Wednesday, October 08, 2008

"People Who Already Understand"

On Betsy's Page, Betsy Newmark offers the following argument about last night's debate:

I think that the people who think McCain won the night are people who already understand the issues and McCain's positions vs. Obama's. But most people haven't been following this for about two years. They don't know the ins and outs of these questions and haven't heard clips from their speeches over the past two years on taxes and health care and Iraq. They're just tuning in now to find out which of these guys would make a reasonable president. And Obama came across as a perfectly reasonable guy who understands how people are worried about their economic situation and future. And with the lead that Obama has now and his advantages financially plus the winds blowing against any Republican this year, I think we should get ready for an undivided government by the Democratic Party.

I could be interpreting this incorrectly, but it seems to me that this argument is basically saying that the only rational conclusion from a study of the issues and the candidate's positions would be that McCain is the better choice. And if the rest of the electorate had just devoted the time to that study, there would be no question about who the front-runner is today. If that is really the gist of the argument, I think that's kind of crazy. People come at these issues from different points of view and from different experiences. I'm not sure what it adds to the discussion to frame the debate (the larger debate, not the one held last night) in stark terms of "right" and "wrong."

Having said that, I take note of the comment about undivided government, and based on past experience in California share the concern. I worked in a governmental affairs office for 13 years, and know from first-hand experience that divided government, on the whole, is a more efficient and effective government. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it's true.

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