Sunday, April 20, 2008

Both Clinton and Obama Missed a Grand Slam Opportunity at Debate

Say what you will about the lackluster performance of both Democratic candidates at Wednesday night's presidential debate in Philadelphia. But the performance of ABC News, the event's host, and its moderators George Stephanopoulos and Charlie Gibson, was an even greater embarrassment. Staphanopoulos relished stooping to the lowest common denominator in showcasing the candidates' most insignificant campaign hurdles, while his partner in crime, Gibson, with his glasses dangling off his nose like a sanctimonious Geppetto, followed up his pompous U.S. Constitution quotes with National Enquirer-like drivel. The initial half of the debate focused on "BosniaGate," "BitterGate," Rev. Wright, The Weather Underground, flag pins, tigers and bears, oh my.....

But ponder this for a moment. Amid this pathetic yellow journalism circus, what if one of the candidates, in a Howard Beale "I'm mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore" moment, had turned to the moderators and said:

"Charlie, George, with all due respect to you and ABC News, this line of questioning is both a colossal waste of time and not only an insult to me and (the other candidate), but especially to the American people. Are these truly the best, most relevant, most important questions you could be asking us at this critical moment? Our nation is mired in a horrible war, where 4000 of our brave soldiers have been killed, and where a half-trillion dollars has been spent. After 45 minutes you have yet to ask us about this war and its impact on the American people. Shame on you. We are fighting a war against terrorists in Afghanistan, and watching al Qaeda and the Taliban get stronger there while Bush and the Republicans have squandered our precious military and financial resources in Iraq. Not one question about this so far. Shame on you. Our economy is teetering on recession, with stagnant wages, anemic employment, record debt, rising inflation, $4 gas prices, astronomical home fuel costs, record mortgage foreclosures...Americans are being strangled, struggling to put food on their tables and make ends meet...and you spent the past 45 minutes on BosnniaGate and Bittergate? Shame on you. 47-million Americans are without health care. Our education system is bankrupt. And half of this debate has gone by with not one single question about any of these major issues. Shame on you. This event is an affront to every hard working American who's struggling to survive. Voters don't care about this nonsense. They want jobs, higher wages, adequate health care, proper education for their children, lower gas prices, affordable housing, safety and security from terrorists, and an end to the carnage in Iraq. Unless we can begin discussing those issues, I will be forced to leave the stage... and will invite my fellow candidate to join me....."

Just imagine that moment for a second. Had one of the two Dems made this statement, rather than meakly allow themselves to be subjected to 45 minutes of sensational, ad hominem bullshit, they would've scored a political grand slam, and their poll numbers would've gone through the friggin' roof. ABC, Stephanopoulos and Gibson would've deserved every second of it. And voters at home would've finally gotten to see what at least one of them was truly made of.

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Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more with your post, however, let's be realistic...If OBAMA had been the one to do this, he would have been accused of "dodging" the issues that people "really needed answers to"...and, CLINTON would never have made this statement as the line of questioning was much more advantageous to her than to her rival, so why would she want to challenge that?

Anonymous said...

I, a liberal Democrat, have turned to FOX NEWS because at this time in this campaign it is the most fair and balanced; and, are you ready for this: Bill O'Reailly is the wisest commentator among those on all the networks. ALl three candidates are discuseed thoroughly and all the flaws reviewed.

After this idiotic excuse for Obama's lack of effectiveness in the debate by one of his campaign people. who moaned "The American people are not interested in these things, but want to know where they stand on the issues.", O'Reilly emphatically said "We've had twenty-three debates. We KNOW where they stand.". Then he quickly listed where Obama and Clinton stood on the major issues. O'Reilly then made the obvious point that character matters, ethics matter, who influences presidents matter, honesty matters, (dare I say patriotism matters); and all the qualities ABC was trying to discover. Why did it seem Obama was getting the harsher questioning: because there are more questions, doubts and concerns about him and his associatres and we have a need and a right to have answers. This seems so self-evident that I'm worried that so many people are complaining about questioning him.

In every aspect of our lives is it important to know the heart, soul and mind of those we associate with? It is more important in some relationships than others. I'd say to know our president is top on the list. Remember all the promises Bush made and we were fooled because nobody pinned him down -- even about his DUI ticket.

