I'm an elitist

I'm an elistist. I know all democratic voices should be heard, but I came from tonight thinking- we need to limit this debate to only a few candidates per debate. It doesn't have to be the same candidates each time, but there needs to be more time given.

Here's the reality. Right now, we are getting sound bites. I support Edwards. I loved his sound bites. But, they were still sound bites.

So does this desire for longer answers make me an elitist? Over the last few years, I have begun to view a lot of things differently than I did in my 20s. I thought back then that everyone's opinion should be heard, and is equally valid. But, now I realize that they aren't.

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I don't need to hear the health insurance company's views, for example, because I know it would be an exercise in bullshit and spin.  I don't need to hear a lot of things. I do want to hear a lot of things. I would love to hear Kucinich for more than 2 minutes.

I would love to see these candidates forced to stick with one topic for 20 minutes or 30, grilled by the public and grilled by other candidates.  No answers under 5 minutes. No avoiding questions. To do that means, realistically, some voices will get left out. Why? Because if you are going to limit it to an hour or 2 hours, you only have so much time for each candidate to talk.

Edwards got me with his passion tonight for healthcare, but I wanted to really hear him and Obama go at it on this issue. They both have good ideas. But this isn't simply about ideas. As they all tried to get at, but didn't have time to point out. This is about implementation. I've heard it all before. So have most American voters. We want to get to the heart of things. To do that takes more than soundbites.

Those championing their candidates as winners tonight amuse me. What did they win? I suppose voters, but did they convince you of anything? If so what? Because I was left without being convinced.

I want someone to go at Sen. Clinton on this issue of healthcare. I wanted her to do more than show she could remember the names of those who sent in youtube videos. I wanted to know whether Edwards had thought through his ideas. How he or Obama would have shown leadership?

I want people go after Edwards on the subject of poverty and his views of foreign policy. That's not a soundbite. Are our standards so low that we thought tonights 60 second commercials constitute real debate?

I know- I know. That means no Kucinich or Gravel in some debates. It may mean no Edwares in others.  I like them both. They are entertaining, but that's not what we want from debates, is it?

I know there are people who think Biden is a serious contender. I guess he is. The same with Dodd and Richardson. I get it. I really do. I want them there too , but that elitist part of me wants to see a serious debate.

Tonight wasn't a serious debate on healthcare. It was a sound bite. I loved Edwards soundbite. But it was just a sound bite. The same is true of all the other candidates on just about every other issue.

Don't you want more? Don't we deserve better?

Tags: Candidates, debates, Presidential Race (all tags)

Comments

9 Comments

Re: I'm an elitist

Just think, bruh, if there were, say, 1000 candidates, there wouldn't even be sound bites. I didn't really hear the debates (life gets complicated), but I can imagine the scene. The worst part is, if the Republicans just narrow their candidate down to three or so, they'll each get more time. They don't seem to have any candidates (except for Paul) who could get elected in any situation. Maybe one answer would be to just discuss a limited number of topics.

The funny thing about debates now is that the public is generally spooked, and won't trust any complex scheme (my humble opinion). Glad to hear you think Edwards did well.

by blues 2007-07-23 08:50PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm an elitist

That's true. but I think that is because we have been condition to view these dog and pony shows as legit rather than go wait a minute this kind of sucks. I wish we had a British style system where the candidates get grilled and forced to defend their positions- including edwards.

by bruh21 2007-07-24 06:07AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm an elitist

I believe Edwards did very well in the beginning, much better than previous debates. But he got sidetracked by a couple of silly questions, especially the gay marriage question. So he ended on a low note.

by areyouready 2007-07-23 08:53PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm an elitist

I think one solution would be to focus on one issue rather than jump around so much. I don't have a problem with them discussing gay marriage, but do it under an umbrella subject matter discussion debate on civil rights that is all about civil rights for one night. It would be more useful than the soundbites we are getting out of all of the candidates.

by bruh21 2007-07-24 06:06AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm an elitist

Rationalization anyone?

If it had been Clinton and Obama chatting at the NAACP forum, I'm guessing there would still be much ado over the entire thing around here. But for the most part, people have let it go, so there's no reason to keep the story alive by putting up awkward attempts at trying to defend what was said.

I agree that the debates have been less helpful at providing distinctions between the candidates than they could have been, but the onus is on the (non-Hillary) candidates to set themselves apart, from her and from one another. I thought Edwards and Obama each did a pretty good job of getting their messages across tonight, judging by the reaction from Edwards supporters at DailyKos and reaction to Obama from online "polls" and TV focus groups.

by Max Fletcher 2007-07-23 09:15PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm an elitist

When I say I am bothered by the debates ability to get across who candidates are that means I am bothered by the debates ability to get across who the candidates are. It has nothing to do with who I support. That was for disclosure, which is a good thing. By the way, I don't think from your usage that you understand the definition of "rationalization." There is something very Rovian about your post.

by bruh21 2007-07-24 06:04AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm an elitist

rationalization: a defense mechanism by which your true motivation is concealed by explaining your actions and feelings in a way that is not threatening

by Max Fletcher 2007-07-25 05:09PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm an elitist

I think I have a solution to some of the debate dilution: Why not have a debate where the highest polling candidates get most of the regular time to answer questions, but some of these questions are posed by the fringe candidates who can use these questions to differentiate themselves from the frontrunners on certain issues?

Who really cares about these debates anyway as long as they are so formally structured with unrealistic time limits per question. Also since we have a series of debates, certain topics should be the focus of an agenda with less time on topics already covered.

by Pravin 2007-07-24 05:27AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm an elitist

Debates have essentially been this way for decades.  And it is part of the reason we are a country now ruled by sound bites.  It doesn't help when the Democratic party caters to every civic or media group in the country wanting to host a debate.

I agree with you completely that we need more discussions focusing on fewer issues in less time.  I think a creative solution could be found to allow all candidates equal time but perhaps only 3 candidates per 1 hour show.

No, you're not elitist.  You're just more thoughtful about this information than most.  Many Americans are so conditioned to the way things are they wouldn't be able to recognize a different and better way.  Similar thoughts have been floated in the past and I believe attempted once or twice.  

But take heart.  Some things do come across.  And one can always tune into the candidates web sites to hear "unilateral debates".  They are not without value.

Another thing I remind myself of is that all these intelligent people are learning and this is all part of a larger discussion.  When one of them is president, actions won't always exactly echo his/her promises.  The upside of that is if a good idea circulated in the primary, there is some chance the new president will "borrow" it.

On a side note, I thought last nights debate introduced 2 new concerns about the medium.  I'm concerned about there being millions of people in this country without a voice in the information age.  I also wondered if some of the "questions" were selected more for the novelty or entertainment value than for their effectiveness in getting responses to very important issues.

by Satya 2007-07-24 09:44AM | 0 recs

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