Monday, July 23, 2007

Post YouTube Debate Wrap Up (Monday's Show)

Hi everybody! We're kicking off the new week with a little something different. I know that there was a post-debate 360, but after working all day and then watching over three straight hours of CNN, I was pretty much brain dead by the time the show rolled around. So tonight's blog will be of the rambling and untraditional variety. Post-debate shows are almost impossible to recap anyway due to the fast pace, debate clips, and talking heads galore. Speaking of talking heads, CNN had their bases covered, but honestly, I really could care less what everybody else thought. So instead you get to hear my thoughts. Because it's my blog. Some of you will probably want to run away now.

Anyway, I looked forward to this debate all day. Because I am such a geek. At first I was worried if I got too excited about it I would only end up being disappointed, but then I realized it was either going to be really cool or just a total train wreck. And since I watch cable news not only to be informed, but also to (gently) mock when warranted, I figured whatever the outcome was a win-win for me. Although not for CNN, so yay for it turning out really cool! And Anderson Cooper totally rocked. So much better than the Wolfbot and all his stupid raise your hand questions. I've seen Anderson rock an interview before, so I knew he could bring it if so inclined, but I was a little worried his politeness might cause him to get run over a bit. Totally not the case. He laid down that law! I think Anderson also got the best line of the night when he said they couldn't find anyone to the left of Kucinich. Zing! Aw, Kucnich. You kind of just want to pat him on the head, you know? I mean, I'd love to live in the world he's selling, but I'm also realistic enough to know it will never exist.

I haven't the slightest idea who "won" and am still very much undecided, but it's early. I'm just happy to be voting for someone instead of trying to keep the evil out. I do wish I could whittle them down a little more. So far I've only completely disqualified Biden and Gravel. I actually liked Biden in this debate, but he's been dead to me ever since back in 2005 when he unapologetically supported the bankruptcy bill. Back then I didn't even know he was going to run, but I still swore I wouldn't vote for him. And I won't. I also like a lot of what Gravel has to say, but, uh...dude's crazy. Seriously, why so angry, man? Although I think I agree with him that he got less time. That's what you get for being all crazy. He's like 2008's Zell Miller. Now all we need is for him to challenge Anderson to a a duel and the picture will be complete.

Let's see, to be random, I loved Anderson's comment about how we all know Arnold Schwarzenegger is a cyborg. I mean, duh, obviously. But the real question is whether or not everyone knows Wolf Blitzer is a robot. How do I know this? Because he's always on! You turn on the tv in the afternoon and he's there. You turn it on in the evening and he's there. You even turn it on on the weekend and, oh yeah, he's there! Robot! Plus, he doesn't emote, so there's that. Keeping with the good lines, I cracked up at Gravel's answer to his favorite teacher. He told a story of how he was dyslexic and this teacher taught him to speak and then Gravel ended with "and that's what little chance I get to use it today." Ha! As I said before, he did kind of get shafted. I didn't time anything, but it definitely seemed like Clinton and Obama got the most time. Hell, I initially forgot Edwards was even there because I didn't see him on my screen until 15 minutes in.

As for the questions themselves, a lot of them were expected, but others I was almost shocked by and it was interesting to see the candidates answer. For example, I can't picture them being asked about reparations for slavery in a normal debate. When interviewing someone you're taught not to ask yes or no questions, but those are almost my favorite kind when it comes to these debates. There's very little wiggle room and the candidate is forced to be honest. Probably one of my favorite questions was whether or not they would work for minimum wage. If one of the candidates that said yes is elected, I say we totally hold them to that. The NRA question was interesting, though mostly just because of Biden's reaction. Yeah, that guy calling his gun his baby was pretty messed up, but he was probably mostly (hopefully) joking and I'm not sure deserved to be called crazy on national tv. Better watch it Biden, the NRA is coming for you.

I really liked the videos that the candidate's did and actually wish they would air stuff like that as campaign spots instead of the incredibly annoying stuff we always get. I think Clinton's was my favorite, but Obama's made me feel all warm and fuzzy. It was hope in video form. And of course Edwards' showed that he has a sense of humor. Although sometimes that sense of humor misfires, as evidenced by his crack about Clinton's jacket. You don't criticize a woman's jacket, man! Heh. Oh, and Gravel's video actually didn't scare the crap out of me like I thought it was going to. I guess it's kind of hard to top staring in the camera like a psycho and then throwing a rock in the water.

During 360's post debate show, Tom Foreman did a fact check and while I loves me the fact checks, it kind of made me go hmmm. The first check was against Obama's statement that he helped push through a law involving the disclosure of lobbyist money. That was all fine and good and yay to 360 for making it clearer. But then they fact checked Bill Richardson after he listed a bunch of things we need to do to help Africa and it got murkier. Tom said that Richardson gave the impression nothing had been done when in fact more money was pledged for Africa under Bush than Clinton. Okay, but first of all that assumes Richardson was only talking about money, and it also assumes that the money under Bush really is helping to fight AIDS. And did Richardson actually claim nothing was being done? Look, Bush in some ways has been good on African issues. I will totally give him that. But this is a stupid nitpick.

The final fact check was against Clinton and her assertion that she's worked to bring people together. Tom pointed out a poll that showed she's a polarizing figure. And I'm sure CNN was totally all over it all that time that Bush was claiming to be a uniter. Plus, was she even talking about the public? Again, a stupid nitpick. This isn't a partisan thing for me. It's just that those last two weren't really fact checks. The sad thing is there probably were a couple of factually incorrect statements made during the debate that are going through unchecked. Obviously the debates only happened a few hours prior to airing this, so I'm not expecting gold here, but the nitpicking is getting old. Go ahead and bring it up, but don't call it a fact check. And while I'm doing the criticism part of the blog, I have to say, I think the dial testing is stupid. It looks cool, but it's statistically insignificant and if I had one of those things I'd be annoyed there was no pandering button. Politicians are very good at sounding great while saying nothing at all. You need a button for that is all I'm saying.

Wrapping this up, so, is the YouTube style debate the way of the future? In some ways I hope so. It's great to see the people really participating in democracy like this. On the other hand, I think it's also important we keep the regular debates too. You know, the ones with the unsmiling PBS commentator in the darkened auditorium. Because while the YouTube debates make the process fun, we have to be careful not to get on a slippery slope where entertainment takes over what is supposed to be a serious exercise. When it all comes down to it, we're picking someone to hopefully lead us out of a hell of a lot of messes. Probably more than they can handle. Anyway, the Republican debate should be interesting. And hey, with this new format, maybe I won't want to break my tv this time.


Anonymous Sebastian said...

I doubt it was meant to be taken seriously. But what is the difference between someone calling a really sweet classic car “his baby” and someone calling his rifle the same thing? Both are items that people in each respective hobby get a lot of enjoyment out of. Both items require a lot of investment in money, care, and time to maintain and keep in good working order. So what makes one person normal and the other mentally deranged?

8:11 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

Well, I don't really agree with calling a car that either. But there's something off-putting about referring to a weapon that way. I still don't think Biden should have been so harsh though. It was politically stupid and unfair because the man couldn't respond.

4:13 PM  

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