Friday, September 18, 2015

Winners and Losers, After the CNN Debates

The CNN debates were supposed to show off the qualifications of each candidate, while avoiding disparaging their GOP opponents. This could provide fodder for the Democrats in the general election that is only thirteen-and-one-half months away.

An old English expression befits the high ground to be taken; “Mind your P’s and Q’s.” It essentially means either “mind your manners,” mind your language,” or “be on your best behavior.”

The “P” possibly refers to politicians, the public, and the press. The “Q” factor revolves around the inane questions coming from the press.

If you had nothing better to do on September 16, you might have watched CNN’s self-publicized debates, where all three of those meanings would be violated. According to a countdown timer, which had been on the CNN screen for several days, the first debate will begin in 1 hour, 8 minutes and 36 seconds from now. When it does, I will step away from my computer.

That first debate featured the lower tier candidates Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, and George Pataki, each garnering less than one percent in the polls, as well as Rick Santorum, having firmly established himself as the potential GOP nominee with a one percent backing. Jim Gilmore didn’t even gain enough of a following to be invited, and Rick Perry nobly withdrew from the race.

I watched intently for fifteen minutes, trying to better understand the candidates and their positions, and then came back to continue writing this piece. Bobby Jindal repeatedly emphasized that the Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders was an avowed Socialist. I hoped that in the second debate, another GOP wannabe would also bring up Bernie Sanders’ name, since the media mainly fail to mention him except to chortle when Hillary’s numbers are declining. Later, Bobby did tie Bernie to Barak, calling Obama another Socialist.

The top tier in the second debate, along with their most recent New Hampshire polling percentages included Trump (27%), Carson (23%), Bush, Rubio, and Huckabee (6% each), Cruz (5%), Fiorina (4%), Kasich and Paul (3% each), Walker (2%) and Christy (1%). At times, they interrupted one another, gnawed at their opponents credentials, and complained that they were portrayed wrong.
Of the fifteen who participated in the two debates as candidates for the nomination of their GOP political party, for the very political office of President of the United States, the two poll leaders, Trump and Carson, emphasized that they have never been elected to a political office. Carly Fiorina, who many pundits declared as the debate winner, was equally proud of her lack of political experience. She also might be the best person to negotiate with Iran, North Korea, China and Russia. After nearly destroying Hewlett-Packard under her leadership, she negotiated a severance package that included $21 million in cash, and $19 million more in stock and pension benefits.

The press derived its name during the early days of printing, when type was set one letter (or one line) at a time and placed into a form. Ink was rolled on the type, a sheet of paper was placed on top of it, and it was pressed down to make an impression on the paper. This was done one sheet at a time, a laborious effort, much like last Wednesday’s debates.

The highlight of one CNN news report on Trump’s earlier rally at a Dallas arena was when an anchor interviewed a Trump supporter who wore an outfit she had designed. The supporter proudly displayed the likeness of Trump on her hat, purse, dress and shoes. The CNN anchor’s most probing question concerned whether Hispanic protestors outside of the rally had tried to prevent her from entering the arena. The Trump supporter couldn’t recall, saying that she was too enthralled by being able to hear her man in person.

Other broadcast media professionals also seem to be incapable of bringing up pertinent discussion points, and most of their questions center around Donald, who deftly ducks talking about his policy programs and any topic of substance.

Ah, the public, aka the voters. These people will eventually decide who will be the President after the November 8, 2016 election, unless there is a repeat of 2000. That’s when the U. S. Supreme Court stopped a recount proposed by the Florida Supreme Court, and handed Florida to Bush by 537 votes. At that time, the Florida Governor was John Ellis Bush, J.E.B., and seven of the nine U.S. Supreme Court Justices, were appointed by Republican Presidents.

Before the 2016 election occurs, many Super PACs who are surreptitiously supporting their candidates, will be spending their millions, or billions, to influence the electorate.

The intelligence of the electorate is questionable, since too many voters won’t invest either the time or energy to truly learn about the candidates. The “public” seems to be far more interested in hearing what platitudes each of the candidates profess to support, and what each candidate says that a voter wants to hear.

Many of the voters listen to the candidates espousing generalities, and each candidate, in turn, will alone try to do his or her best to influence the public into believing that they can be the saviors of America.

These two September 16 debates took place in the Ronald Reagan Library.  In that hallowed setting, candidates valiantly tried to connect to Reagan and his ideals, as if that will be the strong tie that binds them to the future of a greater America, and helps get them become the GOP nominee. Oh, how they long for the good olde days of 1980 to 1988 — those glorious Reagan years. 

However, I once heard liberal folk singer Pete Seeger talk about the past, saying, “Those were the good old days that never were.”

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