Debate #2: Is that All There Is?
Tuesday's Presidential debate spoke volumes about the sorry state of politics today. Granted, both contenders gave a good show: Obama was back on his game and Romney did his best to sound like Ronald Reagan. The pundits have been given a lovely hopper of fodder to hold them for a week or so. It has been agreed that Americans only care for a spectacle, so this debate will be analyzed and judged the same way any theatrical event gets reviewed by the critics.
Unfortunately, between some of the things that the candidates said and the vast number of issues that they carefully avoided, with the help of a two-party run Debates Commission, the future doesn't look too bright in the seeing-things-how-they-really-are department.
The two men tripped over each other praising domestic oil and gas extraction, arguing over who is the better friend to fossil fuel energy. Obama gushed excitedly about the 100 years’ worth of natural gas energy that we are starting to extract and consume. He even dragged up that old chestnut, “clean coal,” pointing out its “rightful” place in his energy policies. This is the same President who has been talking about the threat of climate change and our need to cut carbon emissions. But at this point in the campaign, it must be that the message isn't selling well with potential voters, so any acknowledgement of the problem was jettisoned for the debate performance; better to not remind voters about such a downer issue. Until climate change can be monetized and traded for profit, it’s not going to have much appeal for the voting public.
Our two candidates certainly had their lists of important points to make. But someone must have chosen too big of a font, because there was only room for one: growing the middle class, saving the middle class, raising (or lowering) taxes on the middle class, finding middle class jobs, yearning for the middle class of days gone by. It turns out that we must not have any more poor people in this country, because neither candidate ever finds a minute to mention them, let alone talk about any problems they may face.