07/11/08 — No boat rocking: Debates are too watered down from candidates, advisers

View Archive

No boat rocking: Debates are too watered down from candidates, advisers

It is going to be a long season of ping pong if every time an expert identified as a presidential adviser is bounced off the campaign for saying what he or she really thinks.

And although some of what Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain’s advisory committee members say might be questionable — there is some value in hearing what they really think, before their respective candidates shut down the debate.

And hearing the renunciations and other back pedaling from both Obama and McCain reminds us that the political process has really become the race to get elected without really telling anyone what they need to hear — or by having a debate that actually fleshes out issues facing this country.

You might not agree with Geraldine Ferraro or Sen. Phil Gramm, but hearing what they think makes the rest of us think about not only what kind of country we have, but what kind of country we want.

Advisers who simply repeat what their candidates and the public want to hear instead of what they really think — are not necessarily out of touch — they are expressing opinions that differ from what might get a candidate on the winner’s stand.

Maybe it is time we took the gloves off and really did more than wait for someone to slip up and make a comment when they are in front of an open microphone or in front of a private crowd when they think no one else is listening. Maybe we should entertain the possibility that a debate with multiple opinions actually might be good for this country.

These days, the candidates spend more time rejecting their own allies than they do coming up with policies that will help this country.

If they can’t do any better than that, perhaps neither is ready to be president — without a backbone transplant.

Published in Editorials on July 11, 2008 10:40 AM