Thursday, October 4, 2012

Big Bird & the Political Theatre of Presidential Politics



While I was disappointed in the President's debate performance last night, I was also surprised by the over-the-top reaction of the "talking heads" on both sides of the political spectrum.  I actually thought the Democratic leaning press were more critical than the Republican leaning press who seemed elated and relieved.

Before I fell into a stupor, I perked up when Romney said the following:
He said to moderator Jim Lehrer, who works for PBS: “I’m sorry, Jim. I’m going to the stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too. But I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.”  Washington Post  10-4-12
I was surprised he said this.  I was surprised because it was coyly defiant; a slap in the face, really to the moderator and, possibly, many undecideds who grew up on or raised their children on Sesame Street.

While criticisms of Obama's such as "listless" and "he looked as though he didn't want to be there" are accurate, they don't address the substance of the debates.  I heard a politico on NHPR this morning say he thought Romney looked "amped".  A Massachusetts caller who teaches public speaking and body language, thought Romney showed "agitation" while the President appeared "calm".  In the end, it was theatre.
... it seems to me Romney thrived in large part because he abandoned the pretense of honesty. And as it turns out, winning a debate is surprisingly easy when a candidate decides he can say anything and expect to get away with it.
Romney told viewers his proposed $5 trillion tax cut isn't really his proposed $5 trillion tax cut. He suggested he could eliminate a $1 trillion deficit by going after Big Bird. He said his non-existent health care plan protects those with pre-existing conditions when in reality the exact opposite is true. He cited trumped up "studies" from far-right ideologues as if they're legitimate, assuming the public won't know the difference. He said a deficit that's shrunk has actually "doubled."   The Maddow Blog 10-4-12
All in all, it may be best summed up with the following cartoon seen on the internet today.





Share/Bookmark

13 comments:

injaynesworld said...

I think Dems are harder on the Prez because our hopes were so high that he was going to kick butt. I'm not reading much of the feedback today. I can't bear all the "theater" as you so aptly call it. Love that Somecard though. Yes. Install a damn buzzer then cut their mike. Oh, and the modirator sucked.

Gretchen said...

Here, here. It was a depressing event for myriad reasons. All one can hope is that the rest of October ends quickly and we can finally vote. And that reason and sanity will prevail. It's a hope, at least.

California Girl said...

Jayne: I'm watching talking heads continue to parse this and the more they reconstruct the President's performance, the stupider (sic) they sound. The good thing is, the fact checkers are ripping through the Romney "facts" he so cavalierly used.

California Girl said...

Gretchen, I'll be glad when it's over too.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

It was painful to watch, and the card is perfect.

Cole said...

We'd be better off if they got rid of the current debate format. No moderator questions, just two candidates speechifying, rebutting and able to ask each other questions. I remain hopeful for a better outcome in rounds 2 and 3.

bill lisleman said...

In the spirit of throwing wild speculation out there here's my take: The people who watched and contemplated their statements already know which way they are going to vote. They are just looking for what they can use for their guy or against the other guy. I like the idea of debates. Issues should be discussed. I don't like treating the campaign as a sporting event.

California Girl said...

Bliss: Yes. I thought the card sentiments spot on.

California Girl said...

Cole, Lewis Black was on some show earlier talking about how absurd the 2 minute rule is because "nothing can be explained in 2 minutes...not even a souffle recipe".

California Girl said...

Bill, I dunno. The estimated viewing audience last night is 58 MILLION!

DJan said...

I have never felt more like becoming an ostrich for the next month! I hope reason prevails, too...

California Girl said...

DJan, I have a hair trigger when it comes to politics. Ostrich behaviour would be nice but it will never happen to me.

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

I have getting most of my political coverage lately from CNBC. For they really get into the nitty-gritty of how this or that might effect business, and they are pretty much neutral in regards to a conservative or liberal slant. Although, they do lean more to the conservative side, but they seem to want to have both sides fairly heard. Anyway, I was surprised to hear one of their guests say that when he listened to the debate again on an NPR broadcast, he didn't think President Obama did that bad, which harkens back to the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debate, which had those who listened to it on radio having Nixon winning hands down while the vast majority of those who watched it on television considered Kennedy the winner on account of his look of youthful vigor.

Christina

Christina
by Cole Scott