Well, yeah. "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore." I'll vote for McCain if I have doubts about the Dem. candidate.

Anonymous said...

It seems nobody has attacked Olbermann, Matthews, Rachel Maddow, David Gregory, Tim Russert, and all the others who are in lockstep with MSNBC policy, who have treated Hillary abominably from the very beginning. And no one has made fun of Obama's appearance as MSNBC has Hillary's and Ostroy has these two guys. That is such a "catty" thing to do.

Anonymous said...

"I, a liberal Democrat,"...."I'll vote for McCain if I have doubts about the Dem. candidate."

Any one who would vote for McCain over the Democratic candidate is a FOOL, but hey, this is a common statement from Hillary supporters, because that's what she's telling them. She's said John McCain has been vetted and is ready to be president. This is one of the most shameful statement I have ever heard one Democrat say about another, but if she's our candidate I will hold my nose and vote for her, eventhough I do have doubts, but I know she will be better than McCain. Unlike the FOOL Anonymous abvoe.

Anonymous said...

Andy---actually shame on YOU. With every story you write you continually prove that Ron Paul is the BEST candidate for president and also prove that Democrats are in bed with the Republicans---lump them together and you get your Neo-cons who care NOTHING for the American people. Everything you listed in this story---gas prices, food prices, no health care, low employment---our damaged economy------ALL done without the help of a SINGLE terrorist. This has all been done by the global elitist pricks in Washington fooling the American people at large. Listen up people---------THEY DONT CARE ABOUT YOU, AT ALL, AT ALL, AT ALL< AT ALL!!! WAKE UP!!!

Anonymous said...

anon 3:19-----all I have to say for you is, there is absolutlet NO hope for you if you think Bill O Reilly is the wisest on TV-----NO HOPE at all. He is the biggest liar in probably the universe, let alone the world. You need to be saved----and honestly, I dont think u can be.

Anonymous said...

"I, a liberal Democrat, have turned to FOX NEWS because at this time in this campaign it is the most fair and balanced; and, are you ready for this: Bill O'Reailly is the wisest commentator among those on all the networks."


I love a good laugh on a Sunday.

Great post Andy. I too had been wishing for either one of them to have the stones to say something along these lines, although I think threatening to walk offstage would have gone too far. The debates are rarely much more than soundbite-a-thons, but this was horrendous beyond belief.

Anonymous said...

4:12 and all you other snivelling idiots, at least O'Reilly KNEW what the candidates stood for after listening to 23 debates; which is obviously more than can be said for you, Ostroy and all the Obama supporters.

Anonymous said...

Since 98 percent of the black population which is ten percent of the total population, will be a winning factor in his election, I wish someone would ask Obama how much special interest they can expect from hom for their segment of the population's "special interests?"

Anonymous said...

I'm that high school kid getting nerve to write again on this blog. My entire social studies class know what the candidates have said about their plans on everything Ostroy mentions. What's wrong with the older people in this country. Don't they listen.

Anonymous said...

These pandering debate moderators have sunken to such lows, they definitely deserve to be smacked-down by the debaters when they engage in such frivolous cr*p. I've been wondering why the debaters didn't think of calling Gibson and Steph'ous on this.

Probably didn't want to risk the potential political blowback they'd get for stepping too far outside the box. (Actually, Obama did sort of chide Stephenopolous for one stupid question).

My suggestion is, especially in a two-candidate debate like this, why don't the candidates reserve the right for a side-bar when one of the questioners asks a time-wasting, frivoulous question? Put the questioners on notice that they are gonna be held to some actual journalistic standards. It would've really put Gib or Steph on the spot if, after asking a stupid question of Obama, Clinton had spoken up and said, "just a minute, George, my opponent and I are gonna have a sidebar about that question." Then they talk, off mike, for a minute, and come back and deliver a mutual chide to the questioner, putting him on notice that they both agree that if they don't start providing some real, substantive presidential debate questions, they risk having both candidates call the event off, to be re-scheduled with whichever serious network or other communications association can put it on in the next few days.

Anonymous said...

anon 4:01 -- I would add that Clinton's statements about McCain's "readiness", etc. should really give people pause about whether she really feels much urgency about getting the US out of its Iraq Occupation bleedout, or urgency about working to prevent a total collapse of our economy over the next few years.

