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Commentary: Democracy in the 21st century: What a joke

Alex Forbess, Editorial Director

Alex Forbess, Editorial Director

It was chaos; disgusting glorious chaos. That is pretty much what I can say about Wednesday’s general debate.

Overall, I fooled myself.

Despite all the negative, sometimes irrelevant, garbage that both parties have been throwing at each other, I believed that President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney would take those 90 minutes to present their plans for the future of this country in a nice, civil, mature manner.

But the dirty secret of politics is that maturity and civility do not mean squat.

Before I rant about how these two Ivy League intellectuals threw hissy fits about how their opponents took control of the debate time, let us all give moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS a decent congratulatory applause, since he was not prepared to control these civilized individuals.

There were times, though, I wanted to say, “Lehrer, be a man; take control.”

It was difficult to say who won the debate because both candidates played typical roles seen not just from four years ago but from most debates that have been televised.

On one side, there is Romney: a well-groomed, flip-flopping puppet controlled by the far right who was on a mission to go on the offensive with charges that Obama will make radical changes such as dismantling our national defense.

Newsflash: Defense spending has increased from $718 billion in 2011 to $729 billion in 2012 according to the Office of Management and Budget.

Even though Obama said he will make sure to transfer money from defense to education, somehow it does not see that way with the facts.

In the opposite corner, there is Obama: playing the defense card like a true Democrat, reminding the 50 million viewers watching that times have been tough and he inherited an economy that was already $1 trillion in debt and added the Great Depression about three times in the debate.

Obama, we get it: George W. Bush was awful. I know it, we know it and even Romney knows it. Why do you think he gave the occasional smirk and looked down at his podium? Because you thought he was intimidated by your superb presentation skills?

Congratulations Obama, by the way, for managing to not stutter in the middle of speech. Let us not only congratulate him for the speaking skills he learned from Sen. John Kerry prior to the debate – How was he defeated by Bush? – but I believe he was more mature out of the two infants.

Reason: He threw the less garbage at his opponent.

Thank you again, Romney, for showing the United States that your plan of what to replace Obamacare after you are elected remains a mystery.

Even though you admit, finally, that Romneycare is one of your greatest achievements as governor of Massachusetts and plan to implement some of those laws into your private-voucher monstrosity, Obamacare and Romneycare are still the same freaking bill.

There was a moment when Romney was criticizing Obama about his energy policy, blaming him for rising gas prices.

Newsflash: Despite the various taxes that have been enacted, both state and federal, no president has control over the increase and decrease in gas prices.

With regard to promoting domestic oil, Obama has done a great job decreasing oil imports to 45 percent in 2011, much lower from 2005 where oil imports were 60 percent according to the Energy Information Administration – Obama, you spineless, heart-warming American.

Somewhere through the mess of the debate, Romney plugged in how China is considered a threat and the United States needs to crack down on this Communist country.

Newsflash: The U.S. government owes about $1.2 trillion in debt to China according to U.S. News and World Report. It is hard to say that we need to “crack down” when China is making a simple request – give us back our money.

The only memorable moment in that debate was when Romney basically slapped Lehrer and PBS in the face, talking about taking government subsidies away from said organization to decrease the deficit.

I do not care about your tax returns, I do not care about outstanding work ethic at Bain Capital; you do not threaten Big Bird. If Romney plans to promote education, eliminating one of the most influential educational figures in the country is not one of them. Especially when funding for PBS accounts for less than 1 percent of the Federal budget.

I assumed viewers wanted a mature conversation but with the instant polls suggesting that Romney won, it hit me. People do not want a civil, mature person in office; they just wanted to be entertained and be reminded that whoever wins the election, it will still be the same person throwing garbage and the public will be the ones to clean it up, again.

Alex Forbess, a senior journalism major, is editorial director for the Campus Times. He can be reached by email at

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