Debates ** Jim Lehrer ** My Take

I know this posting is a bit untimely but I have been busy the last few days since the debate and havent had time to sit down and write this. I have been meaning to. I found last weeks debate disturbing, not only in the way it was moderated, but also the hyper hysterical media response which I feel lifted Romney’s campaign unjustifiably. I watch the first hour of the debate; heard both of them bickering back and forth with talking points I’d heard many times before, frankly I was completely bored. I didnt see Romney as this new take charge character and I didnt see Obama as tired and weak. I saw, more of the same. So I stopped watching, missed the last 30 mins and went to bed. I was rather surprised to see the screaming headlines how Romney won and was a new man.

Let me start with what bothered me the most: Jim Lehrer and the way he moderated the debate. Throwing questions out to candidates saying ‘what do you think of what he said about your policy’ is an absurd way to find out information, it just gives time for long monologues that are untruthful. What I wanted to see was an extremely well prepared moderator who had facts, research, studies sitting in front of him while he was asking questions. Some of the questions I would have liked to have seen:

To Romney: You are proposing a 20%  tax cut for everyone in the country that comes to $5T and $2T extra in military spending; if you closed every loophole for every person in the country you wouldnt be able to pay for this. You would either add to the debt or have to raise taxes,  please explain.

To Obama: During the last 4 years job growth has been extremely slow, GDP has been extremely weak, and there are record numbers of unemployed people. Can you please tell us what you would do during the next four years that you failed to do during the first 4 years. And please dont talk about where we started, what you inherited; our economy has been stagnant for about 2 years and you have been unable to make it grow; please explain in specifics what your plan is to tackle longterm unemployment and grow GDP.

To Romney: Throughout your campaign you have talked about repealing Obama Care; you said on 60 minutes that we already have a system in place where people can call an ambulance and go to the ER. Is that your plan or can you tell us exactly would you replace it with and what would you do with the benefits people are already starting to see while you go through the long road of trying to repeal an active bill. Why wouldnt you take the bill and try to work in a bi partisan way to make the existing bill better.

To Obama: You recently said on 60 minutes that when in the White House you spend time with your family that you arent like other politicians who work the phones. Do you think if you had worked the phone and reached out more and made more allies that there wouldnt have been such obstruction to your proposals.

To Romney: You have been very successful in business, we keep hearing about investments all over the world, tax havens and that kind of thing, with all of it being legal. Why didnt you take the opportunity to tell the American public how people of significant means can avoid paying taxes and use that tremendous megaphone to close those deductions for the most fortunate of us all.

Those are just a few examples of what the evening could have looked like. I would also like definitive analysis of the stimulus in 2009 and have Mr. Lehrer state exactly how many jobs were created from it, how many jobs were saved from it; to find out how successful it was. The American people need to hear facts; if the stimulus was effective, why not have another? If it wasnt effective, why wasnt it. Instead the debate allowed Mitt Romney to make up a whole new storyline about his tax plan. This isnt a good way for us to learn more; it might be good showmanship but thats not what we need at this point.

We had a chance with one of the most respected journalists in the Country to have a civil fact based conversation about differing views. We could have learned something, we could have learned what,  factually, they have in mind for the future. Instead we had a boring exchange of talking points. This is extremely disappointing.


7 thoughts on “Debates ** Jim Lehrer ** My Take

  1. This debate was painful to watch. But I sat through it hoping that the President would suddenly “wake up” and realize he was in a debate and come back swinging. It didn’t happen. The next morning when all of the pundits began to attack PBO I felt as if we were going to lose in November, simply because the President was not focused. But now I view the debate as a bump in the road to victory. Listening to Romney speak today at VMI reinforced my belief that he is not prepared to lead this country. The President realizes – hopefully not too late – that his performance was less than stellar and I have every hope that the next debates will show us a different side. He needs to put aside his presidential persona for those two nights and be the tough guy – don’t try to be “likeable” – we know you are. Just fight for what you want – if you want it.

  2. I think you are on target on all counts. As for Lehrer, that is how he has performed in every debate he has moderated, and I use the term moderate loosely. Lehrer never asked the questions we need answered. How are we to be informed voters with the bull they are selling. Romney showed his true colors with his total lack of respect for others, cutting off both Lehrer and the President as well. I suspect he would have interrupted an audience member if he had the chance. The President seemed to grow increasingly more disdainful toward Romney as the debate went on. Which may be the reason for his performance. Since you missed the last 30 minutes of the debate allow me to fill you in. Lehrer having had enough, jumped over his desk and suplexed Romney from the top of the podium, finishing him off with a pile driver! Okay that last part may not have happened exactly that way, but it should have.

    1. Why on earth do they let this man moderate? Out of respect or what? And it’s mind-boggling the list of the remaining moderators. I’d love to see one of the msnbc anchors grill Romney. Candy Crowley I understand leans to the right but I don’t think she’ll be a marshmallow like Lehrer. Or Soledad O’Brien. She doesn’t let any of the pundits on her program get away with any crap. So let’s see some moderators who have balls moderate.

      1. I agree completely I want to see the candidates asked tough factual questions that they must answer.

      2. Lehrer sat there and let Romney walk all over him. And when PBO took a few extra seconds Lehrer called him out. He must have woken up just in time …

  3. WOW Andrew, you came up with very good questions ~ Maybe you would be a GREAT moderator. Very on target with points well made. I absolutely agree that Jim was a terrible moderator and let the debate questions and answers repeat themselves. Bravo

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