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A Boring Debate

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 1:00 am - October 8, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics

Tonight’s debate reminded me why I don’t normally watch such exchanges.  It was, well, it was boring.

Had I not been watching with a blog-reader, I might have turned it off or turned to the Internet.  I didn’t think either candidate did a very good job.

I trust those who faulted Sarah Palin for not answering questions in last week’s vice presidential debate will now fault Barack Obama for failing to respond to citizens’ queries.  McCain also failed to answer a handful (though I think Obama was the greater offender).

Obama acted for the most part like he was running against George W. Bush.  It seemed he had determined to say the “last eight years” more times than Palin had said “maverick” last week.  While he tried to sound like Ronald Reagan at times expressing confidence in the American people, he forgot that the Gipper always looked forward.  There were moments when Obama seemed wallowing in the past, as a depressed person wallows in self-pity.

McCain seemed too often to bring up criticisms of Obama when it might have served him better to outline his own policies.  (But then again, that was perhaps the only thing which added spice to this snooze-fest.) Obama also took some cheap shots at McCain.

But, the Democrat also had his moments, emulating Clinton in trying to explain how complex policy decisions impacts the economy and citizens.

The real loser in this debate was moderator Tom Brokaw.  By selecting the questions of the various participants, he made it less spontaneous, reflecting less the concerns of the average voter than the interests of the Beltway broadcaster.  He should have picked the participants at random and not been allowed to pre-screen the questions.

It may well have been Brokaw’s selection of questions which prevented this debate from being engaging.



  1. Its time to FIGHT! Strike back against these media weapons of mass distortion!

    Comment by Titor — October 8, 2008 @ 1:04 am - October 8, 2008

  2. You know who won the debate?

    I DID!!! I didn’t watch it!

    Yes, band practice again.

    Comment by sonicfrog — October 8, 2008 @ 1:24 am - October 8, 2008

  3. It was boring because of McCain’s lackluster performance. He’s doing a little better, but it’s still painfully clear he’d rather be anywhere but that debate. If he could just pick up the energy and be a little more Palin-esque, you’d see those instant polls showing a much, much closer race.

    It’s not surprising tho… THE MAN’S 73 YEARS OLD! That he can stand up on stage and not completely embarrass himself is actually kinda impressive. Try picturing your grandfather standing up on stage under the same circumstances. And there’s one of McCain’s inherent problems… these debates just remind people how friggin old the guy is. Barring a miracle for the old coot, I can’t picture the final debate being any different.

    Comment by Dan — October 8, 2008 @ 2:09 am - October 8, 2008

  4. Maybe Dan is right–McCain might be more lively if only he weren’t so darn old. He can be somewhat high-energy on the campaign trail, and he certainly keeps a dizzying schedule, but being engaging and going on the offensive in direct response to questions that are not designed to foster that approach is a tricky business.

    Obama, too, was toned-down, and I thought it was intentional. He even made a comment toward the beginning to the extent that people view McCain as having gravitas and him as a lightweight, so I thing he was very conciously trying to be serious and somber.

    Comment by Ryan — October 8, 2008 @ 2:18 am - October 8, 2008

  5. Good point about Obama, Ryan.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — October 8, 2008 @ 2:43 am - October 8, 2008

  6. Bore, baby, bore!

    Comment by Jeremayakovka — October 8, 2008 @ 3:11 am - October 8, 2008

  7. So if McCain was boring due to age, what was Obama’s excuse?

    I think the debate was boring because the questions were boring and allowed the candidates to go into talking point/stump speech mode.

    I thought McCain’s answers were much better and Obama spent a lot of time talking in circles over all. The only interesting question of the night Obama didn’t answer at all and McCain answered well.

    I think the problem with this debate was that Brokaw overly screen the questions to the point that they were questions he wanted to ask rather than questions the public wanted to ask. I think this format stunk because it turned the townhall style debate into another newsroom moderated debate.

    I think it would have been more interesting if they had avoided the vaunted undecided or uncommitted voter and gone for 1/2 of the audience partisan Obama supporters and the other half partisan McCain supporters. Screened the question for apprpriateness only, and drawn the names out of a hat. A McCain supporter gets to ask Obama a question and visa versa.

