From the brief look I've had at blogs from both the left and the right, there is definitely a consensus that last night's debate in Philadelphia and shown on ABC-TV was BOOOOORING. The network's anchor, Charlie Gibson, and the chief Washington correspondent, George Stephanopoulos, were real jerks last night in the kinds of questions they asked the candidates. Rather than talk about real issues, so much of the debate was spent on Hillary's excellent adventure in Tuzla and Barack's "bitter" comments; and her being forced to admit that there was more than just that in her autobiography that was hooey, while he was almost goaded to point out that many of his constituents are rural conservative church-goers who are gun owners but nonetheless share his values.
There was some serious discussion about taxes, particularly the capital gains tax. They were both trying to emphasize that raising income taxes on the wealthy while cutting them for the middle class would mean more revenue for Washington. Some with a basic accounting background like me could probably understand what they were attempting to say but it was lost on most of the viewership who don't understand the code in which politicians often speak. The sense I got from their coded verbiage was they're aiming for at least revenue neutrality, but Gibson attempted to suggest a capital gains tax increase would be a disaster for the Treasury. Also, Gibson's suggestion that people earning between $97k and $250k are "middle class" is way out of touch. Maybe in lower Manhattan it is, but definitely not in Harlem or even in South Philly. My question to Gibson is, try to be more sensitive, and give us full disclosure and tell us what your stock portfolio is. CNBC asks no less of its on-air personnel as well as its guests when there is a conflict of interest.
The only bright moment was when Hillary was asked -- three times by my count -- if Barack could beat John McCain in the fall. She finally admitted that, yes he can. What took you so long, ma'am? What's happened to convince you that your colleague finally meets the commander-in-chief threshold?
One can only hope the next proposed debate in North Carolina with Katie Couric on CBS-TV -- apparently still up in the air as of this morning -- won't be as annoying. Given her track record so far on the Evening News however, as well as the attitudes of the media which is mostly secretly Republican to begin with (albeit liberal Republican) my guess is yes it will.
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I just want to point out something about the concept of elitism, which stemmed from Obama's bitter comment. It's ironic that a comedian, Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, finally made a simple point about this obsession to the aversion of being labelled an elitist. Here's the point in a nutshell:
Elite means good. If you're running for President, you're telling us that out of 300 million Americans, you are most qualified to lead them. That's pretty elite by any standard. And if you don't think you're better than everyone else, then what the "bleep" are you doing running for president(the last line is quoted directly from Stewart)
Obama's an elitist, okay. But Hillary making 109 million dollars last year doesn't exactly put her in the category of blue collar. Neither is McCain, whose wife is rich. So for Clinton and McCain to come out swinging at Obama for being an elitist is sheer hypocrisy. But unfortunately, the idiot American media didn't pick up on that.
And after 8 years of George Bush, who was more comfortable having a beer and bowling than actually running the country, isn't it time we try someone who is embarassingly superior to the regular folk that could help actually solve problems?
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