The debate that wasn’t

The great debate – the first of the never ending Presidential campaign season – came and went Thursday night in South Carolina and it was, for all practical purposes, a yawner.

So cautious, so careful, so calculated, so scripted were the eight Democratic candidates that journalists could have written the debate story from the talking points put out by each campaign long before the 90-minute snoozer broadcast on MSNBC.

Not that many noticed: Overnight ratings from major television markets show the talkfest – that began at 7 p.m. EDT – lagged far behind syndicated entertainment gossip shows along with Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune for the first hour and CBS’s Survivor for the last 30 minutes.

And why not? Even the latest tawdry news about Britney, Kevin, Alec and Anna Nicole’s love child provided far more fodder for coffee shop gossip this morning than anything spewing out of the mouths of the candidates for public office.

I’ll take boredom for $500 Alex.

In a pre-packaged, consultant-driven, focus-group shaped political world campaign debates are anything but. Every word spoken by each of the candidates had been rehearsed so many times and uttered so often before that the audience could have finished it off in a responsive reading. Heck, even Dennis Kucinich, the madman of Ohio, seemed subdued.

Instead of a substantive discussion of the issues we got an hour-and-a-half of pabulum delivered by handler-controlled mannequins straight out of central casting. Not one of these uber-cautious Presidential wannabes showed an ounce of courage, a drab of leadership or a nanosecond of independent thought.

At the debate’s end, the lemmings who masquerade today as working journalists marched in formation to each candidate’s spokesmen so they could spoon-feed the pre-prepared spin that claims each of their candidates won.

Like so much of the glitz of modern politics, the debate resulted in much ado about nothing. I saw nothing on that stage Thursday night that would make me want to vote for a single one of the candidates for office.

This wasn’t a debate. It was just another episode of the long-running political soap opera that should be called As the Stomach Churns.

It left me wishing that federal election ballots included “none of the above” as an option.

It would win in a landslide.


  1. SEAL

    The problem is that we will never know what any of them will actually do until theyare elected because they are so concerned with not saying anything wrong. “Yeah, look at me, I’m everybody’s candidate.”

    It’s always been that way. In my lifetime, Kennedy was the only presidential candidate that had the ability to inspire people. But I believe they are making a mistake this time. The nation is hungry for a legitimate candidate to open up and say the things that we all truly feel. Those things we know that no one talks about. How people’s rights have been stolen by power mad despots. How we have been lied to and spied upon. How our money has been stolen. And so on. I think the people are ready for that and one of these candidates could run away with it if they did it right.

  2. Razor

    Thats true Seal. Surely these candidates know what americans want but do they have the ability or desire to provide those things? Is there a over shadowing power that rules from the dark and is never spoken of by the ones in public? I, personaly think there is. Its the cabal who are behind the one world government or new world order movement. The unionization of europe was the start and that same push is being done to the americas. There are plans of having all countries placed in zones of five or six and the united nations are to be the police force that will control any rogues or uprisings. In the meantime the political show boating continues and we all are led to believe that nothing is going on behind the scenes of normal operations. If one looks beyond the picture presented by the mass media, one can see that there is a rhyme and a reason for all this chaos and disharmony around the globe. “order from chaos” Words written in greek that are printed on our money. I believe zionism is behind the new world order and is the real enemy of all free nations in the near future. Its no secret that that cult seeks domination of the entire world. Its the religion of the elites who believe they are above most all others by virtue of thier bloodline.

  3. anthny

    I can’t understand why the Demo’s act this way in real time debates.
    Bush and his NSA wiretaps must have something on everyone in the country.
    Including these fake candidate’s.
    Kucinich is laying low because of his charge of impeachment toward Cheney.
    Otherwise he is the little attack dog that will bite your ankles while threating death to the trespassers.
    I respect few demo’s today with the exception of Kucinich, Waxman, and John Conyers maybe a few more but I can’t think of them this morning. I suffer from that new brain disease called CRS. I think most men my age are in the same boat I’m in because of all the leagal drugs that the Iran-Contra Regime peddled in the 1980’s
    But since I can’t think of them means nothing.
    Of course my cynical attitude is another part of being a baby boomer. And ignorance is very dangerous for the country in these sick times.
    “United we Stand Divided We Fall”
    Abraham Lincoln

  4. JudyB

    There can never be a true debate with so many participants and so little time
    This was not a debate, but instead, a display of who you’ll be seeing ad nausea for the next 9 months or so. Was it boring, stiff, stiffled? Yes! However, I will vote for one of these canidates next year. Just which one will depend on who has the best chance of winning when the time comes to vote, because definitely want a change.

    Next week there will be even more bodies on the stage. I will watch but I will not vote for any of them…because I am voting against the republican party this time!

