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One More Political Post – Just One: On the Debates

Friends and others have asked me what I thought of the Democratic debate last week. Short answer: Phooey.

I had thought to skip them (two in two nights????). Nevertheless, I tuned in at the top of night one and tuned out 30 minutes later. Nothing to see here. Same old political platitudes carefully memorized from debate preparation, each one calculated by paid consultants hoping to “create a moment” that would go viral online.

In the weekend following the debates, TV hosts, pundits and candidates themselves stretched any thinking person's credulity trying to make these debates the most important event of the campaign. And crown a winner too.

HELLO! IT IS 17 MONTHS UNTIL THE 2020 ELECTION. But the media is already in the tank for Kamala Harris. Well, until the next shiny object appears.

Doesn't anyone in the media know how much can – and will – change between now and November 2020?

Given who the U.S. president is, some things at least as disturbing as the current southern border crimes are likely to occur.

The president may sound like a buffoon most of the time, but as we have seen in the past two-and-a-half years, he can do deep and lasting damage to our country and beyond (it seems to me to be his goal), and he will do that many times in the next 17 months.

In addition, especially because she is being anointed so early in the campaign, Ms. Harris will suffer slings and arrows similar to those Joe Biden is currently experiencing over his forced busing comment at the debate which caused a 10-point drop in his favorability ranking.

It is absurd to be conducting a presidential campaign this long before the vote. Absurd and stupid. In England, they announce an election and the campaign period follows for only 25 days, then the vote. That sounds about right to me.

And the number of Democratic candidates? Also absurd. No more than 25 percent of them deserved to be on that stage. It looked to me like they know they don't have a chance of getting far but they are betting they can raise their national profile enough for a future run.

Again, phooey. And don't get me started on the reported tiff between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer over last week's border bill.

It doesn't matter which one of them you think is right. The Democrats have a decades-long history of screwing up every advantage they've had and they are already well along that path again. You can't trust the Democrats to organize a picnic let alone a winning political strategy.

In the nearly four years since Trump descended that escalator in Trump Tower, I have come to despise his voice and have made myself master of the mute button.

As soon as his face appears on the screen, I silence him. Or, if the clicker is too far away, I can hum loudly to bury his voice in brain noise until I can get to the mute button.

With Trump's insatiable need for constant attention and the media's insatiable need to supply it, I'll get a lot of exercise these next 17 months lunging for the TV clicker.

And then, mark my words, the campaign for 2024 will begin the morning after the vote.


Well said. The highlight of your post being its way too early to start this political bashing. It's exhausting on so many levels.
Last year my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I said one whole day - 24 hours - without hearing or mentioning Trump in anyway, shape, or context. It was a struggle but we did it. It's possible.
We rented a cottage on the Lake Huron coast in Canada for a week last fall. No tv, internet or newspapers. There was a radio and a phone but we used neither. Sent off a few emails at the local public library. It's amazing how well you feel after a a few days minus all the various media from BOTH sides of the aisle. Guess what? We didn't miss a thing we really needed to know.

I don’t know, Ronni. It was nice to hear good ideas from decent people who are looking to a better future, as opposed to the daily nightmare.

Ronni, I totally agree. Prior to the 2016 election, I enjoyed keeping informed by reading newspapers and news magazines, and also by watching a variety of news shows on TV. Yesterday, I couldn't even watch the Sunday morning news shows. As far as I can discern, most news organizations are interested only in the most inflammatory stories. And they are all willing to give abundant coverage to his manufactured photo ops (i.e., North Korea), without providing factual counterpoint (for example, they should enlighten the audience about former presidents and why they have chosen NOT to go to North Korea). So I have simply restructured my free time; I avoid any show that has a pundit explaining how the latest poll predicts who has a chance to win in 2020 (um, does anyone remember polls from 2016?) I won't give up on the news entirely, but I'm very selective about the source.

I did not watch either debate. I hate these loooong campaigns too. But once we elect a president, we are stuck with him for four years minimum. I’d like to see a legal 1 year limit placed on campaigns for federal office. I think as a campaign progresses, we learn about individuals, their temperaments, and their resilience. I absolutely do not want what we had in 2016 with the Dems, which was basically the coronation of a candidate. I want to hear some ideas shoot back and forth among serious candidates.

