Can I get a presidential debate rebate?

John McCain and Barack Obama faced each other in the second of three presidential debates Tuesday in Nashville, TN. Courtesy Mark Abraham

John McCain and Barack Obama faced each other in the second of three presidential debates Tuesday in Nashville, TN. Courtesy Mark Abraham

I want a rebate from last night’s presidential debates.

Not money.  Substance.

John McCain and Barack Obama had little new to say that wasn’t said in PD1 (Presidential debate 1) or on the campaign trail.

There were a few new comments:

  • Both candidates talked more specifically about what they would do to counter insurgent terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • John McCain and Barack Obama each laid out interesting and opposing logic for what each would do regarding U.S. foreign policy on Iraq and Iran if they become president.
  • Each reserved the right to deploy the U.S. military, independent of the United Nations, should Israel be attacked by Iran.

It was a disappointment not to see the candidates talk more specifically about America’s current economic crisis. I believe American voters deserve more than that.

I also wanted to hear more specifics about:

  • What action the candidates would take to shore up the U.S. economy and restore investor confidence in a stock market that has lost trillions of dollars in value over the past two months.
  • How the candidates would rein in rising health care costs. I believe we need government health care regulation on a minimal level to assure fair and adequate health care for all Americans.
  • How John McCain would the bring our troops home as victors from Iraq.  Polls, including one conducted for the U.S. State Department,  have shown a large majority of the Iraqi people detest our troop presence in their country.  The latest CNN poll indicates 65 percent of Americans oppose the war in Iraq.  A majority of citizens across the world ( 67 percent ) think US-led forces should leave Iraq within a year, according to a BBC World Service poll of 23,000 people across 22 countries. Just one in four (23%) think foreign troops should remain in Iraq until security improves. I believe the cost of this war in lives, capital expenditures and credibility have damaged this nation.
  • What both candidates would do to stop the rising tide of insurgent terrorism caused by Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
  • How Barack Obama would honorably withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.
  • More specifics from both candidates regarding their plans to develop alternative energy so our country won’t have to rely on foreign exports of oil.
  • More specifics on the so-called job creation both candidate claim alternative energy research and production would bring to America.

I heard nothing about campaign finance reform. Not that I expect to in this election. Many politicians have been co-opted by lobbyists whose interests are not aligned with the  interests of most Americans or in the best interests of this nation.

Over the years, McCain and Obama have each returned campaign donations tied to corruption. Obama gave to charity $159,000 that was tied to convicted Chicago real estate developer Antoin “Tony” Rezko. In the early 1990s, McCain returned $112,000 from Charles Keating, a central figure in the savings-and-loan crisis, after a Senate ethics inquiry.

Congress, I believe, will never pass any form of substantive campaign finance reform. I favor a nationwide petition drive that would secure enough signatures to force a national referendum on campaign finance reform and thus bypass Congress.

What about government corruption as a debate topic: Some politicians have been convicted of corruption in office. Others are currently awaiting trial.

In Sarah Palin’s state of Alaska, executives from the VECO Corporation oil service company are at the center of the Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, trial that is currently underway in Washington.

Federal prosecutors say Stevens lied on his financial disclosure forms about more than $250,000 in home renovations and other gifts he received from VECO.

In Alaska, the Associated Press reports the government has leveled more serious charges: That VECO and its bosses tried to corrupt lawmakers by plying them with money or gifts in exchange for their votes.

Maybe we’ll get that substantive detail rebate in the final presidential debate next Wednesday in Hempstead NY.

I’m hoping, but I’m not holding my breath.

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About Bernard McCoy

My views are my own and not a reflection of my employer. I'm a professor of Journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I've also been a working journalist for the past 29 years. I have covered news stories in war zones, reported on human and natural disasters, presidential conventions, a presidential inauguration and the September 11th, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. My career experiences include work as an award-winning documentary producer, television news reporter, photographer, producer, and anchor. I worked at WIBW-TV, Topeka, KS., KCTV, Kansas City, MO, WKBD-TV, Detroit, MI., WILX-TV, Lansing, MI. and WBNS-TV, Columbus, OH. I have also worked as a contributing reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, Associated Press, CBS, CNN, the Ohio News Network and lecture at the Kosovo Institute of Journalism and Communications. I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in telecommunications management from Michigan State University.
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One Response to Can I get a presidential debate rebate?

  1. movie fan says:

    The candidates have a major difference in their leadership styles: McCain tends to say, “Follow me because the other guy can’t get it done” while Obama says, “Follow me because I can get it done.” Ideally, the candidates should say, “Follow me because i will help you get it done” … in any case, of the two of them Obama demonstrates a better leadership mentality

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