There was a presidential debate last night?

I don’t know about you, but I am exhausted by the excruciatingly long election season. First it was the interminable Democratic primaries, where we went through the entire gamut of emotions, from hope to disgust to frustration to disgust to incredulity to disgust..you get the drift. Now the post-conventions drama is played out with such glee in the mainstream media, one suspects it was orchestrated entirely by them so they’d have something to fill 24 hours of airtime with.

I find it hard to believe that there are still people left in this country who haven’t made up their minds..what were you doing, sleeping under a rock this last year? Those uncommitted people from Ohio or Pennsylvania or Indiana or wherever the battleground du jour happens to be? They’re lying – happy to have their moment in the sun, their 15 minutes of fame, knowing fully well which candidate they’re going to bubble in their ballots come November 4th.

Meanwhile, the rest of us have to go through the reality TV of weekly debates, where the questions are boring, the answers are predictable and the only thing that changes is the moderator itself, not the smugness or condescension with which the questions are asked. The candidates go through the motions, hoping to make it through 90 minutes without any obvious gaffes, though they can be assured that every hand gesture, every eye scan, every hesitation and stutter will be pounced upon by the vultures garbed as political pundits, even as the substance of their answers glazes the eyes.

Yesterday was no different. I was determined not to watch, my little protest against the inanity of these formats, where the candidates are leashed to their respective little territories, unable to argue or defend or in any way have a real conversation with each other or the voters back home. You can tell that they are on auto pilot, as stock phrases from the stump come rattling out through lips that are trained to stay non-committal, in case a misguided display of emotion makes it to the headlines the next day.

Still, I caught some of it when the hubby insisted on turning the TV on. We had it tuned to CNN where the audience meter put us in a Zen-like state.. we were watching the watchers. Is it possible for the insta-reaction from the focus group to not influence your own perceptions of the event? I eventually gave up listening to the debate, having been hypnotized by the undulating green and orange lines. At the end, the lines gave me a vague sense that women liked Obama more, which priceless nugget of information I could have given to you based on the Senator’s pearly whites right at the start of this whole circus.

Nothing new comes out of these debates- at best, they are a judge of whether the candidate has the composure to not scream out loud in boredom and frustration. But, hey, these guys are senators; if there’s one skill they have, it is to sit through long boring sessions in Congress which have no useful value and produce dubious results.

Of course, the pundits jumped on McCain’s use of the term “That One” to describe Obama( I hear T-Shirts with those words are being printed even as we speak.) Come on, this is a guy from your grandfather’s generation – you’ve got to cut him some slack – at least he didn’t call him “that cocky young whippersnapper” or “that darn tootin’ busybody.” Other than that, there were no momentous moments, no fodder for late-night TV and for me at least, no memories of even the little bit I watched. And anyway, today the tanking Dow is overwhelming what little interest there was in the debate in the first place.

These “debates” are awful. Goodie…I get to see another one next week.

2 thoughts on “There was a presidential debate last night?

  1. Geeta Padmanabhan

    And in India, the debates are telecast with utter seriousness, with a lot of fanfare. Their timings are announced all day so you don’t miss them. But the anchors usually have nothing to say “about” them! Yes, they are now a big yawn. This time, Obama’s comments on Pakistan got a lot of footage.

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