Cancel the third debate

Campaign 2008

Why have a third presidential debate? I watched last night's face-off at my local Greek tapas restaurant with another of the "regulars" at the bar. (I had a gyro salad.) Oddly, in the restaurant section were several tables of St. Louis professionals enjoying amazing food and over-priced wine completely ignoring the goings-on in Nashville. I was appalled. I wanted to walk over to a few tables and say, "Don't you people care? This is the most important election of our generation! What's wrong with you?"

After about two minutes into the debate I realized why so many people opted out of watching. It was the same lame "blah, blah, blah." Both men are trying to convince us that he can single-handedly fix America. Some have argued that Barack Obama and John McCain are confused because they seem to think that by winning this election they will become like a king or chief magician for the nation. Edicts and magic spells will bring about widespread change and instantly make things better for "the middle class." Sprinkle a little magic dust on Social Security-that'll fix it!

Americans strangely have messianic visions about the office of president: "He will heal our land and make us prosperous." Too many of us have been drinking from weird Kool-Aid again.

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All of the rhetorical promises to put into effect this health-care plan or that economic plan, and so on, is hardly believable because we have an institutional cog in America called "Congress." No candidate's plan will work as described because it would never make it through Congress as proposed. When Beltway politicians get their hands on any plan it will become distorted and unrecognizable. Don't believe the hype folks.

Do people really believe the unreliable data regarding the future "revenues" both candidates promise in their various magical plans to easily fix complex problems? Are people really gullible enough to believe the fuzzy math each candidate uses to describe why the other's proposal will not work? I am wary of any candidate who says he can solve the financial crisis or restructure a health-care system for 300 million people. No one has that kind of knowledge.

I am, therefore, longing for Nov. 5 or so when we can get back to regular American news. I have no idea which remarried Hollywood couple is now divorcing again. Will O.J. Simpson go to jail for real? Paris Hilton or Britney Spears must be doing something newsworthy. Vanderbilt is undefeated. Vanderbilt? Wake Forest is the best team in the ACC. What? Where is the largest pumpkin in America? Eli Manning is proving to be the more talented of the Manning brothers. I miss this stuff.

Cancel the October 15 debate. If you are still undecided this late in the game you are not likely voting anyway.

Anthony Bradley
Anthony Bradley

Anthony is associate professor of religious studies at The King's College in New York and serves as a research fellow at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty. He is author of The Political Economy of Liberation and Black and Tired. Follow Anthony on Twitter @drantbradley.


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