The Third Party Debate Was Actually Worth Watching

Tim Bean



Rocky Anderson, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Virgil Goode

Yesterday I wrote about the third and final “official” Presidential debate, which I did for all of the previous “official” debates.  While some might say that my views were biased, which is fair, I can take that; I have said many times that it is nearly impossible to divorce personal biases from everything we do; simply because we carry our biases with us wherever we go.  That being said, I tried in each of my writings about those “official” debates to be as objective as possible in my analysis, and opinions regarding which candidate I thought won said debates.  The first debate I thought Romney won – as did most everyone, from both the right and the left leaning media.  The Vice Presidential debate I thought was essentially a draw; though some place the crown on Biden, while others gave the nod to Ryan.  The second Presidential debate I also thought was a draw, though I stated if someone held my feet to the fire I’d begrudgingly and unenthusiastically give a slight edge to Romney; many others gave the nod to Obama.  In the third and final of the officially sanctioned debates I both presumed President Obama would win before the debate, and following the debate I still gave the nod to the President.

This brings me to the unofficial debate that was aired last night on C-Span and Ora TV, sponsored by the non-partisan and not for profit Free and Equal Foundation, and moderated by broadcasting legend Larry King.  This debate played host to four Third Party Presidential candidates, those being Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode, and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.  Three of those candidates are former members of, and held political offices under the banners of either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party – Virgil Goode did so under both.  My point there is to illustrate that these are not a bunch of amateur hour candidates; and for whatever reason or another they became disillusioned with the big two political parties and wish to actually try and affect change in our country’s political discourse, and governance.  Of course we all know that it is nearly impossible that any of these candidates will win come Election Day on November 6th; but that shouldn’t mean that they don’t have something to say and issues to discuss that the American people should hear.

Sadly though none of these candidates were invited to those illustrious “official” debates, and little to no media attention has been granted to these candidates too; so they have a very difficult time in actually getting their messages out there.  Originally this debate was only going to be streamed online via Ora TV, but eventually C-Span decided to air it; that was the only domestic television station that did so.  What is interesting though is that both Al Jazeera America and Russia Today decided that they too were going to broadcast this debate; I’ll let you come to your own conclusions and opinions on that.

The reaction(s) by those who actually took the time to watch this debate was largely popular and much praise was given to all of the candidates and their being candid in their responses; unlike the big two candidates who again obfuscate all of their responses through wranglers, public relations mouth pieces, and rhetoric.  The only real complaints that I saw was by those who complained about the low budget nature of this debate, which I admit, there was a definite high school musical (not the movie) production quality of the event.  Though when you consider that this debate wasn’t loaded with corporate sponsors and their deep pockets, and as such was produced on the donations from everyday people, then I would say it was carried out rather well.  I would also say to those who wish to complain about the production values of this debate missed the point of it.  It was meant to give these other candidates a platform to share their views; its intent was not to recreate the set of American Idol.

So, what were my thoughts on the debate?  Quite honestly I thought all of the candidates on stage acquitted themselves very well.  The biggest surprise for me was Rocky Anderson, while I didn’t agree with everything that he said, I thought he came across very, very well.  I thought Virgil Goode’s blatant and pointed honesty was a breath of fresh air coming from a politician, and when considering that the big two candidates tip toe around honesty.  I thought Gary Johnson had some very, good points and humorous quips; and I thought Jill Stein was effective in delivering what her ideas and goals would be, should she become President (though I didn’t agree with everything she said either).

What was most striking to me was how engaging this debate was from the point of being a viewer.  I actually enjoyed watching this debate, unlike the “official” debates which always felt like doing homework – you don’t really want to watch it, but feel you have too.  Before I knew it this debate was over and I found myself wanting to hear more from ALL of these candidates; even the ones whose positions I don’t fully agree with.  Below is the video of this debate, and I encourage everyone to watch it, and even share it with others.  I know even if everyone does so it more than likely will not get any of these candidates elected, but I believe that simply hearing other voices in our politics can get many people to think beyond the only two colors we are told exist on America’s political color wheel.  There will be another debate that will be held between the two candidates in this debate that achieve the highest number of votes on Free and Equal’s website.  That debate will be held on October 31st; hopefully it will be broadcast on television too.

Good advice is always certain to be ignored, but that’s no reason not to give it.  (Agatha Christie)

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