Thank God it’s Almost Over

I watched the whole debate last night. Well, listened to it all while the TV had the sound off as I flipped between the Bears game and game 7 between the Cards and Giants. I could stand to just listen. If I’d tried to listen and watch, I’m sure I’d have bailed half way through. I agree with what seems to be the overall sentiment and what the polls showed, that Obama won, fairly handily. And at the same time I can’t imagine the debate changing anyone’s mind, unless someone has lived in a cave the past year and knew nothing about either candidate going in. i thought Obama had the best lines. The one about having fewer horses and bayonets than in 1916 was good on several levels. It’s true, it shows Romney lives in the past and doesn’t understand our modern military. Many have commented on that line. And it was good to see the president again remind the voters that Romney’s positions last night were just that; his positions last night, which bore little to no relation to his positions last week, last month, last year.
I thought Romney’s biggest whopper, and one that I heard no one comment on, was when he was talking about Ahmadinejad. First he said: “When the — when the — the president of Iraq — excuse me — of Iran, Ahmadinejad, says that our debt makes us not a great country, that’s a frightening thing.”
Later, several times he called Ahmadinejad a war criminal. So now Mitt is taking his campaign talking points from someone he considers a war criminal. Not to mention accepting the assessment of the US by what a crazy man said. He also several times said that we should indict Ahmadinejad. I was surprised no one commented on this, because it is absurd on so many levels. Indict him how, where, under what standing, what law. He can’t be indicted under US law as he is not a US citizen. And Mitt has been quite clear that he doesn’t believe in International Law. Apparently, his view of American exceptionalism extends to imposing American law on anyone he feels like. What it really showed is that Mitt really understands nothing about the law. Okay, he’s a businessman, not a lawyer. But I’d still like my president to have, you know, like a basic 8th grade understanding of what the law is.
What really cracked me up was watching MSNBC for a few minutes after the debate (I flipped around some and didn’t watch much of any channel because the Daily Show was about to start, and sure, I watched MSNBC. I am a liberal, after all) and watching Rachel Maddow in near apoplectic meltdown and disbelief that in the debate Mitt essentially renounced half the positions he has ever taken. She just couldn’t believe it. She wondered if this would come to be seen as a character trait for Mitt.
I was just laughing out loud. Here I’d thought Rachel had been covering Mitt’s campaign for the past year. Evidently not, or else how could she have been surprised. Chris Matthews made two great points; he was just tired of both candidates pandering to Israel at every turn, and he was disappointed that the subject of our war on drugs and the flow of drugs across our borders never came up. The only surprising thing was that Chris could actually muster up surprise about it. Hard to believe he was really surprised. I’d have been shocked if they didn’t pander to Israel, and equally shocked if they actually addressed the real issues that affect us here at home. The drug war is arguably our biggest foreign policy issue, and affects us most directly here at home, in so many ways, not least of which in that it has given rise to the United States being THE prison state of the world, with more people in prison than any other country, with more and more of the prisons being run by private for profit corporations, who have a built in incentive to continue to increase the prison population.
It would have been nice to see the real issues debated. Once again, of course, climate change wasn’t mentioned. And certainly leading the world in tackling this largest problem facing humanity and how other countries are addressing it is a foreign policy issue. And the financial problems (and their worsening through austerity measures) in Europe wasn’t mentioned, though given that we operate in a world market and have world financial markets it is certainly a foreign policy issue and one that should have been addressed.
Of course I wasn’t surprised at all by the debate. The debates have been choreographed within an inch of their life ever since they kicked out the League of Women Voters, who wouldn’t let the campaigns control every little detail. They are just about as scripted as the conventions, and at lest they had the one interesting moment with an empty chair.
If you wanted to see the real issues debated, the ones that will affect our day to day life the most, you’d have to go elsewhere. A good source was Democracy Now’s Expanding the Debate special, where they let the third party candidates answer the same questions Obama and Romney answered.
At least Obama did himself no harm last night. I’ll give Mitt this; he was very specific about his plans. He is going to create 12 million jobs. That is specific in that 12 million is a specific number. Of course he can’t explain how he’d actually do that. Maybe he can get Paul Ryan to show us the math.
I am so glad it is almost over.

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About JP

We're two guys who met in college, in 1980. We've stayed in touch, and like to talk politics, current events, music and religion. JP is nore liberal than Sid, but not in every way. We figure that dialogue stimulates ideas, moderates perspective, and is in general friendly. These are things we need badly in these dangerous times. The blog name is taken from a song by Bruce Cockburn.
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