Forget what you read in the papers or saw on the tube, the real winners from Wednesday's "debate" were Barack Romney and Mitt Obama. They were able to prevent any independent voices from appearing on the stage in Denver as they held their little soundbite-a-thon.
Both candidates deftly avoided talking about the plight of the poor (and the working poor) during the telecast. Mr. Obama raised his not-so populist flag as the champions of the amorphous and undefined middle class. He was concerned with how taxes and healthcare and education and social security would affect the nebulous middle class.
He never once raised Mr. Romney's comment about writing off 47% of the voting population because, well, to put it bluntly, he doesn't give a fuck about them either. They're certainly not the folks who are writing the big checks to the campaign.
As for Mr. Romney, his continued insistence that the market is the best regulator of health care and that the market will provide the means for reducing costs would be comical if people weren't buying it hook, line and sinker. You see, Mr. Romney, the market is what has allowed the cost of health care to escalate at a faster pace than the rate of inflation. To make the claim, with what passes for a straight face, that if we would just leave the market alone the cost of health care would fall to reasonable levels is quite the feat.
Neither man challenged the assumption that defense spending should be cut back significantly. While Mr. Romney calls for cutting every part of the budget except for defense, Mr. Obama is so scared of being labeled "soft" on defense that he refuses to consider serious cuts to the Pentagon's budget. If you want to cut the deficit - just slash the defense budget by 50%. Problem solved.
Neither candidate wanted to talk about the National Defense Authorization Act (and Jim Lehrer wasn't about to ask hard questions). Neither spoke out against the provisions allowing for indefinite detention for American citizens. Neither candidate spoke out about illegal wiretapping and domestic surveillance by the government. Despite a persistently high unemployment rate, neither candidate spoke of using federal dollars to revive the jobs programs of the New Deal.
Of course, had you watched, or listened to, Democracy Now!'s expanded coverage of the debate, you would have heard from the Green Party's candidate, Jill Stein, and the Justice Party's candidate, Rocky Anderson, answer the same questions asked of Obama and Romney. You would have heard two people talking about the real problems that face this country and not just the talking points handed out by the political operatives. You would have heard a discussion about health care and the single payer plan. You would have heard the candidates discussing the NDAA and its implications. You would have heard two candidates who haven't been bought by the corporate interests.
But most folks didn't because they have been socialized that the Republicrats and Democans, the Twiddle-dee and Twiddle-dum of the political world, are the only way to go. Part of the reason we are in this mess is because we have entrusted our future to two political organizations that care about nothing more than preserving their power and privilege in Washington.