Oh My God, Barack Obama Wanted Dijon Mustard On Burger! America’s Extremely Stupid Politics

Can you hear Europe laughing at us.  Especially after the farce that pretended to be a Democratic candidate’s debate on ABC.  Our political culture is off track and slipping fast.  Time has perhaps the best read on the matter.

In The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama tells an amusing story about his first tour through downstate Illinois, when he had the audacity to order Dijon mustard on his cheeseburger at a TGI Friday’s. His political aide hastily informed the waitress that Obama didn’t want Dijon at all, and thrust a yellow bottle of ordinary-American heartland-values mustard at him instead. The perplexed waitress informed Obama that she had Dijon if he wanted. He smiled and said thanks. “As the waitress walked away, I leaned over and whispered that I didn’t think there were any photographers around,” Obama recalled.

Obama’s memoir dripped with contempt for modern gotcha politics, for a campaign culture obsessed with substantively irrelevant but supposedly symbolic gaffes like John Kerry ordering Swiss cheese or Al Gore sighing or George H.W. Bush checking his watch or Michael Dukakis looking dorky in a tank. “What’s troubling is the gap between the magnitude of our challenges and the smallness of our politics—the ease with which we are distracted by the petty and trivial,” he wrote.

Read the rest here.

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ABC News Failed To Educate And Inform During Democratic Debate

 

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ABC News Demonstrates How NOT To Run A Democratic Candidates Debate

I was busy last night so I taped the Democratic debate and watched it this morning.  Sad and perplexing are the two words that come to mind. 

I am 45 and have followed politics since 1976.  I have watched the debates and analysis over the years and have never witnessed such a poorly run and executed debate by a major news organization.  After I had finished watching I turned to the media writers online from the major papers and found the criticism of ABC to be withering.  And rightfully so.

The Washington Post stated it accurately.

For the first 52 minutes of the two-hour, commercial-crammed show, Gibson and Stephanopoulos dwelled entirely on specious and gossipy trivia that already has been hashed and rehashed, in the hope of getting the candidates to claw at one another over disputes that are no longer news. Some were barely news to begin with.

The fact is, cable networks CNN and MSNBC both did better jobs with earlier candidate debates. Also, neither of those cable networks, if memory serves, rushed to a commercial break just five minutes into the proceedings, after giving each candidate a tiny, token moment to make an opening statement. Cable news is indeed taking over from network news, and merely by being competent.

Gibson sat there peering down at the candidates over glasses perched on the end of his nose, looking prosecutorial and at times portraying himself as a spokesman for the working class. Blunderingly he addressed an early question, about whether each would be willing to serve as the other’s running mate, “to both of you,” which is simple ineptitude or bad manners. It was his job to indicate which candidate should answer first. When, understandably, both waited politely for the other to talk, Gibson said snidely, “Don’t all speak at once.”

For that matter, the running-mate question that Gibson made such a big deal over was decidedly not a big deal — especially since Wolf Blitzer asked it during a previous debate televised and produced by CNN.

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To this observer, ABC’s coverage seemed slanted against Obama. The director cut several times to reaction shots of such Clinton supporters as her daughter, Chelsea, who sat in the audience at the Kimmel Theater in Philly’s National Constitution Center. Obama supporters did not get equal screen time, giving the impression that there weren’t any in the hall. The director also clumsily chose to pan the audience at the very start of the debate, when the candidates made their opening statements, so Obama and Clinton were barely seen before the first commercial break.

At the end, Gibson pompously thanked the candidates — or was he really patting himself on the back? — for “what I think has been a fascinating debate.” He’s entitled to his opinion, but the most fascinating aspect was waiting to see how low he and Stephanopoulos would go, and then being appalled at the answer.

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