More than any time I remember: based on the explicit policies the candidates have espoused, voters are going to have a real choice in the nation's course over the next four years.

But when Clinton praises anything about McCain's candidacy, as in, his eligibility to lead this nation through the troubled waters of recovery from the past 7 years, it's just as explicitly clear that she is not disturbed by the prospect of his -- and Bush's -- policies continuing for another 4 years.

Anonymous said...

Why ask them questions at all about their lives or past or ideas?

1. We could put all the names of people who want to be president in a hat and let someone really charismatic pick the name that wins.
2. We could make the candidates run a race and/or wrestle to see who is the strongest.
3. We could have a nationwide beauty contest and pick the best to look at.
4. Or, we could continue to pick the one we would "most like to have a beer with."

It's absolutely dumb, time-wasting and annoying to the candidates to ask them questions. It just makes them mad and makes their supporters vengeful and wastes our time since nobody seems to remember what they say. And, I don't think it would be wise to pick the one with the most money, or the most money someone else contributes; or, to pick the one that most people pick because he or she is charismatic, charming or groovey; or, to pick the one that can fool most of the people most of the time.

Anonymous said...

The 6:33 post reminded me of the old saying "Don't teach a pig how to sing. It's a waste of time and it annoys the pig."

I say:

"Don't ask a politician to be honest. It's a waste of time and it annoys the politician."

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Andy, it would have been nice to hear IF they meant it! Unfortunately, why would Hillary condemn the war when she voted on it? Why would Obama condemn the war when he's voted several times to continue funding it? Why would they condemn gas prices when both of them are ka-jillionaires? Why would they care about Americans having health care when they are ...uh...ka-jillionaires? Why would they care about whether terrorists attack us when theyve done absolutely ZIPPITY-DOO-DA about sealing the borders? Why would they care if we had affordable homes when they have multi-million dollar homes themselves? (and more than ONE home, Im sure) Why would they care about education for our kids when their kids are attending the BEST schools money can buy? Why would they care about unemployment when they have high paying jobs and rake in millions? Andy---its time to wake up. Do you REALLY think these elitist, corrupt, power-hungry assholes CARE about you and me??? They dont care AT ALL about you. When will that sink in? WAKE UP PEOPLE! POLITICIANS DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOU---AND THEY WILL NEVER CARE ABOUT YOU--------EVER----EVER-----EVER----EVER!!! Why would they?? They have enough fucking money to support the next 20 generations of their families. If they cared at all about us Andy-----call up Hillary and Bill and ask them to stop accepting $100,000 a pop to speak at events! THAT would put more money in our pockets. The next president has already been chosen. Elections dont matter----votes dont matter. The men behind the curtain has already chosen the next Prez----and it sure as hell wont be anyone who will save us from any of the shit we are suffering through!

Prius said...

Both missed the moment, and watching the "debate" I told my wife the very same thing, "Stop this maddness and ask some questions, for Gods sake". Both blew it and they are as much to fault as George and Charlie.

Remember the hype over Barack is a SET UP by the Republicans, which includes the media. If he is so good, and the media is all for him why is Hillary still in the game with votes? The Republicans want Barack as the candidate because they WILL swiftboat him in ways we can not imagine. They have crap on him that may or may not be true but mark my words, he will be hit hard and it will be HUGE.

McCain will waltz in the WH and we'll have 4 more years of Bush. Hillary was correct during the debate, that all of her "baggage" has been exposed, yet we know nothing about Barack.

I for one will vote for either, we can NOT afford McBush for another 4 years of this crap.

Anonymous said...

Who knows what four years of crap we may get from Obama. He will be in debt to Soros, and the entire black population. Not to mention other contributions we don't know about. We need to know more about him. How much of the stuff he heard at his black extremeist church does he believe? Why is he involved in Kenyan politics?

In the meantime I'm for Bill and Hillary. I want the economy back. Then after that's done, I want the Democratic Party to start fighting for the strength of workers' unions again, and jobs in this country and everything we buy says "MADE IN THE USA" It's time for the people to take back America. I don't think either Obama or Hillary, and certainly not McCain will do it but we've got to pressure them. We need an FDR who, although himself very rich, was himself very rich, had a mind and heart that was for the good of our country and all of its people.

