Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Just Answer the Question!

I got sucked into watching the election returns last night and ended up staying up way too late. But I want to share some thoughts about what I saw. For those of you reading on facebook, you may want to come to the actual blog site so you can see the videos.

This post is not about MSNBC. It is not about any of the hosts. It is not about what I think about republicans or democrats or the policies they champion.

The only thing I want to talk about is how the people who are interviewed respond to the questions given to them. So if you have time, watch the following videos and see if you notice a common theme.

Ok. Now check this one out.

And behind door number 3?

For the record, I agree with Chris. She does look hypnotized. I have never had a conversation with an actual person that resembled that. I have, however, tried to make things happen on a computer only to get the same error message over and over and over again. Interesting . . .

Did you notice something? Not a single one of the people interviewed answered the question that was asked of them. And they all should have been able to do it.


Perhaps because they honestly don't know the answer. But that would be silly. If you are not going to let the Bush tax cuts expire then you should (theoretically) have a plan for where the money for decreasing the deficit is going to come from. And you should have a specific plan because $700 billion is a lot of money.

They have said they won't cut anything from defense, medicare or social security. So where then? I simply cannot believe that they don't know.

So maybe they DO know but they just don't want to say. But why would they do that? Why would they purposefully without crucial details of their plan? Maybe because they know it will be unpopular? Well, you are already elected so what can it hurt to say?

To be honest, this is really what I think. I think that by taking certain things off the table, they know that the cuts will have to come from some other place. And it will probably be a thing that we totally take for granted and would never consider cutting from the budget, like the Department of Education.

Or maybe Michael Steele's reason is the real reason (jump to about 3:36 to get to it):

Yes, they were just too excited to answer the simple question.

But they were not too excited to spout off pre-programed talking points. Did you hear any phrases that seemed to keep coming up?

"The American people have spoken loud and clear . . ." (that phrase really doesn't mean anything)

"You're not listening . . ."

"Cut discretionary spending . . ."

"Big government . . ."

These interviews were essentially useless. There was no actual information given, only talking points. Talking points can be helpful if they actually mean something but these didn't. And it is SOOOOO frustrating!

You know why they use talking points? Because when something is repeated enough people start to believe it is true. That is why each of the people interviewed essentially said the exact same thing. The more they get the message out the more people will believe it.

They are not interested in a conversation or an interview. It is like the looked at each question as a way to get to the talking points, even if it made no sense at all.

This is not discourse. This is not debate. This is not conversation. This is not relationship. This is just not how real people talk to each other. The people in the United States government are supposed to represent us. And in my life, when I disagree with someone, I can still have an intelligent conversation with them by responding to the questions they ask me. Is it too much to ask that our politicians be able to do the same? Is this how they talk at the dinner table? (This makes me want to write a skit about it. Maybe I will do that someday . . .)

This is not what I saw here. They owe us straight answers. They owe it to us to talk to us like we are real, reasonable people capable of sifting through the facts and making an informed decision.

That was acting. And they did a good job not breaking character.

Or they really don't know what they are going to do.

Either way, no good.


  1. For the record, Ben, when 2100 Productions interviewed you twice this spring, you answered our questions thoroughly. We enjoyed our conversations with you.

    It's always amusing/annoying to me when any politician, regardless of party, speaks of the "American people" has being of one mind about anything.

  2. Haha, thanks Glenn.

    Wouldn't that have been funny to answer in the same way?

    "how did sexy pizza go?"

    "Well Glenn, the American people spoke loud and clear tonight . . ."

    Can't wait to see the finished video! Hopefully I will run into you at NSC.

  3. Hey Ben, just read this. Simple answer to your question. Reelection. Power. Money. It all comes down to power and money. Perhaps not for all of them. But the more power and/or money you have the more you want to keep it. So you will say anything that does not (in your mind) alienate you from your constituents so that you can get reelected. And it must be working, because we keep sending them back. So, are they entirely at fault? I think not, although i hate to admit that.

  4. I do think you have a point Mel. If they were really honest with us would we reelect them? Are we to blame for just wanting the sound bite versus the meat of a truthful response?