I remember learning in history class about the first televised political debate. It was the epic battle of the youngin’ John F. Kennedy vs. the mature Richard Nixon on September 28, 1960…and it’s amazing how even back then before huge TV screens and high definition footage, people could see a distinct difference between the two candidates. Voters watching the debate said they could see that Kennedy was literally and figuratively the fresher candidate while Nixon was sweating bullets and everyone noticed….even on their black and white TVs.
But a part from the visual things people noticed from that first debate, it was also the first time voters could see how the two candidates interacted with each other on stage. It was a chance to see them in a natural human element…conversation with an opponent.
Well, since then political debates have changed and evolved with the times.
Yes, it’s still a chance to see the potential political candidates in a new light…not in the middle of crowd or on a tour bus but on stage with their opponents. These days, the candidates seem to be more relaxed on stage….or maybe even too relaxed because they can really go at each other if the questions and responds lead them that way.
Don’t see it? Well, last night’s GOP debate in Las Vegas, NV was a perfect example of the potential Republican candidates taking an inch and going a mile! While answering a question, if one or more candidates were referred in the remark then those specific candidates were given 30 seconds to respond…well, there’s just say 30 seconds wasn’t long enough and some candidates wanted to respond more to each other than to the questions being asked.
Now, it’s true that some major issues were discussed during the debate last night…everything from immigration, the economy, taxes, jobs and yes, even religion were all up for grabs during this political show down. But even in the midst of questions and answers, there were a few candidates that just never got a break….those being, Herman Cain and Mitt Romney.
As I watched the debate it felt like every question so how turned into a response or a chance to reference Cain or Romney. Of course when taxes and the economy were the hot button issue, everyone talked about in some way, shape or form Cain’s 9-9-9 plan. Yes, it’s simple, it’s catchy but will it work? Well, that’s not for me to decide but it was definitely something to talk about. Like any candidate, Cain defended his plan for his life while every candidate had a chance to discuss his plan.
But after what seemed like an endless battle, the conversation switched to other topics but the newest victim was then Mitt Romney. All of a sudden, with each exchange, the responses started to mention Romney and he was given a chance to respond. However, if you watched the debate at all last night, you can tell that the only person that Romney really knocked heads with was Rick Perry. Ironically, the two were positioned right next to each other and as soon as round one was over for them…the punches from both sides just kept coming. But out of all of their exchanges, Perry’s response to Romney about illegal workers and Romney’s response to Perry about letting him talk were probably the two most memorable battles from the night.
But a part from all the battles and attacks, there was one thing missing from last night’s debate. No it wasn’t a lack of smiles, handshake or references of 9-9-9, it was Jon Huntsman. That’s right. One of the presidential candidates to be, decided to sit this one out. The former Utah governor thought it would be better to stay on the East Coast and focus his efforts in New Hampshire while his opponent battled it out in Vegas. Some may think that he wasn’t missed but Huntsman thought the debate was more of a game show.
“You see, I was offered an invitation to a game show tonight out in Las Vegas,” Huntsman joked to a packed house . “It’s called a presidential debate.”
So there you have it, the good, the bad and yes, even a little ugly from the art of debating. I know that as the campaign trail continues the debates will become what ever voter really needs to see because in the end, how a candidate can debate on stage can have some say in how he or she could lead this country. Until then, yes, there will be more heated discussions about the economy, the 9-9-9 deal, immigration and the biggest question for the GOP candidates, which one of them thinks they can beat President Obama?
I know we’ll have many more debates to go but this time around, I want to leave you with a few laughs from those people we love at Saturday Night Live and all their skits about the political campaign. Enjoy!
Until next time,