 second rebuttals? I forget what the structure is. All too often, I’ve seen the candidates get a really, really good question… but their answer is something that has nothing whatsoever to do with what they were asked. “Senator, how do you feel about apples?” “Well, Bob, I’ve been eating oranges my whole life…”

    What I would love to see (and I know it will never happen) is for the network moderators to shove the hell over and let some of the more established bloggers ask the questions. I know you and I are on opposite sides of the spectrum (your political blogroll and mine would start WWIII with one another), but I bet there’s someone you admire over at Free Republic or Instapundit. Put that person and, say, Digby from Hullaballoo or Holden and Athenae from First Draft in front of the candidates with a list of questions, and maybe we’d actually get to the hearts of some of the matters.

    Change up the structure so that the candidates can respond to one another without a buzzer going off and shutting them up in the middle of a good point. Allow for real follow-up questions from the moderators, and make sure the candidates realize that no one’s going to pussy-foot around. If you’ve screwed up, it’s going to come under scrutiny. Own up to it, be honest, move on.

    And while I’m making a wish-list of impossibilities. I want a buzzer or something that I can use when someone starts dodging a question. They stop mid-sentence, get a chance to start over and answer 4 realz, and get a good old-fashioned queenly smiting if they start to wibble again.

  4. Lewis Says:

    See, I’d love that. I’d love to see McCain fielding questions from Ariana Huffington or Markos whats-his-face, and I’d love to see Obama and Clinton dealing with fastballs from Michelle Malkin or Glenn Reynolds or Rusty Shackleford. I noticed that a lot of the liberal blogosphere–heck, even mainstream “neutral” news critics–were absolutely FURIOUS with ABC about the Philly debate. Why? Because two left-wing candidates finally had to squirm a little bit? C’mon. Debates aren’t supposed to be snugglefests. Let’s hold the next one in the damn Octagon.

  5. Lauren Says:

    The fury wasn’t because they had to squirm. The fury was because they had to squirm over 45 minutes of questions that were about showmanship and ratings and tabloid TV, not about the actual issues. Like I said, give them ten minutes to defend themselves and be on the hot seat about Rev. Wright and the bitter comments and whatever Hillary’s most recent gaffe was (sniper fire?). That’s fine.

    But then move the hell on.

    Ask them hard questions about healthcare and the war and the economy. Make them squirm about the things they’ll have to address starting next year. McCain didn’t have to spend 45 minutes of debate answering the accusation from the New York Times that one of his advisors was his mistress. He was pretty much allowed “say no comment” and go about his day.

    And for the record, if he did have to spend 45 minutes dealing with that at the beginning of a debate, I’d be just as annoyed. It’s not about the political affiliation. It’s about the media forgetting that they’re there to inform us (and get answers that people like you and I can’t) – instead, they go for entertainment value and I don’t feel like I come out of watching a debate any better informed than when I went in.

    (Also, please not Kos kthx. His website might have helped pave the way for political blogs, and some of his diarists are great. But Kos himself is kind of a misogynist dick, from what I’ve seen.)


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