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The election of presidents in our country truly seems to involve descent into mass psychosis.

Psychosis: A loss of contact with reality that usually includes: False beliefs about what is taking place or who one is (delusions); Seeing or hearing things that aren't there (hallucinations).
Our latest national psychotic episode involves the narrative that Obama's and Romney's fortunes rest on their debate performances.  If this is true, it says more about our collective insanity as a people than it does about our politics. Whether someone is good at looking and sounding confident and firing pointed verbal barbs at others manifestly should have nothing to do with whether or not we vote for him.

Personally, I do not care a whit if Obama, Romney, Biden or Ryan is a good debater. And I can't understand why anyone would care.


The president occupies a position of extreme political power with the ability to impede the creation of federal laws, to control the behavior of the civilian and military forces, influence the interpretation of the constitution, and to spend unimaginable amounts of money in the purported interest of Americans and others around the globe. To anyone who is not a complete and total moron, there really are only two relevant questions:

1) Do I share the president's policy goals?

2) Is the president sufficiently competent to put them into practice?

In the case of Obama, the answer to both questions is (on balance) yes. At this point, in the case of Obama, the answer is based on experience. In the case of Romney the answer to both questions is clearly no. This answer is based on the simple fact that Romney is a demonstrated liar. The only question that remains about Romney is who, in fact, is he lying to? Is his intention to screw the democrats or the members of his own party? I will take a pass on finding out.

The election really is that simple. Debate performance is completely irrelevant. With the amount of messaging already expended, no one in America today should need to see a debate to know who to vote for. If Romney and Ryan were the greatest debaters on earth brimming with "confidence" and verbal showmanship, who gives a rat's ass? Should anyone buy a load of horseshit because the horseshit salesman is really polished, well-informed and confident? This is the "narrative" that we have to advance between now and election day. Focus on the issues and encourage voters to just skip everything else.

Boiling it down, this is our point:

Do you want to go back to war around the globe and scale up military expenditures, diverting resources from rebuilding America?

Do you want to weaken Social Security and Medicare and programs that serve communities and the poor?

Do you want to further enrich those with most through additional tax cuts?

Do you want further escalation of the deficit and the debt to serve the military-industrial complex and the wealthy while the rest of the nation suffers?

Do you want to roll back regulations on critical industries, including the financial sector?

Do you want to risk another complete societal meltdown?

And about 50 others...

If the answer to these fundamental questions is "no," then you must vote for Obama, even if he is the shittiest debater on earth, even if Romney were to leave him speechless and weeping at the podium. It just doesn't matter. Only one thing matters: What will this president do when he is elected?

Clarity please.

That is more than a "narrative." That is the simple truth. We have nothing to gain from the debates but more lies and confusion from our opponents.

We don't need Obama to be the inspiring, well-spoken leader of the free world. (And he has already demonstrated that competence anyway.) We just need him to do what he says he will do on those points of policy that matter to most thinking human beings. That will be inspiring enough.

Any other framing is a self-inflicted wound.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    The only thing required for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing.

    by DavidMCastro on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 06:57:32 PM PDT

  •  Quick, change your title. (4+ / 0-)

    Trust me.

    Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

    by NMDad on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 06:59:55 PM PDT

  •  I'm not liking the head line . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thinking Fella, Otteray Scribe

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 07:02:03 PM PDT

  •  tipped because I'm not a PC cop (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DavidMCastro, blueoasis

    and I judged the diary rather the title.  

    But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have laid my dreams under your feet; tread softly, because you tread on my dreams. – Yeats

    by Bill O Rights on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 07:13:48 PM PDT

  •  The remaining debates WILL have some relevance.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KJB Oregon

    .....and I actually have reason to be very positive about this going forward.

    Biden will deliver, Obama will provide a vigorous defense and will have more offense in the Town Hall - a format that suits him - and I feel good about Obama in the foreign policy debate, too.

    Obama learned his lesson, and has LOTS to work with. It's all about the long game.

    "Because only three percent of you read books - and only fifteen percent of you read newspapers - but right now there is a whole and entire generation that didn't know anything that didn't come out of this tube." - Howard Beale

    by Audible Nectar on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 07:30:29 PM PDT

    •  A quick analysis (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Audible Nectar

      Romney and Ryan are pathological liars. The debates only give them a national platform to seem like reasonable people to the remaining undecided voters. Imagine what an undecided voter is like from an information perspective.

      I hate to say it, but we have nothing much to gain and everything to lose. It would be better to tell people to watch the post debate speeches.

      Remember, going into this, we were closing it out.