  5. Sandy Price

    I’m with you on the lack of support for the GOP. I was hoping for a spark of interest last night and it never developed. Was it boredom or fear that kept them so under control?

    I ordered the new Tenet book this morning that will be released on Monday. I understand he will be exposing a bit of Cheney’s actions and might change the whole Republican list of candidates.

    I will be doing a book review at:

  6. justanothercoverup

    I can’t understand why the Demo’s act this way in real time debates.
    Bush and his NSA wiretaps must have something on everyone in the country.

    Unfortunately Anthny, I believe the NSA wiretapping program is at the root of so many politicians being afraid to speak their minds; The Bush/Cheney administration have already demonstrated they hold the Constitution and Bill of Rights in utter contempt – unless they have a need to hide behind Constitutional protections themselves! People who have contempt for the rule of law and our Constitutional values are capable of anything – as they don’t believe the law actually applies to them, and circumventing it to advance their corrupt agenda is justified as being the lesser of the evils; the “evil” identified as Americans who are too stupid to understand the danger we’re in by not following in lock-step to Herr Bush/Cheney!

    Prior to the elections, I interviewed Joe Roberts (D) in Pensacola, Florida, who was running against Republican incumbent Jeff Miller. He lost by a humongous margin – and I believe that one of the reasons for the loss is that he was afraid of being too controversial; Sadly, Mr. Roberts had the right idea, but was advised by someone not to make public his beliefs – and maybe what he had learned from other Democrats.

    This is a transcript of the interview as it pertained to the NSA wiretapping program:

    WILLIAM CORMIER: Joe, What’s your feelings about the wiretapping program, ah, the new programs the FBI is trying to implement as far as voice over IP, ah, ISP providers, ah, manufacturers like CISCO having to build-in to their hardware “back-doors” for the FBI so that they can literally spy on average Americans?

    JOE ROBERTS: Well, I don’t think that the, this is a benign terrorist related kind of an operation that they’re doing. When you look at the amount of data that they’re gathering, they’re gathering billions and billions of phone calls – and you could never go through all those phone calls in a, in a few lifetimes. You just can’t deal with kind of data. So I think what they’re doing is mining for specific information on specific individuals. Ah, for instance, if someone might be running against Jeff Miller in Florida’s District One, like me, it might be useful for them to be able to monitor all of my cell phone calls. And, it would be easy to do with the programs they have, so I don’t think they are casting a wide net here and, I don’t think they have analysts who are going to go through billions of phone calls looking for terrorist activity. I think they’re spying on individual Americans and I think it’s illegal, I think it’s unconstitutional; And it breaks the laws of this land and I think it shows just how much of a, just how much of a contempt that our current government has for our Constitution and laws of our land. And that’s what I think about it.

    WILLIAM CORMIER: Yeah, there’s been a lot of speculation about that because Americans are looking at some of their representatives, Congressmen, and they’re aghast and simply don’t understand why they are voting against their constituencies’ – and there has been some speculation that perhaps, information has been gathered on them, and, it’s all speculation, and none of us have an answer. Ah, but from my standpoint, I think I agree with you that – what stops them from doing exactly what you said?

    JOE ROBERTS: Well, there, there’s just very few reasons that they would actually gather billions of phone calls. They cannot go through billions of phone calls in a random way or an organized way and come-up with people that they identify that are involved in terrorism. They have to go into this database with a name already – and with a specific agenda for locating information on an individual. And we don’t know who those individuals are. And, I suspect, and I feel, given the bent of this current government we have, I suspect that they would be looking at their political opponents. Ah, Ah, phone calls, and that’s what I’m afraid of; that’s what I would suspect; I don’t have any proof of that – it just seems to me that, ah, that would be a very likely reason they are doing this.

    WILLIAM CORMIER: I appreciate that. I think that a lot of other Americans feel the same way too.


    Note: I am not a professional in regard typing-out transcriptions; There may be an “ah”, “uh” or other omissions of that taped conversation, however, 99.9 % of the above transcription is true and correct – and it was taped in front of several people and with the full knowledge and approval of Joe Roberts.