I also think Trump needs to be removed from office soonest. But it is not going to happen until the election. The Democratic candidate needs to be the best candidate we can present. But for real change we need to flip the Senate and retain majority in the House.

One problem I can foresee is that Bernie, who I think will not get the nomination, might run as an independent or third party candidate. This would be disastrous, and would make a Democratic victory very hard to achieve.

Agreement on all aspects of your thoughts. I am in your camp. However, I disagree with turning it off after a length of time. It is incumbent that we listen to and read about things that make us uncomfortable. No entity has ever won a war by not listening to the other side. And we are at war, perhaps verbally now but.....

America is now in two warring tribes. There is one person who makes sense in this environment--if you have HBO The Bill Maher Show has hit it on all cylinders. He has for months now stated that is not about who can get the nomination but who can win--his answer in this TV/social media environment---Oprah Winfrey. If only--she checks all the boxes.

First of all, seeing these groups grapple over attention, speaking over each other, was disappointing and ludicrous. The very act of standing in that preposterous arena, having the audience applause after every comment further limit into the 60 seconds of time each had to address an important topic minimized the reality that we have a madman in office that every day is undermining our country's position in the world, our relationships with our allies, and hurting, damaging the environment as well as the discourse that needs to grow us up, mature us as a country. We have slid from what many of us realize was an unstable scaffold of 'greatness' as a country as we see how limited we are at having meaningful discourses with ourselves, others, and the world. Democrats...get your sh...t together! And media, take a look at the timing, set up, staging spectacle you set up which does not enable voters to make meaningful assessments. Sorry, but just slightly disgusted by it all.

You aren’t required to watch the debate or tune in to any debate news. It seems disingenuous to complain about something you chose to watch.

Unfortunately, this is the process we have adopted to elect a new president. Until we come to our senses and go with the system the Brits have (electioneering done in weeks rather than months or years) we will have to suffer this insatiable rhetoric ad nauseum.

Amen, sister!

I can't watch this circus, it borders on insanity to me. Crazy making. Meanwhile the planet burns and 45 plans further world domination with his fellow dictators and the children die in cages.


One thing sadly lacking (and I've heard NO comments in the media or otherwise) on my
channels anyway was the lack of name banners beneath the candidates as they spoke.
I glean most of my info. by reading and need name identification to analyze correctly.
With such a large "herd" of Democratic (and one Independent, but democrat leaning)
candidates to winnow, I got lost. Also, time really should be shorter to the election; I agree
fully with Ronni on that one. It seems the time to actual voting has grown longer in my
short lifetime. B

I make it a point of not watching early debates or listening to the talking heads until a month or two before the election. Waste of time. As for POTUS, his heroes are K J Un and Putin so we know what his plan for the US must be. ARGHH

Didn't watch either 'debate'. Did read comments by those I trust who thought the same as you tho' "feh" may have been more likely than "phooey."

I'm far more concerned w/ Donald cozying up to dictators - crossing the DMZ into NK to meet w/ Kim? Uh .. that's negotiating? The smirks with Vlad and the knowing looks on the election?

The on and off trade deals w/ China throwing everyone into a tizzy about pricing and jobs?

We have bigger issues and the 'debates' are nonsense as is the campaigning this far out. I like other systems where elections are held when needed and not on this time frame.

So Odette and I and others see it the same.. we have big issues.

And for others of you who live in the DC-Metro area: you will _not_ find me at the military fiasco parade on 7.4. Instead we'll watch the DVD of "1776" and then maybe "Blazing Saddles", the latter to honor Mel Brooks who just celebrated a birthday.

