News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Liz Ciancone

November 8, 2011

LIZ CIANCONE: So far, this is a poor excuse for debate

I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen enough “debates” to last the rest of my natural life.

For openers, the would-be candidates are spending an obscene amount of money. That’s a turn-off in these tough times. There are kids, and adults, going hungry. Highways and bridges are being condemned, thousands of our young men and women are overseas getting shot at, there is a crying need for honest debate in Congress, and all we are getting is name calling, self-important and self-inflated codswallop.

We have a full 12 months before the next presidential election. Can you imagine how many dollars are going down the tube before that happy day? Oh, the advertising agencies may declare a dividend, but so far I have seen nothing and heard nothing to convince me that any of the hopefuls are even remotely qualified to take on the monumental job of president of our country.

Or, maybe I don’t understand the term “debate.” So, I ran to the dictionary. Webster assures me that a “debate” is “a formal discussion of a motion before a deliberative body according to the rules of parliamentary procedure.” That’s what I thought. That’s what Congress is supposed to be doing.

So, what is the motion? We’ve heard nothing but slams against other contenders. You want substance, you get gossip. You want suggestions to begin debate and you get finger-pointing. I can’t believe we are in for another 12 months of this before we get to vote. Meanwhile, we are fed the results of polls. Don’t start me on the reliability of polls. A telephone sample of some 300 or 400 households in a nation of more than 300 million is hardly reliable. And, we all know that questions can be framed to get a preferred answer.

Ideas? Did you like the “9-9-9” tax proposal? Sounds good until we learned that the 9 percent national sales tax is in addition to our 7 percent sales tax here in Indiana. If you like 7 percent you will love 16 percent. Please!

Come next fall, after both parties have chosen a candidate, maybe we can have a meaningful debate. As for what we have been seeing — well, I don’t know what it is, but it’s no debate.

My choice so far? None of the above.

Liz Ciancone is a retired

Tribune-Star reporter. Send e-mail to

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