Saturday, September 11, 2004

Issues, Issues, Where are the Issues?

This years presidential campaign has to be the worst I've seen. There could be so many important issues to discuss by the candidates and all we get are personal attacks and sound bite rhetoric. The last month or so has been dominated by Viet Nam era events of George Bush and John Kerry. Whether it is questions about what happened on a swift boat in Viet Nam (Kerry) or what was Alabama all about (Bush) or whether Kerry was in Cambodia or was Bush given a free pass into the National Guard, it is all long ago flotsam and jetsam.

The media loves this stuff. Why? Because it provides partisan bickering. The media loves a good gossipy fight. It's classic he said, he said and let's parse every piece of evidence to see who wins. But the media doesn't even care if there is a winner, it is the catfighting they love. As long as both candidates end up with cat scratches, the media has done what it wanted to do which is cover the presidential race in a way that might up rating points. And then they poll us relentlessly to be able to have a measure of the horserace. The poll results become the story between the gossip, to see which cat scratched the best.

Doing a good point/counterpoint debate on many issues is just too boring in the eyes (or rather camera lens) of the media. What it should be doing is informing us on important things that affect our country and how the candidates will address those issues. Maybe the media is waiting for the debates. The media might finally concentrate on issues, but I doubt it. The media will once again ignore the interests of the country and spend most of the time analysing who won the debate, who looked better and more relaxed, who bumbled their lines, and wait, here come the polls again.

William Rivers Pitt gives this list of things (not a complete list in my mind) we need to discuss about the Bush Administration. Remember this election is to decide if the incumbent deserves to keep his job. The voters are in the role of management deciding whether to keep an employee or to fire him and hire a new one.

*Millions of jobs lost in the last four years;
* Unbearably expensive health care;
* A total loss of confidence within the international community in our moral leadership;
* The underfunded farce that is the Department of Homeland Security;
* The underfunded farce that is the No Child Left Behind bill;
* The fact that military assault weapons will soon be making a perfectly legal return to a neighborhood near you;
* The deeply illegal outing of a deep-cover CIA agent by Bush administration officials, who did it because they wanted to silence a critic;
* The rape and torture of men, women and children in the Abu Ghraib prison, horrors that were sanctioned in writing by Bush's own lawyer and the Secretary of Defense;
* The allegation by Senator Bob Graham of Florida that Bush torpedoed any aspect of the 9/11 investigation that came within spitting distance of his friends in the Saudi royal family;
* The allegations by several generals that Bush's people started stripping necessary troops and resources from Afghanistan to bolster their ill-conceived charge into Iraq;
* The myriad accusations by a dozen insiders that Bush and his people ignored the terror threat until the Towers fell, and then used the attacks to scare the American people into an unnecessary war in Iraq and a mammoth payday for their friends in the weapons and oil business;
* The fact that no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq;
* The fact that no connections between Hussein, bin Laden and 9/11 have been established beyond the bloviating hyperbole of a few senior Bush officials who haven't yet gotten the memo;
* Does anyone even remember Enron?

And the media has been concentrating on swift boats and Alabama with the above pile of questions? As a voter I've already completed my performance review on George W. Bush and I have to conclude that he should be pink slipped. As well, I dearly would like to pink slip the media. I want to fire the whole lot of them. The corporate media has presented an election of gossip and innuendo, rather than issues and policies.

Complete column of William Rivers Pitts...


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