The great debate: Bush v. Kerry
(this is a condensed version from a paper I wrote tonight for my PolySci class - if you want the full copy, PM me)
Televised debates were once used as an open forum for the public to ask the candidates where they stood on important issues. Today, they are used as a campaign tactic, and rarely focus on the important issues facing Americans.
Tonights debate was no exception.
The format was pretty linear, like the candidates themselves - it was a 2 minute response to the question, followed by a 90 second retort. Often, 30 seconds was given the responder to retort to the retort. Okay then.
What made this debate lame was simple: it was a debate over who would protect the country better with less money in less time. A strong issue in the media, but we won't go into Iraq...
What it DIDNT cover were the issues most important to the people voting... Jobs, the Economy, Funding for public utilities (schools, police & fire, medical, taxes, etc.)
Not only was it a once topic debate - but both opponents attacked the stability, intelligence, and decisions of the other, while admiring their wives, children, bravery, education and social status.
This was not about who WON the debate - Bush and Kerry both made good points and bad points. Kerry was well formed and cool-headed, but his arguments never pointed to anything other than bad leadership in the presidency (not in congress, UN or foreign allies).
Bush, always with a stumbling problem did trip up a few times, but I felt he avoided attacking Kerry in such a way as to call him an idiot. Where Bush dominated was in Patriot-speak (meaning: touch the souls of Americans with things like "freedom", "homeland", "liberation")
In conclusion, this debate cannot be any more helpful in determining who to vote for because it did not really isolate the man who would lead a better America. The only way to really understand these ideas is to consider that U.S. campaigns are possible only through large sums of money - and everyone knows that those who cough up the big bucks get a seat right next to whoever wins in November