Essentially, the two parties get 8 free hours of advertising in prime time on the big networks. Plus, there is a lot of attention after the fact. So, it makes me wonder what impact this has on the election.
For me personally, I think the debates have convinced me that neither party has a candidate with serious ideas and a guiding philosophy, so I can't vote for either of them. I really wish the moderators had done a better job of getting past each candidate's stump speech talking points and pat answers.
For an example from the most recent debate, when Schieffer asked about the deficit, each candidate gave a patently absurd response. McCain indicated he could balance the budget in 4 years and Obama said he would go over the federal budget line by line, I really wanted Schieffer to give each one an incredulous look and repeat the question and ask for a serious response (I guess he could be more diplomatic, but I can always dream ). The sad thing is that Schieffer was the best moderator.
But, I'm curious about other people--do the debates influence your vote in any way, shape or form? Or, were you undecided before and still undecided? Perhaps you liked one candidate more prior to the debates and the debates just affirmed your opinion.
The debates aren't for the 35-40% on either side but for the 20-30% who are "independent" or who haven't made up their mind. Debates really aren't so much about concrete ideas anymore (if they ever were) but about how the candidate presents him or her self. Polls re who won a debate really just mirror who they are probably going to vote for, not how the candiates really did.
The example you use re a balanced budget points out one thing to me, Mcain said what he thought people wanted to hear. He knows damn well it wont be done in 4 years. Obama's answer was a little better but he knows that he can go over every line item if he wants but politics dictate that things that aren't necessary will be included.
IMHO, the real problem is us. We don't want to hear the true, hard answers and facts that are necessary to fix things and wont vote for a pol who really tells the truth.
Example, Jimmy Carter said we needed to sacrifice, turn the thermostats down,we needed to start conserving, and times were going to be tough. He was beaten over the head as being negative, etc. He was right and we are paying for it now. I am not saying he was a good president but using him as an example.
(edited by DrDirt on 17.10.08 0909)
(edited by DrDirt on 17.10.08 0909) Perception is reality
That's my point exactly... the Bush campaign seems to be counting on its supporters not paying attention to the big picture. It seems to be counting on them being short-sighted, so they can pull some PR wool over their eyes.