With Murdoch and other media moguls interested only in hard money we will never see the truth about the presidency or the campaigns. It's all a farce.
I too think it imperative to try and find what's really happening. The American public is terribly susceptible to propaganda. Manafort and his junk yard lawyers even had Judge Ellis believing their lies. These people know how to generate lie after lie so that we really do not see the truth and we believe the lies.
What I do is follow people on Twitter who seem to know what's going on. Rather than reading tweets that come up on my timeline I have a list of around 10 people who I go to each day to see what they are thinking. From the WH press corp to ex-Repubs to NY socialites I get a fairly good idea of what is really going on.
Of course there's a lot you simply cannot talk honestly about and so I have to read between the lines occasionally.
But really you simply can NOT rely on tv news, especially the Sunday morning shows, to keep up.

Very depressing.

I agree with Florence. Different strokes for different folks. I watched both nights because I am intensely concerned about who I could vote for in the election. There was a lot to dislike (e.g., shouting and interrupting), but I was impressed by some who managed to convey ideas and plans. I found it worthwhile. What I will NOT watch is the July 4 fiasco and any of DT's press interactions.

Debra - Et tu? per your actions?

Susan and Odette, I'm there, too. Thanks for saving me time to phrase my rage.

Hurray for you! Those are my sentiments exactly! I too have a 'button' named OFF and use it frequently.
I have personally been involved in too many political campaigns, mostly state and local, not to know exactly what's going on behind the scene ... and it ain't pretty. I agree with you about the 25-day start of campaigning. I also am a huge supporter of holding elections on a weekend. This weekday voting is ridiculous. And don't get me started on our antiquated Electoral College system !!!

Agree, the tide will turn every few hours until election day, loyalties will shift, bad guys turn better, good guys get excoriated, new atrocities will enrage, and then they're forgotten... or at least accepted as the new norm. And polls? Who cares or believes in them anymore? Feh.

One reason nothing gets done in Washington is that we've devolved into a full-time four-year campaign cycle. Everyone operates with an eye to the next election and how he or she can best get re-elected. We desperately need term limits, but of course lawmakers aren't about to vote to limit their own terms.

As for the "debates," spare me until the field narrows considerably.

I watched some of it...somewhat boring..
My take is that even though I despise trump, he shoots from the hip aggressively and the democrats sound like all of them have memorized talking points or attended a study group on how to answer questions. It just doesn’t sound "real."

They need to change this. They need to be fired up but not with rhetoric.

Trump’s appeal started with he wasn’t the typical politician and he’s used that to his advantage. If they don’t find a way to change, trump will win and then we surely can kiss our country goodbye.

It's crazy-making for candidates (as well as for the rest of us) to be campaigning for an election that's a year and a half away. I'd vote for a maximum campaign period of 6 months before an election. We SO need to change our entire election process, including funding and the Electoral College. So-called "dark money" has NO place in democratic elections. Frankly, it's a complete mess, IMO!

I watched the "debate" but am not sure I will again. There are too many candidates and not enough time (of course, the number will be winnowed down later in the year). I could live with any of the Democrats who are running, although a few are likely too far left to be electable. For me the one and ONLY issue is kicking the Orange Apparition to the curb outside the White House in 2020. If we don't remove that repugnant swamp creature from office, we may not have a recognizable country by 2024. However, if the Dems can't come together and manage their differences, then craft a coherent message and get it across, I fear a repeat of 2016.

I think the tRumpster's 4th of July "thing" is a mockery of the holiday! I have no intention of giving it a second of my time or attention. I, too, do a lot of lunging for the remote whenever he's on TV. I can't stand to look at or listen to him. His behavior is beneath contempt most of the time.

It *was* a pleasure to hear people speak in complete grammatically correct sentences. And I do like some of them. Yes, there are too many. But, however it plays out, I can tell you I would vote for a brown mouse if it were running against you-know-who.

And speaking of you-know-who, it's past time that I mention here the wonderful sobriquet that a friend of mine has bestowed on him: Hair Furor. My friend never refers to him except by that term. I pass it on to you, and you're welcome to use it.

While I'm at it, has everybody already heard Alexandria Ocaso-Cortez's comment on Ivanka's presence at the current G-20 meeting? "Being someone's daughter does not qualify as a career."

I recorded the debates, then watched them 0ver the next days. I had the same sinking feeling I had during H.C. and D.T. debate.

