Sunday, September 23, 2012

Voters deserve more debate, details

One of the areas where the Romney campaign has been most specific is military spending, with Romney promising to spend at least 4% of GDP on defense.  A Romney victory would open the door to a $2 trillion increase in defense spending versus Obama's proposal.

Romney's plan to convert Medicaid to a block grant program would save (or, "save") something like $1.26 trillion.

Whatever the actual details of Romney's proposals wind up being, it's safe to say that the outcome of the election will determine how trillions of dollars are spent.  As previously discussed, a trillion dollars is a hell of a lot of money.

Then there are the significant non-economic issues that will likely be determined in November, like the winner getting the right to make the (likely) Supreme Court nomination which will decide Roe v Wade.

In light of the stakes, how is it at all acceptable for the candidates to hold events for a few thousand supporters where they give the same stupid stump speech over and over again, when they could be appearing on national TV before tens of millions having their views tested by the media and each  other?  It would be one thing if the candidates were actively engaging their relatively small audiences at these events, as some sort of expression of direct voter involvement.  But for the crowd, it's mostly a lot of standing around waiting for the candidate to give his spiel.

Why do candidates want to campaign this way, anyway?  They exhaust themselves and create traffic jams all over the country to give safe, boring speeches  to small crowds of diehards.  A candidate with nothing to lose (like Romney) could embark a 21st century version of a Front porch campaign, constantly reaching millions of voters a day in interviews and televised speeches which can originate from anywhere in the world.

Of course, such wide distribution would preclude repeating the same material over and over again, as viewers would stop tuning in and networks would move on.  They would lose the safety and comfort of a canned stump speech.  It would be a risky move, but the huge amount of free media, not to mention good will from voters who become more informed/involved, might make it worthwhile.

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