Of Buzzwords and Burnish

So I watched the Republican debate this morning. Okay, that’s not true. I watched the first third and got bored. No doubt you’re thinking that I’m yet another symptom of a society with an attention span of about five seconds, but…wait what were we talking about again?

Oh, right, the candidates. And since I’m going to have to vote for one of these lovely people in the upcoming primary, I thought share give a rundown of my thoughts on what I saw of the debate at the Reagan Library.

Okay, first off, and I know this is picking a nit, but I really don’t care, THAT’S NOT AIR FORCE ONE! No, that doesn’t have anything to do with the candidates. It just bugs me when people get that wrong.

But here’s my main problem with the debate last night, and really, politics in general:

Talking Points.

Now don’t get me wrong. I understand the importance of focusing on one issue or another. But more and more what we’re getting from politicians from both sides of the aisle are sound bites, tiny little nuggets of noninformation with key buzzwords dropped in at predetermined intervals that sound like they’ve been recited in front of a mirror 500 times.

In fact that’s one of the reasons I shut the whole thing off. If I heard, “I created X jobs in [insert candidate’s home state here]” one more time I would have ended up throwing my computer across the room.

Here’s what I want to hear: Conviction. Principles. Ideas that come from the candidates’ foundation of beliefs.

And the only person who I heard any of that from was…no I’m afraid to say it. Because if I say it you’re going to think I’m one of them.

You know who they are. You have to have run into one of them at some point. Rabid young political activists who won’t shut up about…

Ron Paul.

There. I said it.

But in spite of whatever weirdness his followers might exude, he was one of the few candidates on the stage last night who didn’t look like he was reading from a script. He wasn’t saying what he thought people wanted to hear. He was saying what he believed.

Here was a guy who knew his position inside and out, who knew what he believed and why he believed it. And even though he got a disappointingly small number of questions, the answers he gave seemed real. Not like the prepolished factoids the other politicians belched up from somewhere deep within the bowels of their focus groups.

In the end I don’t think that Ron Paul will win the primary. I’m not even saying he should win the primary. But there’s a reason he won the debate in a landslide last night. (Aside from the fact that his followers are younger and more internet savvy than most of the other candidates I mean.)

He was honest. He spoke from his heart. And whether you agreed with him or not, you knew he was saying what he really thought.

And in a world where more and more of what we see on TV has been produced into perfection, realness is becoming a rare and valuable commodity.

3 responses to “Of Buzzwords and Burnish

  1. I can’t believe that I missed the debate last night; it had been on my mind ever since the big brew-ha-ha, regarding the scheduling conflict with the speech tonight.

    Conviction and principles would be great to see in a candidate, but a solid plan of REAL action would be welcomed, as well. We are in dire need of someone who can lead with respect from both parties, and I know that’s asking a lot, but that’s really what it boils down to. Seems as though everyone needs to look back at what they learned in kindergarten: sharing, don’t bully, work out your differences, treat your neighbor with respect, etc. – you get the picture!

    Thanks for sharing your take on the debate.

    By the way, who was the candidate that avoided the question the most? That’s one of the items that I always look for – the one that doesn’t feel they need to answer what is asked, rather they talk about what THEY want to convey. Anyone come to mind?

  2. I need to watch one of these. My perception of the current Republican field is skewed by the media currently, who focus on talking points or relentlessly make fun of the candidates. I love what The Daily Show does, but it isn’t the best for making a voting decision.

    I’m one of the Ron Paul supporters you are talking about. Maybe not quite the militant libertarian that wants to privatise fire trucks, but I do support him in this race. I like that he is, if nothing else, proven in his beliefs over 12 terms, even when I don’t agree with him. Some of the other candidates feel like mouth pieces in american flag pajamas.

    Anyway, good post. I think talking points intended for news networks and social media really aren’t helping us make rational and thought out decisions. More and more it seems like the type of person you have to be to get into office disqualifies you from being a capable statesmen. Wish I had time to clean this up, but work calls.

    • I actually don’t think that badly of Ron Paul. But I did run into one of his supporters in the past who really rubbed me the wrong way. I nothing else though, it’s nice to see that he’s opened people’s eyes to a new way of thinking. The fact that people are even capable of thinking about privatizing things like fire departments is a step in the right direction. To the old way of thinking, such a step would be literally unthinkable.
      Also, this wasn’t meant as a slight against the other candidates. I believe that many of them have personal princples that could inform their answers and make them more genuine, but instead they choose to hide in the safety of their predetermined talking about. Herman Caine in particular opening with a spiel about his 9-9-9 plan really disappointed me. I know that man is capable of more passion than that, and he did nothing more than rattle off his “plan.” A plan isn’t going to be worth much once congress gets hold of it anyway.
      Don’t tell me the plan. Show me the man.

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