Upcoming Debates

The first day of the first debate has arrived, yet there’s uncertainty on whether it will take place. I guess all of us will learn the answer as the day unfolds.

Nonetheless, if I were running the debates, here are some of the rules I would enforce.

  1. If the candidate doesn’t answer the question, turn off their microphone.
  2. If the candidate strays from the question, turn off their microphone.
  3. If the candidate stresses the faults of the other candidate’s position over emphasizing their position, turn off their microphone.
  4. If a candidate cuts off the other, turn off their microphone.

With these rules, here are two scenarios:

  • Given 30 seconds should be sufficient for each candidate, think about all the questions that could be asked.
  • Given 3-5 minutes per answer, think about the unsaid-until-now details voters would learn.

Welcome to La-La Land.

McCain’s Dilemma Menu

As an independent voter, I found John McCain’s speech interesting. He’s not a gifted orator, nor does he claim to be. The speech wasn’t filled with red meat, but that’s his style. In some ways it had a populist theme. I even thought about what if he won in 2000.

Sure the ardent partisans are either filled with moans or cheers, but any open listener heard an example of how the events in his life have shaped his political values. Surely anyone can give him that much credit.

Although I don’t buy into the GOP rhetoric that only Republicans are about “Country First” nor do I believe that particular slogan in terms of the Republican platform. I do believe that Country First is an important mantra in Senator McCain’s life: his life as a public servant and his life as a citizen. So what’s on the dilemma menu?

1) Senator McCain is against special interests, but stands in front of a party loaded with them. If any doesn’t believe that, they are only fooling themselves. Those who believe that only the GOP is armed with special interests are just as naïve.
2) Senator McCain is against pork-barrel spending. AMEN! Our government’s fiscal management is and has been pathetic. But in that convention hall were many members of Congress who thrive an earmarks. Earmarking is not limited to Democrats. Also in attendance were citizens from communities who received (and even asking for) earmarks. Is the good senator willing to take on his own party? Will his party really follow?

3) If Senator McCain wins, I trust he will reach across party lines because he’s done it before. In a time filled with animosity toward the other side of the aisle, will the citizens of this country learn how to do the same? Will our servants in Washington follow his lead? Will the GOP allow and support this bold, best interest of the people, approach?

I live in southwest Ohio, but not in the same district as House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner. Rep. Boehner numerous comments clearly demonstrate a “Republican First” approach. He also leads one of the largest PACs for the party. As party leader, will change to serve the people instead of the party? If not, will any members of Congress breakaway from his leadership? I must also say that if anyone doesn’t think Rep. Pelosi is immune from this attitude and behavior, they are just as blind.

4) The next two months will have many campaign appearances throughout the country. Appearing on the same stage will be a local representative or senator. The very same ones practicing party-first politics and supporting earmarks. What will Senator McCain say to the people, yet support the party? What will he tell the servants in private?

5) While standing for a similar message in 2000, the far right smeared John McCain. Although he cast them as evil, he knew he needed them if he would ever run for national office in the future. He picked himself up, sucked up his pride, and moved to establish common ground.

The same far right was been less than enamored with him during this election year, but he won them over with Governor Pilan. Can he be successful reaching across the aisle and keep the support of the far right; the same group with little-to-no room for common ground? Crossing the aisle means more than welcoming others to join you. If elected, can he successfully play both sides of the fence within a party and between parties? Will the far right throw John McCain under the bus again?

6) Last, but not least, there’s the party faithful within the electorate. Think about the casual applause at each convention when one candidate praised and honored the other. Do the red-meat-thriving faithful understand the meaning of Country First for the people, not the party? Do they know when and how to give and take for the good of all? How will the electorate react if their representative’s behavior is contrary to the location of the meat case?

Yes, John McCain can march to his own drummer and loves our country. However, party politics is its own dilemma.

I’m Tired

Both political conventions are now over and the final sprint to November 4th has started. With the longest campaign in the final 60 days or so, all I can say is, “I’m tired.”

I’m tired of negative political TV ads.
I’m tired of rhetoric.
I’m tired of political spin.
I’m tired of name calling taking precedence over meaningful discussion
I’m tired of explanations that don’t answer the question.
I’m tired of those who determine their vote based on party affiliation.
I’m tired of all media slicing and dicing anything and everything.
I’m tired of people not practicing what they preach.
I’m tired of scripted answers.
I tired of empty slogans.
I’m tired of pettiness.
I’m tired of politicians not accepting responsibility.
I’m tired of the electorate supporting irresponsible politicians.
I’m tired of the party faithful squealing as if they were at a sporting event.
I’m tired of disrespecting the other side.
I’m tired of incorrect facts.
I’m tired of anyone digging for crap for the sake of hoping some crap sticks.
I’m tired of the underestimation of knowledgeable, open-minded voters.
I’m tired of the lack of common ground.
I’m tired of attempting to turn a nonissue into an issue.
I’m tired hearing about the other guy’s special interest groups because both parties have them.
I’m tired of people who vote based on gender or race.
I’m tired of using public money to fund four-day party infomercials.
I’m tired of distortions.
I’m tired of fear mongering.
I tired of the lack of independent thought within a party.
I’m tired of the finger pointer’s failure to admit that three fingers point at themselves.
I’m tired of people complaining that certain media is biased when all media is naturally biased.
I’m tired of the gutless following the party line.
I’m tired of the lack of substance.
I’m tired of receiving recorded political phone calls.
I’m tired of ads from special interest groups.
I tired of name calling.
I’m tired of receiving mail that distorts the opposing view and then asking for money.
I’m tired of people who cannot see the forest because of the trees.
I’m tired of people complaining about Congress then voting for their incumbent.
I’m tired of the proclamation of change while practicing and promoting politics as usual.
I’m tired of wondering if I missed anything.
I’m tired of the practice of placing the party first.

Yes, I’m tired – but I’m also one concerned, grounded, and not-so-happy independent voter.

Why not Enjoy a Good Political Speech?

Yesterday I mentioned to two friends that I enjoy listening to a good political speech at each of the party conventions. In both cases, each friend couldn’t get past points as who was giving the speech or what party the speaker represents. Again, I was simply saying I enjoy a good political speech regardless of the party.

I know today’s conventions more closely resemble a four-day infomercial rather than the political maneuvering ones of my youth. All I was saying that I enjoy a good political speech because I can listen to them from an entertainment standpoint. Rhetoric and political preferences aside, good political speeches are full of enthusiasm, passion, and a special kind of wit. Writing a good speech is one skill, but delivering it is another story.

How can anyone not appreciate Ted Kennedy’s “Where’s George” speech in 1988 or Jesse Jackson bringing the house to tears? Ronald Reagan’s personal charm always delivered. I recall GOP Representative Guy Vanderjack having me glued to the television.

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer was fun and fired up. Joe Biden was ok. Hillary Clinton did a great job, and President Clinton hit a home run. No doubt about it, Barack Obama is a gifted orator. Touching moments as Beau Biden also bring unexpected pleasures. On the other hand, conventions displaying the mundane and the blowhards at the podium also rings, “Be thankful for DVR and YouTube!”

As the Democrats leave Denver, I look forward to next week with hopes of the Republicans showcasing their gifted speakers as well because I appreciate a good political speech. And yes, I do also listen to the content for substance – after all, I’m an undecided independent voter in a swing state; but one who happens to enjoy a good political speech for what it is.