      Part of the art of war is fighting your battle, not your opponent's. I am saying that this is a lousy battlefield because the forum puts a liar on stage with the president and makes the liar look and sound like a fair competitor. That is a losing proposition for us.

      Reframe the message: the debates are irrelevant. What matters is policy. You don't need to watch the debate to know the policy differences.

      See what I mean?

      The only thing required for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing.

      by DavidMCastro on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 07:37:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, I do...... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        .....and it's good advice to those we talk to.

        However, we cannot change the media narrative entirely and those we cannot talk to. Neither can the Obama team, and they KNOW they have to deliver the goods in the debate forums, at least to a degree. That's why I am realistic in the sense of the debates with the larger public - Obama has to play the game. And he will, and do it better.
        So in that sense I am less worried.

        But to MY friends and those I talk to, I tell them straight up that I don't give a damn about how these debates turn out - I know well who I am voting for and why - and I make sure they know too.

        "Because only three percent of you read books - and only fifteen percent of you read newspapers - but right now there is a whole and entire generation that didn't know anything that didn't come out of this tube." - Howard Beale

        by Audible Nectar on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 08:07:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's a good point (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I came of age after debates became de rigeur, so I cannot compare the quality of election campaigns before and after debates changed the picture, but it seems to me that the debates, instead of being informative, are viewed as entertainment and the snappier presenter wins the debate.  I wonder what it would be like if there was a REAL debate.  A single question is posed and one candidate takes the affirmative and one the negative.

    "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

    by TLS66 on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 07:33:51 PM PDT

    •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

      We have everything to lose and not much to gain. This much has been shown already

      The only thing required for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing.

      by DavidMCastro on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 07:38:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You know who agrees with the diarist? (0+ / 0-)

      Apparently President Obama.  the NYTimes piece on his debate prep has a part about how much he hates them as meaningless grandstandign.  Which they are.

      I of course love the idea of mass psychosis, since that describes things to  T.

      Never believe your own press, never drink your own KoolAid

      by Mindful Nature on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 07:40:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If he finds them to be so meaningless, he should.. (0+ / 0-)

        not participate. The whole thing is a charade put together by the two parties, meant to narrow and stupify the discussion. The League of Women Voters got out of the business when the two parties insisted on this childish format. He's more than welcome to call them up and invite himself to an event I'm sure they'd be happy to hold.

        "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

        by 2020adam on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 11:16:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Obama can't rely on the moderators.. (0+ / 0-) moderate. Zero challenges and followup doomed Obama in the first debate. He needs to assume that role.

    Challenge Romney on the OBVIOUS issues. Speak over the moderator, go rogue, but get your point across. Early and often and SHARP!

    Mr Romney, you said behind closed doors that you had no plan for Palestine. Today you say something different. Which is it?  Demand an answer. Put him on the defensive.

    Have your presentations (zingers) memorized.

    Mr Romney, do you believe in a Women's choice, you're on record being on both sides.

    Mr Romney, why won't you release your tax returns as I have? What are you hiding? Demand an answer. Non of this, "I did what the law requires," non-sense. What are you hiding? What are you hiding?

    Mr Romney, do you believe in evolution, and why. There are skeptics in America, believe it or not.

    Do you believe John Smith was a prophet?

    There are many more valid and important questions. Bring them and don't wait to be asked about them.

    Get some sleep and kick his ass, Mr President.

    •  And I think Lehrer was pretty neautral (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, gramofsam1

      From what I've heard about Candy Crowley, she might be hostile and not an impartial referee.  She was practically a Bush shill during his adminsitration.

      "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

      by TLS66 on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 09:13:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think you are right. The debates are so stilted (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and staged and outright boring.  The Jim Lehrer format is terrible.  The town hall format is crap as well.  All the pundits scoring the debate and naming winners are probably people who thought that Crossfire was a great tv program.  Thankfully Jon Stewart killed off that craptastic program.  In addition to the debates, we should get rid of the Sunday talk shows.  Let the GOP pay for air time if they want to repeat their same tired political points on tv.

  •  Can you provide a list of what you are for, based (0+ / 0-)

    on policies to this point?

    •  My big three (0+ / 0-)

      1. Ending the wars and war spending

      2. Protecting SS, Medicare, programs for the poor and PELL grants

      3. Preventing regulatory capture of agencies by industry.

      I am sure others would have other priorities.

      The only thing required for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing.

      by DavidMCastro on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 03:33:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This country is insane (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    On that point you are totally right.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 05:31:40 AM PDT

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