The Super Bowl is being played today … somewhere … at some time … isn’t it? Most years, I would be complaining that all we hear about is Super Bowl, Super Bowl, Super Bowl, but this year I have barely heard mention of it. Does this mean that the nation has abandoned its sometimes obsessive love of the game? Does it mean that everybody will instead be watching the History Channel, or (shudder) reality television? No, friends, it means that the 2016 Presidential Election has overshadowed all other events. Last year, for two weeks leading up to what we refer to as Super Bowl Sunday, the media were busily interviewing fans, players, coaches, previewing those ever-famous television commercials (the only reason most people actually watch the game), and interviewing more fans while showing pictures of the stadium. This year, turn on the television, pick up a newspaper or magazine, and you will not see Peyton Manning, but Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz or one of the other numerous contenders.
There was yet another GOP debate last night … sigh. There have been so many debates this election season that I have lost count … and lost interest, for the most part. I am not going to go into any great detail about this debate, as it was just more of the same ol’, same ol’ and if I am getting tired of writing about it, you are certainly getting tired of reading about it. I do, however, want to touch on a few of points:
- The introduction of the candidates was, perhaps, the best moment of all the debates! I laughed so hard I nearly choked, then went back and watched the clip two more times. In case you didn’t see it, here is a link: http://www.vox.com/2016/2/6/10929066/republican-debate-ben-carson-backstage. We were told that Carson, Trump and Kasich were unable to hear their names called, but the rest of the bunch seemed to have no trouble, so ???
- Marco Rubio, who was beginning to actually rise on the charts in Iowa, blew this debate which is likely to affect his position in the primary on Monday. He seems to do pretty well as long as the conversation stays within the script he anticipated, but when thrown off course, he flops about like a fish on deck.
- Carly Fiorina was excluded from the debate, as she did not meet the eligibility criteria as determined by ABC, the network hosting the debate. Fiorina was angry and appealed to the RNC (Republican National Committee) to force ABC to include her, and several other candidates supported her inclusion. My question is: WHY? She is polling at 8th place, has absolutely no possible chance to win the nomination, so why does it matter? They need to narrow the field to about the top 4-5 candidates so that we, the viewers (voters) might actually be able to figure out what the individual candidates stand for. And as far as the complaints about ABC’s decision, the candidates should be thanking every network that has hosted a debate … it is absolutely free advertising for them!
- Though his first sentence of the debate was to claim that he has “the best temperament” of any of the candidates, Trump lost it on the question of eminent domain and the fact that he once tried to take an elderly woman’s house for a limousine parking lot at one of his casinos. He rudely (surprise!) told Jeb Bush to shut up and insulted the audience, resulting in several episodes of unanimous “booing” from the audience.
- Though in the beginning, moderator David Muir claimed they were “going to tackle the issues Americans are most concerned about, the economy, ISIS, Homeland Security”, the moderators began by pitting candidates against one another, urging them to respond to prior criticisms by their fellow candidates. Is this how to conduct a debate? I think not, yet it has been the format for every GOP debate thus far. The debate turned into yet another republican brawl, complete with name-calling, yelling, and the same rhetoric the candidates have been spewing for months now. Frankly, I find it monotonous, boring, tedious and pointless. Why not simply record one debate and replay it every 2-3 weeks?
I do not watch the live debates, either republican or democrat. Instead, I generally watch a few of the most notable clips, then read the annotated transcript so helpfully provided by The Washington Post. After the last GOP debate, however, I vowed to stop doing even that much, as there is really no serious discussion of the issues. I generally walk away more thoroughly disgusted than before, and it is more about trading insults and personality conflicts than anything else. There are those who enjoy this type of drama, but I do not find it to be helpful in determining who, if anyone, might be best qualified to lead this nation for the next four years. It is demeaning to us all that the republican party, the candidates and the networks believe we are incapable of understanding serious discussion of the issues facing this nation and instead would prefer a Jerry Springer-type of reality show/circus atmosphere. I am insulted, and you should be too.