Debates out our ears.
Presidential, gubernatorial, senatorial, vice presidential — we’ve seen all of those in recent days as campaigns and voters count down to the Nov. 6 election day.
Republican Mitt Romney soundly outpointed President Obama in their first debate and made the incumbent look unprepared and defensive. In the second presidential debate, Obama fired back from the get-go in what almost became a boxing match between the two contenders. (Conservative commentator George Will, not given to flights of fancy, termed that debate as “immeasurably the best” presidential debate in U.S. history — and he’s seen them all over the last 52 years.) The third and final Obama-Romney debate takes place at 9 p.m. Monday from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.
In the only vice presidential debate, Democrat Joe Biden either smiled too much and too mockingly or just the right amount and quite sincerely, depending on your point of view — or bias. Did Republican Paul Ryan score points or was he made to look inexperienced?
The two Indiana gubernatorial debates so far have been ones of contrast: the homey humor and poison darts of Democrat John Gregg, the buttoned-down efficiency and modulated comebacks of Republican Mike Pence (the front-runner in the polls), the outsider-with-ideas approach and comic relief of Libertarian Rupert Boneham. The three will debate their final time at 7 p.m. Thursday from a Fort Wayne television studio.
In the first Indiana senatorial debate, Republican Richard Mourdock and Democrat Joe Donnelly pummeled each other, and Libertarian Andrew Horning held himself out as an alternative to both. We’ll see what plays out when the three debate again at 7 p.m. Tuesday in New Albany.
Political debates are sometimes thought to be yawners — boring and filled with answers translatable only by policy wonks.
But these debates have been different, and so has this election been different. It is an election arising from a context of years of economic and employment woes; from perhaps unparalleled political upheaval and warring between parties; from the real-time nature of social media and their effects on messages; from the everyday threats of terrorism; and from widening global tensions in and among such places as Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, North Korea, Israel and Mexico.
From our vantage point, this year’s debates have had great value — the most in recent years — even when one discounts the preening, the canned one-liners and the clever comebackers.
The great thing about debates — no matter what analysts or pundits or editorial writers say — is that voters ultimately decide whom they believe more, which may not be the same as who “won” a debate.
Debates give voters a chance to see candidates in real time, pitted personally against their political rivals, thinking on their feet. Yes, candidates are rehearsed and have their standard, practiced, even shopworn lines. But sometimes — as in Wednesday’s presidential debate — the rigors of fleeting seconds and the insistence of the opponent and moderator force the candidate to flourish or fold. That’s good for would-be voters to see and by which to judge those who ask to lead them.
Voters benefit from candidates vetting issues in real time
Debates out our ears.
EDITORIAL: Noteworthy in the news: MVC tourney an event worth having
It’s been a long time since the Missouri Valley Conference chose Indiana State University to host its post-season baseball tournament, but Terre Haute had never been more prepared for an event such as this.
EDITORIAL: Cleaning up voter rolls
It’s not a lot of money in the big scheme of things, but the $2 million designated in the recent session of the General Assembly will begin the messy but necessary process of cleaning up Indiana’s voter registration rolls.
EDITORIAL: Waging the ‘readiness’ campaign
Almost every Hoosier who starts college intends to finish. Unfortunately, those who arrive on campus unprepared in key academic areas are far less likely to fulfill that aspiration.
EDITORIAL: Insult to an independent press
Distrust of government secrecy has been elevated to an exceptional level with the disclosure the Justice Department covertly examined two months of Associated Press phone records to determine who leaked details to the AP about a foiled terrorist plot.
EDITORIAL: Noteworthy in the news: Dashing finish for the Sycamores
It’s always thrilling to see Indiana State University’s athletic teams do well in high-level competition, and two specific teams rose to impressive heights last weekend in the Missouri Valley Conference outdoor track and field championships.
EDITORIAL: Better monitoring needed to prevent local environmental messes
The nasty, hazardous messes lurking in the community raise a bottom-line, red-flag question. Could these environmental problems have been monitored and, thus, prevented?
