Before the Presidential debate last Wednesday, I had jokingly commented on another blog that my husband and I might do a drinking game during it.  We could take a shot every time someone lied – and that we’d probably be drunk within ten minutes.  If we’d opened a bottle of vodka instead of eating ice-cream, I might still be hung over.

Image: Donkey Hotey / Flickr

Not to be too petty … ah hell … why not?  When the President began his response to the first question, he said that he had many important points to make – but that none was more important than giving a shout-out to his “Sweetie,” Michelle.  He then went on for a long bit about her and their anniversary.  My first thought as I groaned aloud was, “Come on!  Give me a break!  You really need to do this in front of 60 million people?  Could you get any faker?”  And then, the democratic-socialist-liberal that I am thought about the people out there watching – unemployed, foreclosed upon, sick without health insurance, crushed and ruined by student loan debt – and I thought, “There really is nothing else more important than your proclamations of love for your wife?  You can’t keep that between the two of you and focus first on the business of the people?”  Well…I said it was petty of me.  Actually though, as it turned out, that was probably the most vigorous thing he said all night.

Anyway, after this wet dishrag of a debate, I read tons of blogs, newspapers and other articles that dissected the candidates, their demeanors and proposals.  People spoke of Mitzy’s energy and dynamic passion.  To my mind, that might have played better if it had been modulated.  What I saw instead was an unrelenting manic romp.  He looked and behaved like someone wrenched off his bipolar meds.  And then when he came up for air – he stood there gazing at Obama with this weird, half-crazed grin.  It wasn’t even a grin exactly – more a kind of death rictus.  This is what people found presidential and self-possessed?

The main thing that stood out to me though – and that only a few people wrote about – was that although Mitzy lied like it was going out of style, Obama couldn’t really counter any of  his attacks because their policies were basically the same.  They both love corporations, big business and Wall Street.  Obama even admitted they agreed on Social Security cuts.  They both can’t wait to sign more trade deals, like NAFTA.  As for the environment, I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard Obama mention that lovely phrase, “clean coal.”  And naturally, Romney wants to rip the landscape apart digging for more of that pristine energy source.

Obama and Mitts want to implement the suggestions in Simpson-Bowles – which includes closing tax deductions for mortgage and student loan interest as well as raising the retirement age for Medicare.  Obama’s plans for the future are little more than tweaks to a deeply entrenched system that looks out for multi-national corporations and the money-changers, not for the poor or working stiffs.  The differences in their beliefs, plans and priorities are little more than table crumbs.

Romney did let some truth slip in every now and then.  He bragged about his desire to cut out whole swaths of government jobs – but Obama has done the same thing.  Plus, he already froze the pay of government janitors, secretaries and such.  Neither of them are particularly concerned about the fact that these folks are actually people, with bills and families to support and lives to live.  Nope…they’re history.  Go get a job in the private sector for eight dollars an hour.

So, what the hell was Obama going to fight back with?  A populist viewpoint that he doesn’t even hold?  I think not.  And since Mitts was stealing all the populist lines in his bewildering lie-a-thon, Obama had nowhere to go really.

And that’s all I’ve got, as Big Bird has been covered enough.  I don’t know if I can stomach another one of these debates.  The whole thing is such a sad, depressing, idiotic charade.  Who’s ahead?  Who’s down in the polls?  Who spins the best lie?  Who can best convince a gullible public to vote for him, only to be sold down the river?  Who manipulates the voters with the most finesse and style?  Honestly, it gives new meaning to Charlie Sheen and “Winning!”

Kate Flannery

Kate Flannery