Blogs > Cliopatria > The Debates--Should You Watch?

Sep 29, 2004 7:02 pm

The Debates--Should You Watch?

Of course, you should watch. But the point is that 50 million--or maybe 100 million--people will watch. And that's something in a country which now regards politics as about as interesting as ... a repeat of Survivor.

A bright college student I met last week is typical of many voters, I am afraid. When I asked her what she thought of the Republican convention, she was surprised to learn that there had been one.

Only if something is covered extensively on TV does it seem to make an impression on people.

If something happens and it's not on TV, is it real? For millions the sad answer is no.

So even though the debates may be dull, as Gil Troy says in a piece we just posted: And the candidates will be mouthing lines from a script prepared by advisors. The debates will perform a valuable function by getting people to tune in to politics.

In modern America this is a measure of success.

But then we'll have to live with the aftermath when voters are asked what they thought of the debate. And invariably they will say they like so-and-so and would like to go to a barbecue with them.

I have one question for such people. Do you think you would have liked to go to a barbecue with George Washington? Not bloody likely. But some say he was a pretty good president.

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