Three wishes after last night’s wretched “debate.”
First, let the candidates talk to each other and see who can sustain a train of thought. Enough of sound bites and counter-punches.
Second, get the conversation onto the economic crisis that we’re in. Where did it come from? Why is the dollar so weak? Why don’t Americans save and invest? How can we resolve our debt problems without massive inflation? Can the American Dream be successfully pursued by future generations even if the US is no longer that largest economy in the world? Let’s have some straight talk on those issues, issues on which our future does depend.
Third, let Barack Obama, with a justified note of irritation, reject further discussion of Rev. Wright and the flag lapel. These are not issues, but only distractions. He should say: “The freedom to express oneself is the bedrock of our democracy. You have a right to say what you feel, even if sometimes you use inappropriate words or offensive words. Sometimes, people go to rhetorical excess out of bitterness, frustration and anger. We should try to understand why they say what they do and not stop listening if they cause offense. I don’t want to surround myself with people who agree with me; that’s how the Bush administration bumbled its way into a war that should never have happened.”
“And don’t tell me that it is unpatriotic to criticize your country. If you truly love it, if you want it to be the best that it can be, you have a patriotic duty to criticize and to challenge, even at the risk of offending some. That’s the kind of country I want to lead and that’s how I intend to lead it.”