We’re having trouble with our cable service. The non-digital channels are fine, but the digital channels are doing something the cable company called “tiling” when we called them. The effect is that, after displaying maybe 6 seconds of the transmission, it stops dead for 5-10 seconds, then starts again. I think of it as stuttering TV. Visually, it’s like watching a line of traffic behind a school bus – stop and start, stop and start.
What this means in reality is an unhappy husband. The NHL Center Ice package is in the digital tier. Hockey is a game of speed and seconds can make a significant difference. Miss 5 seconds and you may miss a goal, a save, an incredible play. When you add the inability to watch hockey to the fact that there isn’t much else worth watching on the non-digital channels (at least in his mind), it becomes a testy situation.
Being slightly more “eclectic” in my interests than my husband, I decided to head to the second TV in the den and watch the political debates. It was an ambitious project undertaken by ABC TV and a group of more local stations. Both the leading groups of Republican and Democratic candidates for president met to debate on the campus of St Anselm’s College in Manchester, NH prior to the NH primary election next week. The Republicans debated first, followed by the Democrats. More on the details in a bit. But there was moment between the two debates that is worth mentioning. Moderator Charles Gibson invited the Democratic candidates to come onto the stage as the Republican candidates were getting ready to leave. They intermingled, they greeted each other, they shook hands and smiled. Gibson made the point that, after all the debating and wrangling and voting is done, one of these persons will be President of the United States. It will be a smooth and non-violent transfer of power. The on-stage meeting was symbolic of what is right about the American system of government. It was an interesting, thought provoking moment.
I tuned in to the debate because the TV was on the fritz. I stayed because . . . I don’t know why. It was actually interesting. I’m not usually very interested in politics, although I do find the current administration doing some serious damage to the nation and the world. But these were new guys.
The Republicans went first, as I said. They were actually interesting. I found that I might possibly agree with McCain and Huckabee on some points; even Giuliani and Thompson made some good points. I found that my dislike of Mitt Romney has only grown since he was governor of this fine state. If you look at his achievements, yes – he “fixed” the US Olympic Committee and we had a great competition in Salt Lake. But if you look at his path, everything has been to further his political ambitions. He has not done all this because he loves his country and wants to be of service to the nation. That’s baloney! The others are certainly also politically ambitious, but not in the same way as Romney. The thing that drove me the most crazy was that he would not answer a direct question with a direct, simple answer. He was asked a few questions that had basically yes or no answers and he gave a lengthy diatribe for each answer. He tried to monopolize the time and did not appear to really listen to his fellow debaters. Since he’s also the one running all the “attack ads” in this area right now, I have no use for him.
I was surprised that I found myself in any agreement with the other Republican candidates. I’m officially an independent, but with definite Democratic leanings. I must be getting old or something. Of course, the reason I’m an independent is because I can’t stand the whole business of parties dictating what the country gets. I look for the candidate who is right, not the party.
The Democrats were also entertaining. Clinton vs Obama. Edwards vs Clinton. Poor Governor Richardson, who actually has some good ideas about using diplomacy first in international relations, seemed to get swamped by the energy and time the other candidates expended.
I was particularly touched by John Edwards. He spoke of his candidacy in terms that struck a chord with me. He spoke of his passion to work for the middle class because his father and grandmother had worked in mills for years to see that he had a better chance. So did my family. He said it was “personal” not political for him. We haven’t seen that kind of passion in this country to serve for the good of the people in a long, long, long time! I think I might like to hear more of his ideas.
I think the questions asked of the Republicans were more interesting than those asked of the Democrats. I don’t know why. I think I’d have preferred it if they had questions on the same topic. I also think Charlie Gibson lost some steam by the Democratic debate. It was a long haul and that’s not surprising. He still certainly did a good job – he allowed a certain amount of leeway but kept control and managed time fairly well.
That’s probably the last you’ll hear from me on politics for a long time. But I was so surprised that I found the debate interesting, I had to put in my 2 cents.