    I think this would have avoided the talking point regurgitation that pretty much defined the evening and would have resulted in more interesting questions.

    Comment by just me — October 8, 2008 @ 6:51 am - October 8, 2008

  8. Yeah, I thought the debate was boring too, which is too bad cus I also think McCain wiped the floor with Obama. The main reason it was borng I think was the set-up — this TINY little audience split into sections of no more than 10 people — I think the audience was very uncomfortable and it set the mood.

    As far as the candidates, McCain was far more animated and exciting than Obama. I think the debate might move things towards McCain a bit, but he needs more

    Comment by American Elephant — October 8, 2008 @ 7:43 am - October 8, 2008

  9. Brokaw won…………his choice of questions obviously insured no fast balls or curves would be thrown at the prompter addicted obama. Had obama gotten a real question he might have shown his real empty suit capable of speaking only when once feeds him a nice easy question. He did manage to not even answer many questions nevertheless…..but the media will surely not mention that. Now if mc cain and palin will go on the ttack

    Comment by Mike — October 8, 2008 @ 10:13 am - October 8, 2008

  10. I agree, it would have been better if the questions had been more random and less Brokaw.

    Hopefully some good soundbites can be gleaned from the video footage for new attack ads from both sides.

    Comment by JT in the Army — October 8, 2008 @ 10:50 am - October 8, 2008

  11. McCain missed the opportunity to use the debate as a platform to vigorously-outline “whatever his economic plan is” to the public; rather than continue to attack Obama’s record which no-one apparently cares about. …So it turned into a snore-fest.

    Unlike most admininstratins who have months to get themselves organized, whomever wins needs to be involved in the economic planning for the recovery plan the day after the Election. I would hope that each-side would at-minimum anounce therir preferences for their senior Cabinet and WH postings before the Election; we can’t wait until March or April for the next US Secy of the Treasury to be sworn-in. Both McCain and Obama missed a golden moment to put that name further at the debate when asked. They just brushed it aside for some philosophical polemics, rather than address one of the most important issues they’lll face the day they become POTUS.

    One of the admirable aspects of the British Parlimentary system is the Shadow Cabinet; the key players are already vetted and briefed by their respective Ministries ready to slot right-in. In this modern age, December is too-late to start looking at resumes.

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — October 8, 2008 @ 11:37 am - October 8, 2008

  12. What I saw was NBC’s Tom Brokaw in the tank for Obama.

    Does anyone recall Caroline Kennedy informing Brokaw that the Obama camp considered choosing Brokaw to run as Veep with Obama? Sort of TonySnow-the-elder does an Executive Office gig to bring media seasoned gravitas to the ticket? Yet no MSM folks raised the issue of bias on Brokaw’s part like they did for Gwen Ifill or NBC generally.

    I thought the debate should have been hyped as “Brokeback Brokaw 4 Obama” the way they both screwed McCain into the ground.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — October 8, 2008 @ 11:43 am - October 8, 2008

  13. I didn’t watch the debate (due to other commitments) and probably would not have watched it even if I had the time. These Presidential debates have become so hypernegotiated, sanitized, and scrubbed of any possible chance of spontaneity that they become another version of “Last Man Standing” – not for the candidates but for the viewers gasping from boredom.

    Comment by just me‘s suggestion about adding some direct questions from partisan supporters is an improvement that I think the candidates would actually agree to.

    I would like to see a “lightning round” in which the moderator fires off a quick set of short yes/no questions and gives each candidate the opportunity to vote “yes”, “no”, or “present”. That would be fun, but I’m sure that Sen. Obama would never agree to such conditions.

    Comment by David J — October 8, 2008 @ 9:32 pm - October 8, 2008

  14. […] decided yet whether I’m going to watch tonight’s presidential debate. After last week’s snoozefest, I have far better uses for my time, especially given how far behind I am in a number of […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » As the Final Presidential Debate of ‘08 Approaches — October 15, 2008 @ 6:02 pm - October 15, 2008

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