The argument of this blog is that the stories told about the three debates don't describe them.
What seems to happen is a kind of superficial outline is developed about a few moments or stances where one candidate seems to triumph over the other, and thus a story develops. Romney won the first (yes he was exultant & snide that he got away with presenting himself as a moderate and Obama did nothing to counter this, was flat, silent in the bits played over and over); Ryan and Biden had a draw (Biden the long-time performer was much more comfortable and knowledgeable in the bits shown), and in the third combative Obama re-took the initiative in the third (he did hit back on occasion and at the close remembered to bring in Romney's remark about the 47% at the end of the spectacle).
But this is not what happened most of the time. Most of the time nothing concrete was discussed in any explanatory fashion that was understandable, much less directly debated. it was a wasteland of posturing in an intensely controlled environment. Nothing followed up.
Did you know that Romney actually made millions (115) on the auto company bailout by holding one of the companies hostage that the gov't had given millions to; he and several of his donors, among them Singer, insisted Delphi pay them huge sums to stay in business, and then Singer, Romney & Co closed all plants and sent them to China and kept but on in the US. Meanwhile on mass public TV Romney charges Obama with taking his idea to bailout the company. Detroit and its people starve and die anyway. Why was this not mentioned?
Read about it here
If you cannot reach this:
Mitt and Ann Romney made at least $15 million - maybe as much as $115 million - from an investment in the hedge fund of Romney's #1 key economic advisor, Paul Singer. Singer made this money for Romney, and others, by extorting $12.9 BILLION from us taxpayers, and then sending 25,000 jobs overseas to China. Paul Singer of Elliott Management, and hedge fund vulture extraordinaire, took control of Delphi, which used to be part of GM and makes GM auto parts. Using GM parts as hostage, Singer was able to extort us taxpayers to pay $12.9 BILLION, because without Delphi, GM can't put steering wheels in their cars. About half of that $12.9 BILLION went to purchase what was left of Delphi's underfunded pension plan, and with the hedge fund's refusal to make good on what Delphi still owed to the pension fund, the Right was able to blame the government for slashing their pensions
I watched more of the third than the two previous. How useless much of it seemed. A young man stands up, dressed in suit and tie and asks the most obvious kind of question, one with no overt tendency. He's graduating college and will he have a job? what shall he tell his parents? Romney said he had a five-point plan and Obama'd been a failure; Obama said Romney had one point and that was to enrich the wealthy further.
I was watching through Democracynow.Org. Goodman stopped the feed and allowed the three excluded candidates to answer too. Jill Stein -- who is on 86% of the ballots and was handcuffed to a chair to stop her getting into the live performance -- talked of taxing corporations and that we are about to bail out the banks for a 4th time. That we have no help against foreclosures. She'd opened employment offices not unemployment offices (demoralizing) and start programs for social building, teaching, bridges, energy building. I just loved Employment Offices. She seemed to need 20 minutes really not 3. Anderson talked about how Romney fired people and said nothing specific about how he'd raise jobs; the first question a student who has no job waiting and will be in debt, another w/3 jobs that do not support her. We need to renegotiate our trade agreements. We need to provide a new equal playing ground through laws. Obama's jobs are 3/4s low paying jobs. Virgil Goode said Americans' jobs are taken by immigrants. We need to deport all illegal immigrants, change the laws so no new non-white immigrants will get in and after a while things will improve.
Amy allowed the feed to proceed and I watched Candy Crowther, the moderator tried to get the two on stage to answer specifics. Romney repeated his general attack. Obama described what he did - he did give specifics of his programs. Then ;Stein what should we do for chronically unemployed: she has emergency plan to hire people in public work and services to create millions of jobs to weatherize homes and offices right now in the next few months. Anderson then offered the specific of raising the minimum wage. The question is what to do for someone now needing a job and having to take one. Goode was against sending jobs overseas with tax programs helping them, Back to the moderator who was stymied because it was impolite to press the candidates.
Then someone else well dressed got up, asked a obvious non-tendentious question and we were off again. Same game. Hot air and attacks from Romney; counter-punches from Obama with a couple of specifics, the moderator tries to nail them down; Amy stops the feed and we hear the postions of the Green party candidate (Stein), the justice party (Anderson) and the constitutional (Goode).
And then they all got to do it again.
This was no debate. No question was asked by the audience that had not been checked and approved by both candidate's staffs first. Ms Crowther was careful not to risk offending anyone. It's true that Obama was sharp and responded and it's true that in a couple of instances Romney was lying and his accusations false. In one case the Crowther had the courage to say so. But after all it's hard to call a man a liar. The way social life works often the liar has the advantage as well as the person who makes snide remarks. You can say once they are snide and they will stop because they are shamed in part and surprised. But that blunt approach will not work the second time.
Romney blundered more this time: the binders full of women was appalling because one felt he was appalled when someone handed him "binders full of women" when he was elected governor of Massachusetts. But is that important?
Hardly anything gets into these debates about the realities of Romney's past and what he will do and the realities of why Obama has only offered band-aide plans; he won't torture or napalm, but he will jail people indefinitely, kill using drones.
Spectacles making for gossip.
While most courts even run by Republicans appear to want to keep universal suffrage and have foiled the most blatant plans of the republicans to suppress the minority vote. votes by blacks, by hispanics, by the poor and elderly, there are still going to be huge numbers of people disenfranchised through tricks, and manipulation and criminal (that's what they are) practices of all sorts.