Presidential Debate- Something to Emulate

Perhaps the most important aspect of my US visit this time is my exposure to presidential election process. With Anand and Shannon very positively involved in politics, it has become more interesting and informative.

I am just sold on the importance of the debates of the presidential candidates that is the one important feature and watched with interest globally. I have watched 3 of the four till now. Every one of it has enhanced my interest and deepened my faith in its necessity to reach to so vast a number of electorate.

Senators John McCain and Barack Obama debated for 90 minutes last Tuesday night before a nation in economic crisis, each promising anxious Americans that he had the better plan and vision to lead the country through the most dire financial situation since the Great Depression.

While Obama wishes to go for regulations to control the malaise created by those in Wall Street, McCain still is votary of deregulation. McCain proposes more rebates on the health insurance, while Obama wishes to provide more for whatever is being paid as premium and make it easy for the rest to join the insurance net. Obama will go to tax the top business enterprises and give tax cuts for the small ones and middle class that constitutes the 95% of the total. Obama wants go for action against Iran via a dialogue. McCain outright rejects any talking with Iran.

At least some aspects were revealing. The moderator was at his best, brief but sharp and to the point remarks intermixed with good humour. The love for the numbers appears to be intensive. Let us see some: Obama: “What McCain doesn’t mention is he’s been there 26 of them and during that time he voted 23 times against alternative fuels.”

Another interesting feature of the debate was the way the candidates talked about Wall Street and multinational companies and their executives. It is missing in Indian politics.
McCain: “Fannie and Freddie were the catalyst, the match that started this forest fire.”

Obama: “And that means strong oversight. It means that we are cracking down on CEOs and making sure that they’re not getting bonuses or golden parachutes as a consequence of this package. And, in fact, we just found out that AIG, a company that got a bailout, just a week after they got help went on a $400,000 junket. And I’ll tell you what, the Treasury should demand that money back and those executives should be fired.”

Both want to help for homeowners so that they can stay in their homes and to help state and local governments set up road projects and bridge projects that keep people in their jobs.
Can LK Advani or Sonia Gandhi name their finance minister during debate if any? See what McCain replied: “I like Meg Whitman [former CEO of eBay and current McCain campaign adviser], she knows what it’s like to be out there in the marketplace. She knows how to create jobs. Meg Whitman was CEO of a company that started with 12 people and is now 1.3 million people in America make their living off eBay.”

I wish Indian politicians talked so emphatically about the national priorities such as the health care, energy, and education as well as land policy that is holding back so many projects.

Can the media or the intellectuals induce or encourage to the prime-ministrial candidates to a debating platform in India? Can the TV channels shun commercial advetising during a serious debate? Will the moderators in India interfere and talk a little less?

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