EDITORIAL: Memo to U.S.A.: You can ‘SPPRAK’ just as we do in Vigo County
Our kids, truly, are ‘Making a Difference’
Some words in praise of boring government — Indiana’s
A conservative Republican governor has super majorities in both branches of the legislature. One might suspect such one-party government leads to major changes in public policy. This did not happen in 2013 in Indiana.
EDITORIAL: Doc’s prescient prescription
Viewed through a 2013 prism, Doc Bowen’s response to the AIDS epidemic looks merely prudent, routine.
EDITORIAL: Education remains worth the cost
Within the next few weeks, each of the local colleges will have conducted graduation ceremonies. A few days later, a different Class of 2013 will don caps and gowns for commencement — the seniors at five Vigo County high schools. It is still a smart, worthy aspiration for those high school grads to replicate the achievement of those college students by earning a higher-education degree.
EDITORIAL: Good news for downtown
For decades, it seems, downtown Terre Haute has been in the throes of change
EDITORIAL: Overall, state budget step in the right direction
For average Hoosiers uninterested in political point-scoring, the budget crafted by the Indiana Legislature inspires only muted, if any, fanfare.
EDITORIAL: The lessons of organ donation
The range of emotion surrounding life-saving transplantation of a vital organ is extreme. It is the ultimate “good news-bad news” scenario.
READERS’ FORUM: April 26, 2013
• Pence’s tax cuts benefit wealthiest
EDITORIAL: Noteworthy in the news
This does not qualify as a surprise in any way. But the Wabash Valley’s response to widespread flooding of recent days has been nothing short of impressive, even inspirational.
EDITORIAL: Still waiting for the jobs reward
The forces in control of Indiana government for most of the past decade need to show some results to Hoosiers in one primary category.
MARK BENNETT: Littered with irony: Why do people callously discard their trash, and who are they?
Though they aren’t acknowledged by the U.S. Census Bureau, there are basically two demographic groups of people … Those who would dump their old toilet on the banks of the Wabash River or a rural roadside. And those who wouldn’t.
EDITORIAL: Doing the dirty work to clean up tossed trash
A first-of-its-kind, coast-to-coast project to remove litter from U.S. roadsides brought the Pick Up America crew through the Wabash Valley two years ago.
EDITORIAL: Keep school security a local issue
The decision to provide armed security inside a schoolhouse should be made locally.
EDITORIAL: Noteworthy in the news
Indiana’s parks need your help.
EDITORIAL: The return of terror
Emotions today remain strong and raw in wake of Monday’s terror bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
EDITORIAL: A solution to distracted driving … stop it … now
You’ve got to stop. You know you do it. It’s a miracle you haven’t caused a tragedy already.
EDITORIAL: ‘Women of Influence’: 2013 selectees have given much to their communities
For the second year, United Way of the Wabash Valley has teamed up with local sponsors to select and honor a group of women who have made outstanding contributions to their communities, professions and families.
EDITORIAL: Noteworthy in the news: A new honor for our veterans
A commendation goes out today to state Rep. Clyde Kersey, a Terre Haute Democrat who led the charge this week in the Indiana House of Representatives to pay tribute to the nation’s Purple Heart recipients.
EDITORIAL: Shifting view on marriage
One could argue, as many have, that Sen. Joe Donnelly did the right thing last week when he dropped his support of government-sanctioned opposition to same-sex marriage. It wasn’t a radical move, considering most Democrats have now made the switch.
MAX JONES: The American Newspaper: Changing? Yes. Dying? No way!
It happened again this past January when all those “looking at the year ahead” stories started popping up on Internet “news” websites and broadcast “news” programs. Under a provocative headline reading something like “Five industries/businesses doomed to tank in the coming year,” there it was, a prediction based on an unsubstantiated “expert” analysis that the newspaper industry will continue in 2013 to suffer its slide into oblivion.
EDITORIAL: A chance to change our bad cultural habits
The sight of diligent, eager young people dragging trash out of the Wabash River wetlands is both inspiring and sad.
EDITORIAL: Maintaining high standards
It’s the raging buzzword in education circles these days. Everyone insists that higher standards must be met. Anything less is, doggone it, unacceptable.
Noteworthy in the news
EDITORIAL: Crack down on dumpers
There is a reason it’s called “illegal” dumping. It’s against the law. And there is a very good reason illegal dumping is against the law.
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