Friday, September 26, 2008

Debate Geeks

Back in my high school days, one of the most popular television shows was "Miami Vice." Of course, you didn't dare talk about it too much with your school mates lest you reveal that you had spent your most recent Friday night sitting in front of the TV from 9pm-10pm rather than out partaking in whatever it was that all the cool kids were supposedly doing.

Scheduling the first presidential debate of 2008 on a Friday night brought this to mind. As much as Americans are paying attention to the candidates this year (or at least so we've been told), the truth of the matter is that sitting at home and watching the debate is a sign that your social options may be limited. Well, I could have been out doing all kinds of fun stuff, but I elected to stay home and watch the debate because I think this election is so important. Yeah, sure you could have pal. I bet you had all sorts of offers that you had to turn down.

Having three young children and thus absolutely no social life to speak of, I had nothing better to do than catch the debate tonight (especially since the Twins were gacking all over themselves against the Royals) . In fact, I've been looking forward to this first one for some time. Which is why I was I little surprised that I found in so thoroughly uncompelling.

Perhaps it was all the drama of the financial crisis, the suspension of McCain's campaign, and the very real doubt whether the debate would actually take place. It really sucked all the life out of the race and made the debate seem more like a side show than the main event.

Maybe it was the candidates just trotting out the same talking points that we've heard for the last two years and circling back to them again and again. Did anyone say anything new and noteworthy? If so, I missed it. I'm also bored to death of the candidates coming in to the debates with these cute, canned lines that are intended to be humorous, but are usually anything but. There's nothing wrong with injecting a bit of humor from time to time, but it's got to be real or at least seem so. There's nothing funny when it's obvious that you're trying too hard.

Most of all I think it was the schedule. Friday night is usually the capstone to the workweek. You want to kick back, relax and chill. You want to watch a ball game or a movie, enjoy a drink or two, and take a break from the worries of the world. The last thing you want to do is think about serious matters. I can't imagine a time when people would be less interested in a political debate than a Friday night. I know that I certainly wasn't.

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