Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tag Team Character Assasination

My quickly dashed off thoughts about the Democratic debate on ABC.

We should launch an investigation looking for links to RWNJ swift boaters who must have brainwashed George Stephanopolous and Charlie Gibson to relentlessly question Obama's credibility based on such things as his not wearing a flag lapel pin and his sitting on the same board with a 1960s radical.

They really were digging for skeletons in the closet. Maybe they just didn't want to be accused of giving him a free pass on SNL. I was ready for them to ask him if he isn't really a secret Muslim.

They also tried to entrap both candidates on tax issues by getting the candidates to pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class, which by some amazing stretch just became people making less than $250,000 a year. Excuse me, but what freaking planet do these folks live on? Then they questioned the candidates' openness to raising the ridiculously low 15% capital gains tax which has helped to usher in a second Gilded Age (that's not a good thing, folks, if you care about massive gaps in income inequality not seen since the 1920s and stagnant wages for average Americans) and said that would affect middle class taxpayers. So then George and Charlie grilled the candidates on going back on the pledge the moderators just extracted from them because the capital gains tax impacts the middle class as well as the wealthy. Is this a debate or do they have them on the witness stand?

I know it must be fun to try to insert yourself into the story, but we could have used more moderating and a little less attack dog journalism last night.

I got so angry watching that so-called debate, which didn't even have a question about an actual issue until about 50 minutes in, that I had to shut it off and go for a run.

Maybe I've become a little too personally invested in this. I didn't like seeing my candidate, the probable Democratic nominee, on the defensive. But I was also embarrassed for our democracy by the ridiculous display by the moderators on ABC last night.

Update: See Tom Shales' analysis of ABC's performance last night. We miss you, Peter Jennings.

Update 2: Apparently the blogosphere is abuzz about how poorly this debate was conducted. Good to know I'm not alone.

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