You may or may not have seen the Presidential Debates this weekend. It was shown on ABC Saturday night and again on CNN Sunday night. The debates were really something special. Both parties debated with the Republicans first and the Democrats second. Within each of the two debates they were separated into a conversation component and a traditional debate format component. In the first component, a topic or question was offered by the moderator and the candidates were allowed to discuss it and offer their viewpoints or responses without time restraints. But one exceptional aspect of these debates was that in between the debates of each party, all of the candidates from both parties met on stage and greeted each other. The US has been so polarized over recent years that it has been so refreshing over the past few days to see something like this along with candidates like both Obama and Huckabee embracing the idea of a united nation. I can only hope this direction continues.

But there was another aspect that really expanded my mind about all of this. To hear so many different avenues of possible stances or solutions regarding the topics of our day. There weren’t just two (or three) like there will be in November. In full disclosure I was raised by a liberal democrat and a conservative libertarian. So on one side (or at times) I feel the government should be sure everyone is taken care of, while on another side (or at other times) I feel this is a sink or swim world and it’s your responsibility to pick yourself up and do what needs to get done to provide to yourself. So I found the ideas proposed by the many candidates of both parties to be very interesting. Though it wasn’t too difficult for both sides to sound great after the policies of the past six years. Yes, even the Republicans sounded reasonable addressing both healthcare and foreign policy after what we’ve endured. One big difference between them and their predecessor is that there is still the opportunity to trust them. I can’t say that there is any action taken by the current administration that I’m not left wondering if they are truly doing it for the good of the county or their own self-interests. But these candidates offered so many different ideologies and solutions to different problems that my mind was swimming with all the different possibilities. It was so fascinating. And I really feel that is something that’s really a strength of the United States. It is the balance between liberal and conservative policies. Each has their strengths, but they are even more powerful when you can balance the strengths of each.

As for each candidate in the debates, I saw something positive in the Republican candidates. Many of them had interesting foreign policy opinions along with their healthcare proposals. Now, I still have difficulty with the GOP’s connection with big business and how it ties into both issues, but their rhetoric was interesting.

On the Democratic side, I was able to watch the whole debate. Richardson impressed me with his experience, but sometimes his viewpoints like how he would “deal” with Pakistan were a bit unsettling for someone hoping to lead the country. He also lacked the ability to engage interest like the other candidates. I really like the conviction and the standpoint of Edwards, but you wonder how far he could go with it. Clinton also impressed me with her experience and her standpoint that she has delivered on change. But I’m still in the Obama camp. He also held much of the conviction of Edwards, but even though he lacked the long history of the experience of his fellow candidates, his viewpoints and expressiveness was so well reasoned. He had idealism with a realistic approach. And that is something that I feel he will bring to the leadership of the country.

As I’ve said before, it will be very interesting to see where this goes and how it plays out. It seems that there are more candidates than there have been in the past and everyone seems to be playing fairly nice. I just have a sense that there is more sportsmanship this time around. Fewer attempts to make the competitor look like a bad guy. Just candidates offering what they feel should be the direction the country should take. That’s really the way it should be and lets hope it can stay that way.


~ by Frank on January 7, 2008.

4 Responses to “Debates”

  1. I did catch part of it and I’m still liking Obama a lot. Interestingly, I tried this thing and I’m spot on Obama:

    As an aside, I don’t want to sound pessimistic but every time I see him talk I fear for his safety. I hope everything turns out OK.

  2. Polarized?
    Was there ever a time in the US went there wasn’t polarization?

    Does any nation’s foreign policy (as a whole) stem from anything other than self-interest — in the overt as well as the covert methods?

    Who benefits from the American military industrial complex?

  3. typo: “went” should be “when”


  4. Bruno: Are you sure you’re not confusing him with Candidate/President David Palmer in 24? I keep thinking of him while watching the series. The other person he resembles is JFK with his positive empowerment message. Another reason to be concerned.

    Mrne: No, polarization has always been there, but it has been at it’s highest levels over the past years. And opposing opinions are good since they keep each other in check. But I think the extreme polarization we have seen has prevented any dialogue between the two sides. That needs to be resolved.

    It raises a good question as to whether the US should be the policemen of the world due to their military power. And what would the world be like with a reduced US military? What would the US be like with all that money saved from the reduction in military spending?

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