Please Just Answer the Question – Debate 2012
By Dawn Cranfield
Tonight’s debate between President Barack Obama (D) and Presidential hopeful Governor Mitt Romney (R), was the equivalent of grade schoolers on the playground pointing fingers and taunting each other as they sang “Neener neener neener”. They each whined and complained about the timekeeper, about whether or not it was their turn to answer, and they interrupted each other without apology. So, while they may have been dressed in their Sunday best and looked as if they could have been going out for an evening of culture, they behaved more like louts with no manners.
While I did not watch the initial debate, and I mindlessly flipped back and forth during the Vice Presidential debates, only half-heartedly watching them and half watching How I Met Your Mother, I decided I would watch the debate tonight and determine if I could learn something about the issues at the heart of our nation and this election. I felt excited and very much the American as the debate started and I settled in for the evening hoping to elevate my political knowledge.
I was sorely disappointed almost immediately when both candidates did little to educate me on the issues. Neither one of them answered any questions outright when they were asked; instead, they opted to point fingers at the other, and I noted that within 30 minutes each of them had a mantra that summed up their feeling on the other candidate. Each time President Obama stood up to make his point in response to something Governor Romney said, he would jump up from his stool and opine, “Very little of what Governor Romney said is true.”
At least his repetitious rant made sense compared to Governor Romney’s refrain, “He’s not Mr. Oil, or Mr. Coal, or Mr. Natural Gas.” Several times he repeated the phrase “oil, coal, natural gas” seemingly at random.
When either of them would actually address the issues, for example taxes, I was eager to listen to their answers and was hoping they may say something of value that would help me make a decision when it comes to election time. On taxes, Governor Romney specified that the top 5% of Americans pay 60% of the taxes (those earning over $200K per year). He went on to say that he wants the “burden to come down for the middle class tax payers. .The last four years, they have been buried.”
However, when President Obama stood up to rebut, he all but called Governor Romney a liar, recalling his 60 Minutes interview and his comments about the governor believing it was fair for him to pay the same tax rate as a nurse who makes $50K per year. President Obama went on to state, “My philosophy on taxes has been simple. I have cut taxes by $3600 per family for middle class families.”
When asked about other things such as illegal immigration, family planning, more jobs, and automatic weapons, their answers were just as unsatisfying. At one point, Governor Romney was asked about AK-47’s and he started talking about how a woman should be married before she should get pregnant. The moderator had to remind him that the question was about automatic weapons.
So, if the purpose of a debate is truly to inform voters about the intent of a political candidate and their party, I have little to go on from this debate as to who I would vote for. From what I saw, there was a lot of mudslinging, a great deal of smugness and cockiness and very little of anything that I would admire in a President. Unless I see something different, I would be likely to write in a new candidate, Big Bird.