  7. Carl Nemo

    The NSA is gobbling up terabytes of data for it’s daily caloric intake. :) It’s so much information that it’s quite useless without having some programmatic guidelines as to what they are seeking. They use “parsing” programs and state of the art “neural network” input filters to qualify, and quantify the assesssed threat from language used in spoken traffic, keyboard entered traffic, or even general random broadcast traffic on a world-wide basis.
    Words like bomb, chemical, biological warfare, mass killing or any words construed with mass mayhem can be picked out of the endless conglomerate of worldwide traffic that collectively speaking is nothing but “white noise” to undirected mass-data gathering techniques. Programs that do this are referred to as Carnivore, Echelon etc. Maybe if they named the programs “Herbivore” or “Pink-Thought” it would be less traumatizing. :)) They’ve been doing this since the dawn of modern communications traffic. The business of traffic analysis has been around a long time, even before their enfranchisement as the NSA during Truman era. All the branches of the service had their own SIGINT (Signal Intelligence) & ELINT (electronics intelligence) functions feeding into “Big Brother” ‘s voracious maw. Btw these services are very necessary for the preservation of our freedom relative to attacks from those that would like to destroy our nation and our way of life! So they aren’t all bad, nor are they all good. It’s when conniving politicians with a NWO/AIPAC agenda or other sinister purposes; i.e., blackmail to control the opposition etc., start to commandeer and steer the heads of the NSA and our other major intelligence gathering agencies to serve the needs of their corporatist agenda that we end up with a corrupted mission and intelligence product. So Americans best thank the gods every day that they have the NSA looking for the bad guys, it’s just that we don’t want folks of the Bushista caliber telling the directors of these agencies that “we the people” are the bad guys…get it! The NSA was not originally chartered to spy on Americans, that’s why they have the FISA mechanism in place. So my best advice is for Americans to get proactive and to contact their elected pols concerning enhanced NSA wiretap, spying authority over CONUS initiated traffic without FISA oversight. The NSA is here to stay at least until an asteroid incoming takes care of the world’s collective problem…:)) Btw, the CIA is not chartered to spy on Americans, but they do. Tell your reps you want that b.s. stopped too. The FBI has never been chartered since it’s a throwback to the J. Edgar Hoover days;i.e., the feds fighting Chicago’s bootleggin’ thugs etc. So old J. Edgar got a free pass and built up a horrific d-base on pols etc. The FBI is the most rogue agency of all and needs to be reigned in big-time and pointed in the correct direction as mandated by citizens through their elected reps. So I advise concerned citizens to contact their reps and discuss these issues and what you “expect” as a citizen! If your rep pulls your chain and give you a bunch of howza yowza nonsense then “do not” cast your vote for them again, regardless of how much “feelgood” pork they pitch back to Mayberry…period! I’ll post the duty link so you can find out who your elected reps might be. As they say “just do it”…!

  8. Gerald Sutliff

    Dear Doug,

    What said is true enough. Nothing more than what we got could have been expected, however I didn’t expect Mike Gravel’s all to brief tirades. Nether did the rest of the panel, including Bryan Williams.

    Afterwards among the talking heads on MSNBC Gravel was referred to as an extreme leftist. He didn’t impress me as such. I hope he stays in the race long enough to make future debates really interesting by holding the other candidates’ feet to the Iraqi fire.

    His remark that America is held in the thrall of the military industrial complex hardly seem radical; it’s merely a comment about the obvious.

    Keep up the good work.

  9. Doubtom

    There was no debate although I did come in late. I saw a bunch of savvy politicians aware of their image and dancing round the issues unless it involved criticizing IdiotBush. They’re all trying their level best to be “seen” as the most electable and as such can’t be expected to get too boisterous about anything.

    Mike Gravel was the exception and a breath of fresh air. He was accused of going on a tirade for showing real concern for the state of the union but then everyone who has ever attempted to speak the truth has been called a wild-eyed radical.
    We need More Gravels and Kucinich’s and not just to add fuel to debates but to win the debates and the offices!
    Biden did present a solution to the Iraq debacle but he soured it by sneeringly referring to the less popular of the candidates as engaging in “happy talk” for calling for more direct engagement as in impeachment. They all showed cowardice plus in not backing Kucinich’s call for impeachment and lost my vote in the process.

    This nation needs one remedy and it needs it now, and that is impeachment!

  10. mrtshw

    With the exception of Senator Gravel, all 90 minutes minutes were cosumed by insufferable bores. But,alas, the 30 minute recap was inhabited by even more cretinous specimens;…. the MSNBC analysts. Even the Edward R.Murrow wannabe, Keith Olbermann was muted by the screechings of dumber-than-dirt, meglomaniac Chris Matthews and the GOP boy sopranos, Tucker Carlson and Joe Scarbrough. Apparently the MSM is determined to promote voter apathy for the next 17 months so that noone will bother to participate in the corporate sponsored coronation come November,2008

  11. SEAL

    Just normal political posuring. Instead of doing something to win, they make sure they don’t do anything that would cause them to lose. We will see a lot of that.

  12. Razor

    I certainly won’t see alot of it, because I refuse to watch such crap. I have almost assaulted my big screen when these political hacks are spouting thier propaganda and end up screaming obsenities and comments about lack of thier intellegence, so I have promised my wife to never watch televised political events or any thing other than nascar. The internet and nascar are about the only things not under Bush control anymore. Never thought any man could be in such a position with so little ability as the decider. How many more lives will end before the decider decides in favor of life.