As a country, we all sat together last night waiting for what was to come in the debates yesterday evening. Surely, it would be a good show, considering how salacious election related headlines have been. We waited for gaffes and a few zingers–oh my! Or maybe talk of the 47%?! Or for Obama to finally call Romney out for his lying habit and his penchant for protecting the interests of the super rich.
Unfortunately, most of the debate was pretty boring. The issues that many of us really wanted to hear positions on went unanswered–what’s going on with immigration reform? Reproductive rights? Equal pay? Same-sex marriage? The issues that matter to us seemed hauntingly absent.
Obama seemed shaky, but his answers to questions about job creation and the economy made sense. (When I wasn’t falling asleep from the worn out tone of his voice.)
Romney, who started out strong (and had clearly drank a lot of coffee), began to fumble as his lies unfolded. He made claims that he had never made before–about not giving rich people tax cuts, about Massachusett’s health care and corporate accountability. He re-confirmed earlier suspicions repeating terms like “foodstamps” and other jabs about old people that shouldn’t get so much “assistance from the government.” #medicare And to make it worst–he wants to kill Big Bird.
But, if you were to grade the debate on pure presentation, not content, Romney appeared more together and authoritative (interrupting the clearly out-to-lunch Lehrer multiple times) and to undecided voters, that might mean something. Most likely, it won’t mean enough.
Despite Obama’s sleepy and unenthusiastic delivery, the facts are on his side.
But what I left the debate thinking about was not who won, but what else is needed to really win. How do we rebuild a progressive narrative and agenda that actually addresses the big issues facing our generation? The war on reproductive rights, the ridiculous amounts of student debt we carry, the lack of jobs, the foreclosure rate, military spending, the prison industrial complex, immigration reform or the absurd ways that billionaires buy elections! We have so much to worry about, now and hopefully after, Obama is back in office–so we can hold him accountable to an agenda that speaks to those of us that silently support him despite our tremendous distrust and frustration with the content of the debate and direction of the policy in this country.
And for goodness sake–let’s keep Big Bird alive.