Presidential debates scare me. They don’t scare me like a horror flick or clueless voters… or do they? A few small blood vessels burst (and I lose small clusters of brain cells) every time I hear an undecided voter say they don’t know enough about the candidates yet. Really? How hard do you have to work to stay ignorant during a two year presidential campaign? Have they heard of the internet? Hell, do they know what a newspaper is? These guys have been laid bare over the last two years. What the hell are they going to learn in three weeks? It scares me more when these folks tell me they’re waiting to hear the candidates speak in the debates to make up their minds. Maybe you think that sounds pretty reasonable, but consider… these folks are hanging their decision on some of the most rehearsed television they’ll ever see. They’re making a decision based on who makes them more comfortable, who comes across as more genuine. Tell me, how “genuine” is a well rehearsed campaign speech?
It scares me because there’s no telling what’s going to resonate with these folks. Bush 41 looks at his watch and his numbers drop. Gore sighs and his prospects sink. McCain walks around the stage like he’s looking for something he lost (his reputation?), and he takes a hit in the polls. With some exceptions (Clinton, Obama), the smart guy with the best command of the issues often “loses” these things.
So electoral politics have been reduced to which party can produce the best live infomercial… which candidate has the best Tony Little impersonation in their pocket.
Maybe you think it’s odd for me to be worried, seeing how Obama has clearly benefited from the format so far; but I can’t help but wonder how quickly it all can change with one more coming tonight. I can’t help but wonder if the election now hangs on the whims of the least informed, most indecisive group of lemmings in the electorate. Is McCain one zinger away from the White House?
I’m tempted to say it’s driving me crazy, but my friends know that’s not a long trip.