Saturday, May 12, 2012

Will Friday be ancient history by Nov. 6 for Ill. Eighth Congressional voters?

It was billed as the first debate of Election ’12 anywhere in the nation. With just under six full months to go before people cast their ballots, Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., gave Democratic nominee Tammy Duckworth a chance to confront him.
DUCKWORTH: Not the typical challenger

Which strikes me as being strange. Incumbents usually go out of their way to avoid recognizing their opposition, particularly one with as much potential strength as Duckworth.

WHY WALSH WOULD be willing to appear against her on Friday (in an event that CLTV then broadcast live to anyone with cable television) is something I don’t get.

Even if you buy into the idea that a debate between the two has to happen eventually, this is something I would have expected to occur some time in October, with the only real question being whether it would occur just before Election Day, or would there be a chance for more than one debate.

About the only possible strategy I can think of is that Walsh thinks he can “get this thing over and done with now” and hope that everybody forgets all about what was said Friday night.

We’re supposedly going to get “a debate a month” that I think creates many opportunities for gaffes – which is what modern-day political debates have really become about.

WE, THE VOTERS, hope that somebody says something stupid, so that we can justify voting against them. It strikes our lazy selves of having to seriously pay attention to what the political people have to say and where they stand on various issues and put some thought on whom to cast a ballot for!

Then again, the vast majority of people are going to cast a ballot for the candidate of the political party they want to see have a majority in Congress – which really translates into whether or not we want President Barack Obama to have a sympathetic Congress, or a hostile one, for the next four years.
WALSH: Too eager to debate?

So in watching the debate (I’m writing this commentary while the event is taking place), I couldn’t help but wonder if those of us who are bothering to view the event are taking this way too seriously.

For this is the election cycle that many people think has already dragged on too long, and that we’re dreading because we really don’t want to hear all the hostile rhetoric that is going to be spewed by both sides.

IT MAY WELL be a case of a debate occurring way too early (personally, I think early September is early enough) for people to take it seriously.

Most people, I’m sure, managed to find something better to do with themselves Friday night (although I wonder if watching “Good Times” and “Sanford and Son” on the ME-TV channels counts as something more significant).

Most viewers will learn about what happened Friday night by the 30-second clips they view on a newscast – or on the longer gaffes put on various websites by people who are eager to highlight someone’s vacuous answer to some particular partisan question.

And by Monday, many of us will have moved on (such as how did Chicago White Sox slugger Adam Dunn manage to avoid breaking the major league record for the most consecutive games in which he struck out at least once?) to some other issue.

The people who will decide this election come Nov. 6

WILL WE BE all obsessed with the way in which Walsh repeatedly tried to turn every question into a critique (“most anemic recovery,” he calls it) on the national economy? Even though it can be argued that the Republican partisan strategy meant to dump Obama IS the reason that federal officials can’t focus on measures to jump-start our nation into a significant financial recovery!

And personally, I couldn’t help but notice Walsh’s description of the “Tea Party” as being, “the silent majority in this country.” Which to my mind echoes the rhetoric of Richard M. Nixon during his ’68 presidential election bid.

Is “Tricky Dick” really the image that Walsh wants aligned with him in a district with significant Latino and Asian populations to go along with suburban white people – the reason why Duckworth is considered to be the front-runner come Nov. 6?


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