Now that the scripted cheering in praise of the Cinderella Team winning Game 1 of the 2012 Presidential World Series Debates has lost some of its volume to sheer hoarseness, and because it’s a gray day in the Greatest County of Cuyahoga, I thought I’d throw out my own thoughts on the subject plus a link to a very good editorial from the WSWS with which I mostly strongly agree.
First, the American presidential debates are the ultimate kabuki theater of politics where the actors and their coaches play to an audience so indoctrinated to sports analyses and analogies that they don’t even think it a little weird that the contest for real political and economic power is treated as if it’s just another World Series in baseball, as if baseball was really all that important. Or football, or boxing, or whatever sports analogy is used.
Hey. I’m a big NFL fan, I love to watch and go to games, and to talk about them with like-minded people who know the game. But it’s still just a game, no matter how much money it makes. It’s not as important to my standard of living as politics by a long shot, and should never, ever, ever be placed on the same scales. The fact that our power elites and media have done exactly that for nearly a century says something.
Back to the point. This was kabuki because it’s staged with rules designed to limit real political debate with largely predictable outcomes. The outcomes are predictable because they closely match the interests of the television networks which broadcast the debates and talk about them incessantly before and after. Here’s how.
Going back to 1976, the challenger to the incumbent president was hailed as the winner in Game 1 of every Debate Series with the exception of Mean Old Man Bob Dole in 1996. In the three elections where there was no incumbent president running, 1988, 2000, and 2008, the candidate of the party not in the White House took two out of three.
As my father used to say, “Follow the money and most of the time you will find out why something in politics happened.” The TV networks have vested interests in making damned sure the Debate World Series is interesting and, more importantly, entertaining to the largest audience obtainable. The more viewers a network gets, the more advertising revenue, and in election years political advertising revenue, flows into the corporate coffers for distribution to executives and investors. If the Challenger doesn’t win Game 1 on the home field of the Defending Champion, well, the whole Series could be a bust for the networks.
Besides, losing Game 1 gives the Champion time to recover, regroup, and make The Comeback or The Drive or whatever. Far more entertaining that way. And profitable.
Second, if you don’t look at the presidential debates as a sporting event and really listen to what the candidates are saying in a realistic power politics kind of way, you see a glimpse of exactly what they really are.
Here, the World Socialist Web Site hit a grand slam in an editorial by Patrick Martin. From the article:
Such arguments explain nothing. Romney is still just as reactionary and his policies just as unpopular the day after the debate as they were the day before. Moreover, his performance Wednesday night, from his brazen lies about his plan to cut taxes for the wealthy to his incomprehensible reference to “trickle-down government,” was no more cogent or convincing than Obama’s.
In part, the intensity of (liberals’) disappointment with Obama’s capitulation reveals their own self-delusion. They seem to have believed their own hype that this right-wing bourgeois politician was the champion of “hope” and “change.”
Indeed. He’s talking to some of you who are reading this. You may as well admit it. It’s the first step on the road to recovery. Trust me here. I was a huge Obama supporter in 2008. Once you realize you deluded yourself, the delusion evaporates and you just might see the world for how it is instead of how you would like it to be. Anyway, I really like this next snippet:
In the debate, however, the real Obama was on display: a man with no significant political background or career, much less independent ideas. An individual who had passed through no real struggles before he was picked up and promoted as the symbol of “change,” while remaining a loyal servant of the state.
I would have said “corporate state.” Oh, well, nobody’s perfect. The editorial also has an excellent description of the real roles the Democratic and Republican parties play in the “financial aristocracy, ” which I find an apt description of our PTB. Here’s a link to the whole thing. It’s a good read, even if I’m not voting for whom they endorse:
And now, the rain begins in the Greatest County of Cuyahoga. Maybe there’s a crying rain god, after all. And have a nice day.