Final thoughts about the TV One Heartland Presidential Forum webcast Part 2 - 12.3.2007.2
Continued from Final thoughts about the TV One Heartland Presidential Forum webcast Part 1...
But it got worse. The form of the Forum was then announced. 20 minutes per candidate, 2 minutes to respond to the questions presented. One question from pre-selected (that’s important) people, and 2 questions from a select group of organizations and political figures would be asked before the candidate could use the 2 minutes to respond. Sounds fairly straight forward and easy to do. I had to wonder why the Forum was expected to take 2 ½ hours.
Well I found out quickly as the event started with John Edwards, followed by Dennis Kucinich, Senator Clinton, Senator Dodd, and finally Senator Obama. With the first question we saw the format in action. One average person would come onto the stage with a story of woe and anguish. They would wax on about how horrible things were for them. Then after a few minutes of this they would as a question something like, “What are you going to do about this”, “or “How will you change that?” Then the mic would go to one of the selected figureheads and representatives who would ask another question which might only be tangially connected to the first story, and then another would do the same.
Then the candidates would respond with some equally waxing response that was more of an attempt to have a soundbite on the news than a hard answer. Basically they were playing to the audience and trying to get cheap votes. I found the answers shallow.
Kind of like when Edwards was asked about what he will do on civil rights, making the laws and system more balanced and fair to African Americans and minorities. The response was both rambling and indistinct. He was told how unfair racial profiling was and how one family was affected by it.
Edwards’s response was that he would stop the profiling, and then he went on. He mentioned that he would close Guantanamo Bay, would close all the secret prisons, would cease spying on Americans, and end any and all forms of torture. He picked back up on the inequality core of what he was asked with a claim to remove mandatory minimums, the unfair and heavy handed practice of giving minorities extreme sentences as compared to Whites (like Genarlow Wilson). He then went on to jump top discuss creating jobs, passing a national healthcare raise the minimum wage to $9.50, empower unions, and oh back to the subject at hand change the disparity in sentences for crack versus power cocaine.
He was posturing on a soapbox to the converted. The crowed loved it. And the responses of the other candidates were all similar in their scope. The “questions” also were all similar in their dreary and bemoanful story-telling. But what was it all really saying?
Well as an example I now know that Edwards has no idea on what to do about the civil rights offenses in this nation. He has no plan, and thus could not point to anything he would change. He didn’t even mention a single case that is on-going that he could highlight as something he would prevent or change if he were President. I mean there are plenty to pick from, Genarlow Wilson – as I mentioned before, Megan Williams in West Virginia, the Jena 6 and many more. I’m sure his staff could have picked one to mention if he cared about it. Or any of the candidates for that matter. Not one had a real answer about this issue, or could reference a single event that happened recently. They all spun this in a manner to get everyone feeling warm and fuzzy though. Lots of style and not a drop of substance.
Continued in part 3...