Nashville, Tennessee. Tuesday October 7, 2008. A town hall format for the Presidential debate. NBC’s Tom Brokaw, from the MSM legacy media, is serving as the moderator. Brian Williams, the new MSM news guy at NBC is still miffed that he wasn’t selected to moderate. Can’t even get an interview with Sarah Palin. But we are here for the Presidential debate.
For the Dems, Mr. Smooth, the young politician from south Chicago. Running an insurgency campaign, following the Independents model created in the University of Chicago, south side elite and African American neighborhoods. For the GOP, the Maverick from Arizona, the warrior who has been through many tough times, including his present political challenge to catch up with Mr. Smooth. This is the second time in the boxing ring for both candidates.
Expectations are high. Can the Maverick change the debate and get his momentum back? Can Mr. Smooth satisfy the doubters? Can he appear Presidential enough to win the election? Will the format favor the Maverick?
First question from Allen, what about retirees? Mr. Smooth says the economic problems are someone else’s fault, which is the “last eight years of Bush”. The standard line. Good politics, but not the actual cause of the problem. Doesn’t matter, Mr. Smooth is trying to get elected. The Maverick announces a proposed program for the US Treasury to buy up failing mortgages so homeowners can stay in the their houses. What? Another multi-hundred billion-government program? Both agree that Warren Buffet knows more about the economy and investing than either Presidential candidate knows. Let’s go to the next question.
Back to THE economy. Brokaw is trying to stay in charge, but the candidates keep ignoring the lights. It will be a problem all night: windy answers to questions. But remember, these guys are running for president, and there are millions of Americans watching. They need all the time they can get. Walter has a prepared question: What can be done to help the average American?
The Maverick is ready. It is a rescue, not a bailout. I went back to Washington to speak for the taxpayer. How did we get here? Problems at Freddie and Fannie. I stood up to the lax oversight and looming problems. Mr. Smooth over here, he took a hike. McCain went after Obama! New tone in debate. Will it work? Is it too late to slow down Mr. Smooth?
Mr. Smooth responds. I’ve got to correct the Maverick. It is the fault of deregulation. Plus I wrote letters to the Secretary of Treasury and the Federal Reserve. Wrote letters? Do you sponsor and champion any legislation? No, Obama sponsored none. But that critical piece of information is left unsaid by the Smooth One.
MSM legacy media guy: Can the economy get much worse? Good question, given that the stock market has lost 4,000 points (or 25% since the summer). Mr. Smooth is on a tightrope. His campaign instinct is to say Yes, but he realizes that he might be elected President and has to actually lead soon. So the Smooth One said that we need to help people, and then he ran through a couple more prepared lines. Folks trust Mr. Smooth on the economy? I’m still trying to figure out why. Neither candidate has been in business. They can talk about it (THE economy), but don’t really understand it completely. Hopefully their advisors will.
The Maverick was next on the economy question. We need to stabilize the mortgage and housing market. For someone who is not supposed to understand the economy, the former Naval Officer was sounding like he got it. He mentioned that he and a group of Senators sent a letter on the mortgage issue, but that Mr. Smooth didn’t have his name on it. Both candidates are getting testy, and the Maverick is getting to Mr. Smooth’s calm demeanor.
Next question by Teresa: How can we trust either of you with our money? Considering the credit and financial crisis, this is an excellent question.
Mr. Smooth tries the emotional connection with an “I feel your pain” approach. Then he proceeds to blame Bush. It is his fault. No one is innocent, (except for Mr. Smooth, but that is beside the point). So let’s spend (government) money? Have an energy plan? Even make spending cuts? What, actually cut spending? A Democrat? But then Mr. Smooth qualifies it: A net spending cut? So we’ll raise taxes, but cut some spending, and that is a ‘net spending cut’? A new Washington phrase is added to the liberal tax and spend lexicon.
The Maverick weighs in. Washington broken. But I have been in the Swamp trying to reform the place. Then he delivers a rehearsed line: Let’s look at the record and well as our rhetoric. Check out the third party watchdog groups and you’ll see the difference between Mr. Smooth and me. Then the Maverick went after Mr. Smooth for spending, raising taxes, earmarks and not challenging the leadership in the Democratic Party. Mr. Smooth is thinking about what could be the next question. Can they ask about health care now?
