Too many to count

by

The blogosphere is absolutely rife with criticism of last night’s debate.  I provided my real time criticism as did dozens of other bloggers, many from right here in Philadelphia.  I could go through and compile links to all of it but really the critiques follow the same major themes:

1. No talk about substantive issues (aka “the issues that matter to real Americans”) until 53 minutes in.  Even then the issue was Iraq which, because of a dearth of coverage by most mainstream media, has become an issue that only seems to “matter” to Americans who have or lost family in the war.

2. Too much use of what will be Republican criticisms of the Democratic nominee as “questions.”  Example: the discussion was not about whether taxes should be raised or lowered.  The assumption was that taxes are “bad” and therefore the only question was by how much should they be lowered.

3. Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopolous focused on “economic” issues that seemed to affect the middle class in a world in which “middle” makes $200,000 or more.

4. Closely related to number 1 – the non-issue related questions that were asked – questions that are supposed to be about a candidate’s leadership qualities and personal character – focused on things said and done by associates – not even very close associates – of the candidates rather than the candidates themselves.

Senator Clinton’s “sniper fire” story and Senator Obama’s choices about wearing a flag lapel pin and his way of explaining the economic plight of a lot of middle income Americans were the only insight we got into their “character” and those focused on verbal gaffes more than any poor decisions or character flaws.

That said, a few journalists and a lot of right wing commentators thought the debate was just fine.  So did some Clinton supporters who were just happy that the press focused a little of their fire on Obama for once.  What they didn’t realize was that that “fire” was more of warm up for what they’ll see in the fall.

Basically, if the debate had been a movie and all of the feedback were gathered “Rotten Tomatoes” style, it would probably have gotten a 9% or “Rotten” rating.

And now I’ve gotten the chance to hear it all again on NPR’s replay.  Whoopeeee!

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