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.
GUEST EDITORIAL: Lack of vaccinations puts children, community at risk
U.S. vaccination programs appear to have become a victim of their own success. Because many parents have never experienced the effects of childhood diseases such as mumps or measles — let alone polio — they don’t always appreciate the health risks the diseases pose and the continuing need for vaccinations.
Readers’ Forum: Dec. 9, 2013
Remove politics from education
FLASHPOINT: Dealing with hunger requires less rhetoric, more action
In November, millions of families in Indiana and across the nation saw their Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits cut through a planned phase-out of a temporary increase in funding that originally took place during the 2009 recession.
READER FORUM: Dec. 8, 2013
• Diving in to pool project
• A timely review of food basics
• Name-calling shows sad state of our politics
• Republicans their own worst enemy
• Full attack on common sense
EDITORIAL: Refusing to accept injustice, Mandela made world a better place
Injustice seldom ceases easily. Humans rationalize entrenched systems of persecution. Oppressed people or ideas get painted as a danger to the peaceful social order — the status quo. Cast in that image, inequality appears acceptable, even necessary, to the masses.
Time for a tour?
There’s an essay-type question that shows up on history exams, college applications, “Saturday Night Live” skits and quite possibly requests for platinum credit cards.
GUEST EDITORIAL: Congress now free from the threat of too much work
The headline on the Congress-watching newspaper Politico said it all: “Done.”
RONN MOTT: A friend celebrates his 90th
I went to Charlie Fox’s 90th birthday party Sunday last. He was standing greeting people as they came in the door. I never saw him sit down even one time. He looked more like a man celebrating his 60th rather than his 90th.
Editorial: Bring on the ‘Miracle’
For five miraculous years, Terre Haute’s Christmas festival on a Friday night in early December has grown and prospered.
- Readers’ Forum: Dec. 6, 2013
RONN MOTT: Cigars
Leaving Baesler’s Market the other day, making my round of errands, I started to re-light my cigar. It was left over from the day before and I did not place it in the humidor. It had gotten too dry, so I threw it into my garbage sack asking myself the question, “Why do I do this?” Well, I do it because I enjoy it.
TRIBUNE-STAR EDITORIAL: Changing attitudes demand GOP action
From all indications, the Republican Party’s legislative leadership will punt away in its next session the opportunity to make a good decision on behalf of all Hoosiers about placing a same-sex marriage ban in the state’s constitution.
READERS’ FORUM: Dec. 5, 2013
• Anarchy is in the ‘tea’ leaves
Editorial: Help us spread holiday cheer
The kind and generous people of the Wabash Valley are called upon often to help those less fortunate. We are proud to live an area where that call never goes unanswered.
- Readers’ Forum: Dec. 4, 2013
RONN MOTT: Cats, Inc.
I suppose we should give her a cake and a candle, but she would be happier with a handful of “treats” you can find wherever you shop for groceries. I’m talking about the two-year anniversary of the first cat we adopted. If we had known there were going to be more, her name probably would have been different. She was Orange Crush, a small, bedraggled, starving, Golden Tabby female that wandered into our yard a little after Thanksgiving. She had been badly maltreated.
MS. TAKES: Plenty of downsides to tree with candlelight
I had been spinning my wheels over Thanksgiving preparations the other day, so my Best Friend took me out for breakfast — a little luxury I never tire of. Our friend, Bill, stopped by our table to offer holiday felicitations and the conversation turned, as it often does this time of year, to Christmas.
READERS’ FORUM: Dec. 3, 2013
• Prestige chosen over practicality
• Tea partiers love country, freedom
• Same old clowns
LIZ CIANCONE: Plenty of downsides to tree with candlelight
I had been spinning my wheels over Thanksgiving preparations the other day, so my Best Friend took me out for breakfast — a little luxury I never tire of.
Readers’ Forum: Dec. 3, 2013
Prestige chosen over practicality
Tea partiers love country, freedom
Same old clowns
EDITORIAL: For NESC, transparency best option
The five-member board of the Northeast School Corp. of Sullivan County is in the midst of tough times as it faces a difficult decision on the future of its schools, including Union High School in Dugger.
Readers’ Forum: Dec. 2, 2013
‘Ask not …’: Living by the words we speak
MARK BENNETT: ABA’s record proves Bobby Leonard’s a legit Hall of Famer
Bobby Leonard symbolized the feisty competitive flair of the old ABA.
EDITORIAL: Preserving, improving our parks
Few amenities more greatly affect the quality of life in Terre Haute than its public parks.
FLASHPOINT: Getting right with history
I am ornery enough to never much worry about whether I am on the “right” side of history.
READERS’ FORUM: Dec. 1, 2013
The dangers of aggressive driving
Thanks to Lowe’s for great work
Another ‘Miracle’ set for Friday
Obama lies with malicious intent
Down the path to nowhere
Remembering to help needy
Jihadis, be careful what you wish for
Hanging on to people’s rights
No more trespassers thanks to mayor
RONN MOTT: Collett Park Christmas Walk always a special event
Since I live right across the street from Collett Park, I enjoy very much this particular neighborhood. And since I have walked around it a few times, I’m familiar with the 0.8 of a mile it takes to walk around the park. The Christmas Walk is a walk around the neighborhood. There were approximately 15 homes involved and open to the public this year
EDITORIAL: Noteworthy in the news
An expansion of county parks
A teacher, visionary and leader
Reader poll results
READERS’ FORUM: Nov. 29, 2013
Cooperation helps enhance security
RONN MOTT: Rule Changes
Watching the beginning of a new basketball season reminds me of my attempt to play basketball in high school. On the B-team, at a township high school my freshman and sophomore years, I fouled out of a great many basketball games.
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- GUEST EDITORIAL: Lack of vaccinations puts children, community at risk