This Corrosion

So the first Presidential debate was last night. I did not get to watch it, though I did find CNN in the international viewing room at the dormitory where I live. I wanted to watch the debate, or at least some of it. I wanted to see how the two candidates:

This guy:and this guy:would treat each other, and I must admit I was curious as to what each had to say. From what I can gather from the print media (which is an awful way to learn about a debate, I know, but I cannot really watch video clips of it because the computer on which I work is just too old to handle videos) neither candidate really showed the American people anything new. Obama was described as being cool under pressure, nice, and accommodating toward MacCain. McCain has been described as not overly hostile,  if a little  over-energized.

Apparently there were some good jabs at each other (that’s what every debate needs, some good back and forth–that’s how debaters distinguish themselves from one another) and lots of skewering of the facts from both candidates. This, again, is nothing unusual, especially in political debates. It’s called straw man arguing, and as cheap and wrong as it is, it is often effective.

Obama claimed McCain wants to give oil companies a 4 billion dollar tax break. This is true only in the sense that McCain wants to give tax breaks to companies, some of which are oil companies.

McCain claimed that Obama voted against giving money to the troops in Iraq. The truth is that Obama, once, voted against a bill supplying more money to the troops because that bill lacked any language regarding getting the troops out of Iraq. A similar funding bill, that made mention of bringing the boys home, was supported and voted on by Obama.

There were many more examples, but I don’t feel like going through them all right now.

Go here if you are interested in seeing more of the facts that was misinterpreted by each of the candidates.

The general consensus of the debates seems to be that neither candidate really shown through, and there was no clear winner. Some think McCain was on the attack and claimed victory, while others see him as being on the defensive, and the closeness of the debate as favoring Obama. One thing is clear, though, not many minds were swayed by the debate. The polls are still pretty close to where they were before the debate–with Obama gaining maybe a few points, but nothing drastic. And nothing that cannot change i the next few days, especially if people see McCain as having helped administer a solution to the crisis on Wall Street.

It seems to me that these debates are about as useless as the polls. I mean, if the candidates are going to remain mostly civil to one another, and continue to spout campaign trail slogans and rhetoric, why debate at all? The debates should be forums in which the candidates expose themselves (and I don’t mean by dropping their pant, though that would at least be funny) but by really getting into detail about their plans and strategies. You know, what they would do if they were President, and why they think they are the better person for the job. There are two debates left, and I don’t know if we will get a glimpse of the true would be leaders behind the rhetoric and skewered facts in those two debates, but for the sake of the country I hope we do.


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