The MSM legacy media guy changes in the subject. Mr. Smooth is relieved, as the economy was supposed to be his strong suit. The question for the MSM news anchor: Health Care, Social Security and Energy Policy. What are your priorities?
The Maverick jumps in. We need to sit down, with the Democrats and the Republicans and fix these problems. Back to the citizen questioner, “Al, all three are important.” And the GOP Energy policy is “all of the above”. And get rid of earmarks. The anti-pork crusader has to get that in. Not a strong answer, but kept pressing Mr. Smooth on spending.
Mr. Smooth uses the bullet point approach. Good debate skills. We need to prioritize. Energy independence is number one. Health care is #2, and Education is #3. The smooth one said he’d go through the budget line by line. Really? The Federal budget? A flicker of hope, but it was dashed, as Mr. Smooth had to counter his opponent with some class warfare remarks. The Smooth One brushed off earmarks. Just doesn’t want to talk about his $928 million in earmarks for Illinois here, in a debate, with millions watching.
The MSM legacy media moderator is really getting hot under the collar with the Presidential candidates not following the carefully negotiated rules of debate engagement. Both candidates comply like a youngster obeys his grandmother. They are trying, but just can’t stay within the time limits. Finally the veteran newscaster asked a penetrating question: What sacrifices will you, as President, ask of the American people? Hmmm. Both candidates quickly begin to search for the debate prep answers.
The Maverick is ready. He understands sacrifice. The question, while economic, is on his turf of service above self. We need to eliminate some government programs. (Finally, an answer that is less government, not more!). He cited examples of taking on Boeing air tanker deal. And said that “all government spending” has be looked at for making cuts. And he reiterates his proposal for a spending freeze. Advocates full transparency and eliminating earmarks. Most ordinary Americans are wondering why it took a financial crises to have Congress operate with some fiscal sense and restraint?
Mr. Smooth goes back to 911. I guess that is the only national crisis he has seen in his lifetime. Talked about how the country came together. But then back into Bush bashing. Mr. Smooth again criticized Bush (his favorite punching bag) about him asking American’s to “go shopping” in response to 911. I guess this reference by Mr. Smooth was supposed to indicate that this was a “lame thing for a President to do”? If he were President after 911, he’d advocate pubic service? Sounds nice, but probably the “go shopping” presidential suggestion was pretty good (though corny) at the time. Next, Mr. Smooth advocates for energy conservation and the doubling the Peace Corps. His delivery is very smooth, yet his positions are slippery at the same time. But what about some specifics and how to sacrifice as individuals? No matter, if Mr. Smooth said it, it will be just fine. The MSM will see to that.
The MSM legacy media guy is staying on the economy: How to break the American consumer habits of debt and easy money?
Mr. Smooth responds that it starts in Washington. Not just on spending the revenue side as well (read: raise taxes). Mr. Smooth again brushed aside earmarks, saying they only total $18 Billion dollars a year. What! More money than many of the States and their entire annual budgets! Then the Smooth One goes back to his class warfare arguments, including more taxing of CEO’s. (There are only 500 of them, and this is the extent of your tax policy? Just bashing the CEO guy, who may actually be creating jobs and economic growth? No matter, Mr. Smooth is trying to get elected with smooth rhetoric. It appears to be working.). Somehow that helps the poor? And, he disagrees with the Maverick on a spending freeze. Big spending tendencies are in Mr. Smooth’s political DNA.
The Maverick pounces: “Trying to nail down Senator Obama’s tax policies is like trying to nail Jell-O® to the wall”. Finally a zinger! He continues that now is not the time to raise taxes. Leave the tax rates alone. We can afford to tax small businesses in an adverse way.
Mr. Smooth is squirming. Just got pounded on his pro-tax, big spending anti-business approach. He tries to interrupt, but is cautioned by the MSM legacy media guy.
To be continued….