Us Elections/Presidential Debates: Image or Reality - Статьи

Us Elections/Presidential Debates: Image or Reality

Lorenzo Albacete ilsussidiario


You will be reading this column right after the first live television debate between President Barak Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney , at which time the debate will be the top story in the media. The candidates are now trying to "lower the expectations" about their performance so that they will be said to have done better than expected. Indeed one wonders how much of the debate will be about political differences and how much about performance on TV.
It has been this way from the beginning. I remember well the debate between Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice-President Richard Nixon. Back home in Puerto Rico there were branches of the Democratic and Republican US parties, but I could never really understand the difference between the two.
They could have different proposals as of how to respond to particular situations, but these were more like coalitions within a larger party banded together representing different interests, say economic ,
labor, employers and their employees, relations with the Federal Government, etc.
These were differences at the level of action, not fundamental differences. By contrast, the differences between our local parties were at a fundamental level, namely , the future of our identity as a people
expressed in different relations with the United Sates: statehood independence, and some conception between the two. Such is the case even now. I moved from Puerto Rico to Washington DC at the beginning of the presidential campaign for the November 1 961 elections. I suppose that in terms of national politics I was a Republican, since that was the ruling party in Washington and I saw no real difference between Republicans and Democrats. My candidate, therefore, was Richard Nixon.
Until I saw and heard, on television, John F. Kennedy. From that moment on I was a Democrat.
It was a matter of image, not of substance. Indeed before the election (and even after it), Nixon and Kennedy were personal friends, and their judgments on important issues were practically the same.
(Even afterwards President Nixon was to com plain that all the things for which he was being convicted had first been done by Kennedy .)
A matter of image...those who saw that first debate in October 1 960 on TV thought Kennedy had won the debate; those who heard it on the radio thought Nixon had won... Image...because Kennedy was wearing TV make up and Nixon had not shaved. Image...
What will it be like this week, when the two candidates will have no doubt shaved?
So far this campaign has appeared to reflect fundamentally different judgments on reality , but have they been really , really different, or just differences about how to solve our problem s, especially economic ones? Let's watch the debates...

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