Political Debates: Comedy or Educational?

BY NICK IRONSIDE // MARCH 22, 2012 //

After Mitt Romney’s Republican primary victory in Illinois on Tuesday night, the former Massachusetts governor is now hoping to dismantle President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential race.

There won’t be many Republican debates left, for better or for worse. In fact, a March 19 debate was canceled due to a lack of candidates’ participation, according to a Boston.com report.

The Republican candidacy might well be locked up in Romney’s favor fairly soon, indicating the next debates on FOX or CNN will be between Romney and Obama. But the Kansas State Collegian, the Kansas State University student paper, ran an article last November that was fairly interesting. With tongue in cheek, it gave a number of positive reasons to watch the Republican presidential debates.

Presidential debate at Saint Anselm College during the New Hampshire primary, June 2007 // PHOTO BY ERICCI8996

The piece pokes fun at the way the 2012 GOP debates went. In the “10 good reasons for students to watch Republican debates” article, it turns out that politics can pose a threat to the number of viewers for popular shows like “Jersey Shore.”

In all seriousness, should students watch debates because they’re as bad as good reality TV shows? (Someone copy Rep. Michele Bachmann on this.) Or is there the opportunity to actually learn something meaningful, more than being enlightened by Newt Gingrich on how many Americans it will take to petition for the moon to become a state?

While there are many ways to poke and prod fun of people running for the job of president of the United States, there’s also the opportunity to learn. After all, whether you like it or not, one of the people debating this October will be your next president.

More likely than not, one of them will change your life – economically, in terms of employment, geographically – and you might not like it. So, why not take the time to learn about the three* people left (*Rick Santorum is included, for now), who might be the next commander-in-chief?

When November 2012 rolls around and it is time to vote, keep in mind what’s important to you as an individual. Vote for whoever agrees with your views/needs more!

There is a lot to learn from debates, but there’s more to politicians barking at each other than what Kansas State’s student newspaper wrote about. Yes, it’s fun to make fun of people on television. But when one of them will be affecting your life, it’s a little more important to pay attention instead of using a candidate’s comments for a drinking game.

Comments

  1. Good post, Nick. I tend (having grown up in the middle of Georgia politics) to be incredibly cynical when watching political debates. And, having spend a fair amount of my professional years helping clients/bosses formulate message points and messages, I find myself visualizing the hours/days of prepping that goes on prior to each debate making sure that we were ready with a response to as many of the potential points that would be raised as possible. Kind of takes the “fun” out of the game knowing how the sausage is made!

    That being said, I think it is valuable to pay attention at least some of the time to what the candidates are saying/promising. It truly is, as you so clearly say, a matter of who appears to be capable of meeting “your vies/needs more.”

    In spite of what the MIT professor claims…that “ignorance is bliss” (http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2012/03/19/in-times-of-crisis-ignorance-is-bliss/?grcc=12d08cf8146646b21e33ea578810b051Z10&mod=WSJ_hps_sections_business)…an informed public is an intelligent public.

    Take the debates with a giant grain of salt…but pay attention! It’s YOUR future!!

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