Who won the Debate? Ask the PEOPLE.
September 27, 2008

Last night, I watched the debate on CNN. If you did as well, there were tracking lines at the bottom of the screen that showed how independents, republicans, and democrats were all affected by the candidate speaking. Over the night they each had their ups and downs.

You’ve been reading me and Pegleghippie for a while now, and you know that we both have a thing for Obama. Every time I imagine the prospect of an Obama administration, I get excited. Excited for the idea of economic, foreign and domestic progress. I see the restoration of the image of America and the balancing of our national checkbook. I see social justice, equal rights and opportunities, an optimized education system and national healthcare.

The debates last night highlighted a significantly different approach to foreign policy between the two candidates. We have McCain, defender of the Bush-style “Shoot first, find excuses later” fascism, with no room for diplomacy or cooperation. America is judge, jury, and executioner in this man’s eyes.  Judgement is unnecessary; run head first into the most explosive region in the world, and perform damage control when the dust settles.

And then there’s Obama, who wants to work with our allies and use tough diplomacy, reason, and lastly military action to secure the world from the nuclear threat. A consistent proponent of nuclear disarmament, and known as a damn good listener. I think he focused on the correct aspect of the war in Iraq – the lack of judgement shown by the current administration in the handling and premise of the war itself. Damage control should not be his focus. To use McCain’s own argument against him, focusing on damage control ‘legitimizes’ the current administration’s false premises and blatant lies to the American public. Very smart.

But the post-debate coverage on CNN disappointed me. The first problem with CNN is that it’s a 24-hour news cycle; they need to fill 24 hours of time with news, and it’s impossible. There just isn’t enough meaningful stuff to talk about. They have two different methods for providing ‘filler material.’ Firstly, they repeat themselves over and over, and use different people to talk about the same things. And secondly, they take the news, and rather than objectively lay it out and let people come to their own opinions, they bring in politicos, pundits, biased outside sources and have THEM lay their perspectives out, inevitably neutralizing the previous goal of objectivity.

To apply it to the debates, I thought, and the American people thought, that Obama was the clear winner. McCain did not achieve any objectives. The only worth while “Youtube Moment” of the debate was when Obama repeated and substantiated to Senator McCain that, “You were wrong.” The polls are vastly in favor of Obama but in its attempt to be objective, CNN gave equal weight to John McCain and called it a tie, which the people disagree with.

Reality is what the American people believe. That’s all that matters. A phrase I’ve heard and have enjoyed thinking about recently is, “Reality has a left-leaning biased.” I believe this is entirely true, that the window of what is in the realm of political possibility is going to turn back to the left. 

It’s not CNN’s job to tell us who won the debate. That’s our judgement, that’s our call. Stop filling your 24 hour news cycle with opinions and maybe we’ll get an intellectual president, instead of a stubborn old man, and the 5th worst graduate from the Navy Academy. That’ll be the day.