We are all exasperated over many of the events/shinanigans of the current Oval Office holder...and guess what...he's still there. And the Mueller report is still redacted, etc., etc.

Am in the "mute" camp too, Ronni! But am also a news junkie, so of course I watched both debates. The format, especially with a huge gaggle of candidates, is absurd. To me, the overriding question is, who can take on T and win? Not at all clear yet. A moment that struck me: Marianne Williamson, who really had no business being there at all (w/ Governor of Montana not) said this about health care: "We don't have a health care system. We have a disease care system." She's not wrong about that.

Not to mention how much all this is costing. And can we even trust the results?

I didn't "enjoy" the debates, but I watched them. I want to gather as much information as I can about the people seeking the Dem nomination. I agree that most of them do not belong on that stage: can't speak coherently, too much rambling, too much grandstanding, too much attacking/speaking over the others on stage, too much emphasis on immigration.

It is my belief, and of many scientists worldwide, that climate disruption is (or should be) our biggest concern. All other issues are moot if we don't take immediate and drastic action. I will be dead before it becomes really bad, and I am thankful I did not have children. I would hate to think how they and others will suffer and die in the years to come. All because we are greedy and stupid people.

No matter who becomes the Dem nominee, Trump will find a way to disrupt everything. He will call on Putin again, he will tell horrendous lies/exaggerations/fairy tales about the nominee. And if the nominee garners too many followers from Trump's camp, I think it possible he will start a war with Iran or do something to North Korea. Trump has no limits to what he will do to win. That is all that matters to him.

Almost totally with you on this. Both nights I watched the first hour.........couldn't take any more of the yelling of questioners, candidates, and general shiny hoopla. (Why does everyone YELL now?) But, as my head hit the pillow, I felt a small, warm glow..........I had heard some politicians saying some things that I wanted to hear! Wow, that was rare! And, of course, I'm with Charlotte when she questions whether we might be wary of trusting the "results." That old song has been running through my head lately, "Laugh about it, shout about it, when you have to choose, any way you look at it you lose." From "Mrs. Robinson."

I don't watch any debates, talk shows, instant analysis, etc. I am quite squeamish and get nauseated easily.

Well said, everyone!

At this point, I don't think the Democrats could even go to the bathroom without pissing on their shoes. What is WITH the DNC???? Hilary Clinton was a terrible candidate.

At this point Buttgeig (sp?) sounds the least hypocritical and hysterical to me, so I'm sticking with Mayor Pete.

Yes, climate change, the availability of water, the coming pandemics, and much more are so much more important for us to address now than all this ranting and raving and BS. Just look at the news about Chennai in India. But we won't do it because we are stupid and selfish.

I subscribe to an internet magazine called AEON. In the most recent edition there was a brief discussion of de Toqueville's analysis of American politics. Nothing has changed in 200 years, it seems, and we are still unable to elect our "men of quality" due to pandering to the lowest common denominator. We do get a good one now and then, but usually in spite of ourselves.

Ship of Fools - the March of Folly - the clown car in the middle of the ring. Makes me want to be a hermit in the woods.

As an Iowa voter, I feel an obligation to learn as much as I can about the candidates. As first in the nation caucus we get buried in TV and mail ads. So I watched all of both debates, came away with some impressions but don't have a favorite yet. While it's not the chief decider, Iowa does count in the circus of presidential politics. At least, we like to think we do. I wish we had a first, second and third choice during the primaries. I don't care at this point who gets the nomination as long as they pick someone who can squash Trump. Nothing else matters.

I’m with you Ronni – I belong to your mute button club. I also look away from the TV screen as long as the orange person is on, or I get a stomach ache.

Sadly I don’t hear any of the candidates (right OR left) offering anything specifically to enhance the quality of life for elders...I guess we are truly invisible.

I would vote for whichever Democrat has the best chance of beating DT, even if they aren't my preferred candidate. I did watch most of the second debate, and the first one off and on, just to see what these people looked like and how they spoke. At the moment, I can't see which of them could actually win.

