As a former reporter and editor I retain a healthy skepticism for what politicians say. “Spin doctor” is a kind description of what most of them do. But my patience was truly lost this morning as I listened to NPR interview Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who also happens to be the chairperson of the Democratic National Committee, and a short while latter heard two Democrats and two Republicans square off on CBS Face The Nation about the presidential election.
Asked directly why President Obama was not polling higher among married women and white women, Schultz responded with standard talking points about why he is good for women and why he should be re-elected. Challenged that she didn’t answer the question, the congresswoman insisted she did. The interview ended on that note, either because NPR determined its audience was being buffaloed or the segment ran out of time. I hope it was the former, as the media must start showing some muscle in its dealings with politicians. If they won’t answer the question, cut them off and don’t give them a free ride to poison the air with their obfuscations.
Which, unfortunately, is what happened on Face the Nation. The Republicans accused Obama of turning negative. Hello? What do they think happened the first three years of his presidency? Does the word “birther” kindle any memories? Does the voice of a GOP congressman screaming out “You lie” during the State of the Union address revive any memories? Have they forgotten how they refused to compromise, how they thwarted any attempt to gain a balanced approach to our nation’s fiscal problems, which, they have conveniently forgotten, are mainly due to George Bush’s two wars and his senior citizen prescription medical reimbursement plan.
We have 93 more days before the election. Three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate. All in October. Maybe, if we’re lucky, the format will exact specific answers from each candidate. Maybe, again if we’re lucky, the moderator will show some respect for the American people and demand specific answers rather than platitudes, innuendos and gibberish. Oh, we should be so lucky.