Panem et circenses

Over on BL1Y, The life and adventures of a defunct big law associate, there is a post about Nancy Pelosi and her stance on debating John Dennis.

I have to say I agree with BL1Y’s comments on political debate in this country. But I want to go a step further. I think even if we had any debate among candidates we would not be any the better for it in the vast majority of cases. Even if we did have debate, would it matter…..

First, like BL1Y says, we know Nancy’s positions, we don’t exactly need a debate to find them out, or even for us to discuss the merits of them. Also, her strategy in the video he has up is a valid one in many respects.

She is working to strengthen her party. It could be used against her, but only on a “she doesn’t care about talking to her constituents, she is more worried about her political machinations” type way. The problem is she would simply retort that the people know her, she has remained consistent and steadfast, and feels she can do the most good for Californians by working with other candidates to have a democrat control of Congress. This is a politicians who is 100% comfortable calling herself a liberal, a term many would run from, so it isn’t like we can really say people don’t know her. Oh, I also have to say, I have to applaud her for that at least, she does have some courage there.

Getting back on topic though, why would we need, let alone want, a verbal sparing match between them? (Although I shouldn’t say “we” I’m not a resident of California).

It is sad people want candidates to debate many issues. Do we need them to debate them, or could a debate from others, perhaps more knowledgeable on the subjects at hand not get us further. Assume Nancy takes position A and her opponent position B on an issue.

Say whether or not they support a nuclear waste storage facility in Nevada. What do they know of the geological impact of an underground nuclear waste storage facility? Wouldn’t we be better served having real experts on geology debate the merits of these proposed ideas and then picking voting knowing if they agree of disagree with the science.

And on other positions, what is the point. Assume Nancy says Gay Marriage good, John says bad. Do we really need to have them debate those issues or can’t we figure out on our own what we think about those subjects and vote accordingly with them only having said their stances on those issues.

Most public debates are a waste of time on issues, it may sway some people, but if the debate is their only source of info on a given issue do we really want their participation increased? Personally if all a person knows on the issues is what the politicians told them then please let them stay home on election day and every single election day when they get their information in that way.

We don’t need greater voter turn out, we need greater voter participation. And there is a difference.

Can’t really say I’m original in not thinking much of political debate in this ountry. Pretty much the exact same point was made by others, Jon Stewart 2004 on Crossfire:

Doesn’t really matter of course, as BL1Y said, it isn’t (wouldn’t be) debate, just speeches.


3 Responses

  1. Some things, such as economic policies are probably not ripe for debate. It’ll just be two knownothings claiming to have the better economists. But, more basic policy things could be good for debate.

    The real issue is that news organizations are wimps, mother fucking wimps. They won’t hold anyone’s feet to the fire, make them answer a question, or stop the debate to cite a legit factchecking cite that discredits something one candidate has said. In debates there aren’t moderators, only hosts.

    What we need is for a major network, like CNN, to say they’re going to hold a debate with very strict rules. No giving speeches, no dodging questions, and no presenting specious arguments and facts known to be false or highly misleading.

    Of course, no candidate will bite. So, you also say that acceptance must made within X days. If only one candidate accepts, they will be awarded a 1 hour time slot to talk about whatever they want. You’ve just created a prisoner’s dilemma; no matter what the other side does, you’re better off agreeing to the debate.

    • Thanks for commenting,

      I agree a prisoner’s dilemma situation would be a great way to ensure participation. However, as you said, the media are wimps. But worse, they are biased wimps who have drank the kool-aid of being unbiased.

      I’m fine with biased media, at least I know where they are coming from, and everyone else does too. But when they really think they aren’t biased, well it is a bit like some of the people I’ve known in the North-East who would have sworn they aren’t racist. In many ways they were more racist than anyone else I’ve met (which is a separate blog post I’m still writing).

      • Jesus ain’t that the truth about racism. Down here in Alabama, a lot of racists are shut up pretty quickly. We’ve been there, done that, learned out lesson. If you’re going to be racist, you keep that to your yourself.

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