04 October 2008

The debates, a little late

One of my dear readers (hi, Cyndi!) actually took the time to email me because she just KNEW I had a Vice Presidential Debate wrap-up in me and she noticed that I had not written it.

I went over to Santa Clarita to watch the debates at Queen of Spain's house with about 20 other people, many of them bloggers. Yes, I drove an hour to spend watch 90 minutes of debates, which seems nutty but these are mah peeple!

People who aren't addicted don't understand the pleasure that comes from hanging out with people who don't make a fuss when you twitter or post or put up a photo or an Utterz or whatever it is you simply must do right that moment in cyberspace.

So. Onto the debate, about which I have only ONE comment: While the rest of the world was sighing over Joe Biden's choking up about his family's tragic accident, I was busy having the debate completely reframed in my mind.

That one moment snapped everything back into reality for me.

Because, you see, a few days ago, I had heard Joe Biden on the radio talking with a reporter about how he had done the EXACT same thing at a campaign rally. He told the reporter how embarrassed he was and how he wouldn't go there again.

But he did, he did go there again AFTER he said he wouldn't. He went there because he knew the moment worked, that it connected with people. Seeing that reminded me of one thing: all these people are doing is trying to get elected, and they are using all the tools in their political toolboxes to do it.

There is no reality there. Or if there is, it is about as "real" as the fourth season of "Bret Michaels: Rock of Love."

It reminds me of when I was a reporter. I did what I had to to get the story. I used all my super Spidey senses to try and determine what would get people to spill the good stuff. If they needed concern, I gave them deep, furrowed-brow concern. If they wanted to show me their prized orchid collection before they showed me the documents I really wanted, by God, I exclaimed over their paphiopedalums like I had never seen a flower before.

I was not actually concerned. I was professionally concerned for as long as it took me to get the story. Yeah, people's stories touched my heart sometimes, but I couldn't let them touch me too much because those weren't my stories to live. They were just my stories to tell and move on. I knew I was using people - and often they were using me to get the word out about something that was important to them.

Sometimes it was a little sickening, but I did it in the service of a good story. I was doing my job. And that's all Sarah and Joe are doing.

All is fair in love and politics. If your wife and child are dead, drag it out and wave it around. If you have a Down Syndrome baby, bring him out in a building full of lights and screaming people.

I do think that Biden and Obama, by not stooping to truly sleazy tactics like McCain's ad lying about Obama wanting sex education for kindergarteners are behaving better than the McPalin team. But neither side is impeccable - see www.factcheck.org for an impartial analysis.

These are politicians, people, doing their job, and their job is to get elected. That is the one thing, the only thing, we can be sure of. Sorry to be so cynical.

I'll let my man Chuck D say it:

6 comments:

Gigi said...

Did anyone else feel nervous when Sarah Palin's youngest daughter was carrying the baby? No one was monitoring her to be sure she didn't lose her grip. The baby looked like he could slip out of her grip at any minute. I couldn't watch.

This pertains to nothing you said, but thanks for listening...

Gwen said...

I concur. It's mostly all a show.

Jerri Ann said...

I'm just curious how Obama and McCain feel when they hear "in a heart beat, you could be President of the United States".

I mean, you know, if it is said once, that's one thing, but when reporters and the candidates themselves (VP candidates), you have to wonder if what Obama and McCain here instead is, "dude you got one heart beat left. Ya hear what they said, that's it, one beat, one little beat and your a goner."

Just makes me laugh for some reason.

Jerri Ann said...

Jesus, could I be more illiterate...Let me start over

I'm just curious how Obama and McCain feel when they hear "in a heart beat, you could be President of the United States" being said to the VP Candidates?

I mean, you know, if it is said once, that's one thing, but when reporters and the candidates themselves (VP candidates) say it with frequency, you have to wonder if what Obama and McCain hear instead is, "dude you got one heart beat left. Ya hear what they said, that's it, one beat, one little beat and your a goner."

Just makes me laugh for some reason.

Whew, that's better

g said...

A good reality check from you.

Of course, I teared up, too. Even if he "uses" it, it still happened.

As for Palin - Here's my take. Anyone who stands up in front of audiences and calls herself a maverick - probably isn't one.

jonniker said...

Your story reminds me of the one with Kerry/Edwards -- Kerry reportedly soured on Edwards when he "confided" this deeply personal account of a moment around his son's death and then said it was the first time he'd shared it with anyone, crying all the while.

Turns out, he'd shared the EXACT SAME STORY with Kerry three years' prior. It was all an insincere set up.

That being said, I'm not sure this is totally calculated. I think he lets himself go there, certainly, but it's not as though the subject matter is light and happy and contrived. I mean, all politicians, to your point, are portraying a calculated image. All of them. And all that shit aside, debates are about who performs the best with the script that they've written for themselves.

Even if what you say is true, Biden still wiped the floor with her teased beehive.

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