I did get a sense that there is a divide between my older generation and a younger generation. I began to wonder if DT had managed to figure out what to do to appeal to younger voter groups despite being older himself. Not all of his supporters are white racist angry males.
Biden didn't seem to do this and it may cost him big. Is it time to pass the torch, to accept change in how things are done? It's hard to think that my generation may need to let go of control and established ways of doing things, after so many years of action from Vietnam onward. I suppose that past generations have faced this too.

Amen, and totally agree with your assessment. I would vote for a yellow dog over Trump!! But what would tickle me pink would be to see a black woman win, because I think that would humiliate Trump the most. Oh, and maybe a female VP as well for good measure.

I want to opt out. Is it my age or just horror of the prolonged sideshow that American politics has become? My fear is that Americans will vote with their pocket books and many are ok and feeling good about the economy ( Thanks to Barack!). So, I am burying my head and trying as best I can to have a life minus politics. I will vote. That's it. America is what it is so forget our shortening the election process. It's all about money.



And I thought I was mad. Don't worry. The world will keep rolling along. Just keep a lookout for the pratfalls.

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world. My defense is that I don’t watch ANY news or opinion on television. Everything I know, I get either from NPR or by reading articles of my own choice in my own time. The last thing I want is to have some half-educated talking head ‘splain things to me.

So I didn’t watch the so-called “debates” and I won’t watch any subsequent appearances by this motley herd of candidates. Individually, they are unimpressive. Collectively, they are only somewhat less embarrassing than the Trump crew, although tossing the vacuous daughter in with world leaders does serve to up the embarrassment quotient for their side.

I disagree with Mary. I think Hillary Clinton was the best and most qualified candidate the Democrats could have offered—and she won! Her performance in the debates leading to the 2016 fiasco was first rate and amounted to a clear victory over an uninformed and rather creepy opponent. We won’t see her like again in a Presidential race. Trump’s Electoral College victory changed everything.

For that and many other reasons, I would much prefer a return to the “smoke-filled rooms” run by professional politicians who chose the best possible candidate from their party. How could that method possibly be worse than what we have now? At least we would be spared the nauseating spectacles and biased reports the media is going to shove at us for the next year or so.

But I also have to admit that I am just as cynical about it as Shirley. I am pretty sure that if he faces the risk of losing his cushy job and the blow to his ego that would entail, Trump will indeed start a war with Iran. He has already set things up. He just has to light the fuse.

I did not watch the debate but because I read the newspaper daily and am on SM, I've seen the drama. Bread and circuses. Dog and pony show. Reality TV programming. It's too early. There's too many candidates. Most of these candidates are going to drop out by January.

Germany halts all campaigning including TV ads several days before election day.

We need to overhaul current campaigning. We need to take the money out of it. Put the debates on C-SPAN. Shorten the campaign cycle. Limit campaigning before election day. Make it easier for people to vote like an election day on a Saturday or Sunday (watch out evangelicals). We currently have, what, like a 30% turnout? Is this democracy?

My last note on this post: wouldn't it be lovely if the tRumpster's 4th of July military-themed circus turned out to be a total fiasco/dud/disaster--including skimpy attendance, duly recorded? I know--that's probably a pipe dream given his cult-like following, but it is definitely a beautiful dream! I'm sure at least some of our generals would agree if the truth could be told.

It's too early in the game for me to get overly-invested in a particular candidate, and in the meantime, it'll be interesting to see how this plays out. Here's hoping the candidates stay civil are aree able to support fellow party members. (I scrolled back the top to see if Crabby Old Lady was paying us a visit!)

I watched both nights of the debates. Not a good candidate among the 25 people on stage.
You all need to pull up your big girl pants and get ready for 4 more years of President Trump

I didn't watch the debates. Better things to do with my time then waste it on something so fruitless. As you said, it's too early.

I am keeping an eye on Nancy Pelosi's backbone right now to see if it's going to straighten up and start the impeachment inquiry. I cannot understand her so called strategy and think she should be removed if she is unwilling to do her job.

Elizabeth - wish granted! And no top brass attended.

How strong do wishes have to be to influence the globe's energy field? We know there're enough stars in the sky for this.....

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