Under Bill Clinton we the people had some benefits including peace and prospertiy. Let's start there. And, Hillary has worked for the welfare of the needy. But, the point is, there should be no needy. All Democrats have to stop being so spineless.

By the way, we should have asked Bush about his ties to the oil corporations. If we'd questioned him more aggressively we woudln't be in this war.

Anonymous said...

Let's be totally honest:

Who will win in November? Remember it's state by state, not popular vote.

Who has the best rapid fire fighing political machine to beat back the Republicans who are not just going to sit down and shut up? (Remember they have Karl Rove pulling the strings in this fight)

Hillary Clinton is best prepared to fight off the Republicans. This seems to be lost on naive Obama supporters. He seems like a soft spoken whimp at times.

We do not need another Nixon v McGovern election. It was because of McGovern that supperdelegates were put in place. Think about it.

Anonymous said...

Obama is going to lose. We are going to be stuck with McCain.

I sure wish Democrats would wake up.

Anonymous said...

Obama is definitely going to lose. What has happened to the Democratic leadership? Dean is an idiot; Pelosi should be home baking cookies; Kennedy is senile and the stupid super delegates keep throwing away their votes to Obama. Are we, who write in on this blog, smarter than they are? Are they afraid the blacks will leave tne Democratic party if Hillary is the nominee? Have they been bought by all of the money Obama seems to be able to collect? What is going on? Somebody had better ask them these hard questions?

Sidney Condorcet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Ok, if it is well known where each candidate stands on the issues, then there should not have been a debate. It was clearly a waste of time. Or, since it was for the Penn. primary, it should have been questions submitted by REAL Pennsylvanians. Maybe what O'Reilly failed to tell you is that all the pointless questions in the debate were already answered, thoroughly, by each candidate. Get a grip. You will never get to the heart or soul of a politican by such contrived, partisan methods. And if your a liberal democrat then I'm a golden goose.

Anonymous said...

11:50 You're too immature, Sindey, to be senile. Or, you are so immature you have adopted the use of Sidney's vulgar words and style. Either way - it's so unelite. Wait until the other Obama supporters hear and you'll be kicked out of the elitist club

Anonymous said...

Melanie, honey. All the questions asked had not been successfully answered by Obama; that's why they were asked. We still don't know how Obama, boy genius, could have attended a church for twenty years and not know what the preacher was teaching. Or, even though he was eight when Ayles became a terrorist, why he hadn't heard about it in his adulthood. Just a few basic questions about character, morals and common sense.

Anonymous said...

Did you Obama people hear? Obama has just declared that McCain would BE A BETTER PRESIDENT THAN BUSH?????

How is that for "smarts"? NO matter who uses that now - Obama or Hillary - the Repugs will run that clip. When they say McCain is another Bush -- they'll run that clip.

Anonymous said...

Nobody on this blog minds sexist remarks about Hillary, it seems, but jump to defend Pelosi. Peolosi was "too busy" to impeach Bush. She voiced her oppostiion to Hillary. She should have remained neutral. I don't want her back in that position.

Anonymous said...

OMG, The blacks is are coming! The Kenyans are coming!

Anonymous at 9:42, you're not only a racist, you're ridiculous and pathetic. Can't you come up with a more original and scary conspiracy theory than that?

Wow, the threat of Kenyan politics. I think only Hillary Clinton sitting by the phone can save us from that terrible menace.

Anonymous said...

Hey 7:40 am -- I'm with you man. Who's the nut who thinks its a bad thing for "friends of Obama" to be sending millions to Kenya? What's wrong with that? Maybe if we sent millions to some of the other countries in this world we'd be better off here. And, maybe when Obama is prez he'll send millions to Kenya to rebuild that country and get his cousin in power wo we can then have a real good relationship with Kenya. Who wouldn't be for that.

And, while I'm on the subject, I also agree with the Pope that we should let anybody who wants to and who is needy move into this country. How can we be so selfish as to keep the poor people out and haeartless enough to ask them to learn English and give up the loyalty to their own country. What's America for if not to save the world.