The Last Debate…Or Was it?

Tim Bean



As we all know, last night was the third and final “official” Presidential debate in this election year.  Yesterday I wrote how I didn’t think, or expect a knockout blow by either of the two candidates invited to this debate, and I think I was right in my prediction.  I also declared that I didn’t think any new or illuminating ideas would be brought up on the subject of America’s foreign policy – which was the subject of this debate.  I think I was pretty spot on in that declaration too.

Not surprisingly it was a testy debate, though I think it was more civil than the one that was held last week.  Mitt Romney did a fairly good job deflecting President Obama’s attacks on him, saying that such attacks don’t equate to actual policy; which is quite true.  Conversely, I think President Obama did a fairly good job addressing Mitt Romney’s desire to increase the number of ships in our navy, saying that there are these things called aircraft carriers, and ships that go underwater called submarines, which was a rather humorous way of saying that because of those ships, it isn’t necessary to have as many ships in our navy as we had in 1917.  That was the date Mitt Romney brought up to illustrate how few ships we currently have.  Um, Mitt, in 1917 there was this little thing going on called World War I, and also ships were smaller and less capable than they are today, as the President alluded too.

The thing that I think was most interesting is how both Mr. Romney and the President agreed on so many policies when it comes to America’s role and actions in the world.  Take for example their agreement in handling Iran.  Both candidates said basically the same thing(s) – sanctions, sanctions, and more sanctions; and neither candidate endorses a military option as anything but a last resort.  I agree with them on their stances there, I am tired and fearful of hurling our military in conflict after conflict, and I believe a military strike against Iran would have the potential of blowing up into a larger conflict that would further destabilize the Middle East, if not the world.  Both agreed on the continued use of drone strikes, even in violation of a sovereign nation’s airspace (right now it is Pakistan’s airspace) and that country’s objections to such strikes.  When it came to the China question, I don’t really think either candidate really illustrated how they are too different either.  Both take a stern stance on that country’s trade, currency and respect for intellectual property policies, and both declared how they wish to make trade laws that work for the United States.  In my opinion all this agreement only reinforces my belief that Mitt Romney and President Obama, as well as their respective parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, are essentially the same when it comes to the big issues facing our country – despite all of the rhetoric that flows forth from them.

Okay, so who would I give the “winning” nod too?  Well, yesterday I said that I presumed that President Obama would win the debate, simply because of him being President; and when filtering through all of the ancillary tangents that both candidates went off on that only had a vague relationship to foreign policy, I would give the President a slight edge.  The reason why it is only a slight edge is simply because of how there was so much agreement between them, and if Mitt is going to agree with close to, if not all, of the current administration’s foreign policy, then he (Mitt) basically conceded the debate by default.  Another reason why I do not grant a knockout blow to the President is because I didn’t hear anything concrete or different with regards to foreign policy.  The debate was full of vagaries, and obfuscation as I expected, and the President didn’t really sway me to whole heartedly jump on board the status quo express.  Do not confuse my acknowledgement and recognition of who I believe the winner as any sort of endorsement for them and their policies.  I am simply relaying my thoughts on what I saw, given the two people invited.  Frankly I do not subscribe to the vast majority of the politics and policies of either of these two candidates.

For those who are interested in actually watching a debate that will surely have wide and disparate views on a great many issues, The Free and Equal Elections Foundation; which is an actual nonpartisan organization, unlike the Commission on Presidential Debates; will host a debate of many so called “third party” Presidential candidates, and Larry King will be the moderator.  The candidates invited will be Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode, Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson, and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.  Initially this debate was only going to be streamed live on the internet via Ora TV, however C-Span has agreed to, and will be broadcasting this debate live.  The debate starts at 9 pm EST/6 pm PST, and while I know that the vast majority of you have already made up your minds as to who you are going to cast your vote for this election, I urge everyone to watch this debate too; if for no other reason than to learn and hear what these candidates’ positions are on the issues, and how their stances may, or may not differ from the Republicans and Democrats positions.  You can’t be fully informed if you are only fed a limited amount of information.


A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce, or a tragedy, or perhaps both.  (James Madison)

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