On Point With Catalina Byrd:Watch The Debate With A Discerning Ear (and Eye)
Tonight is the first of what will be three debates between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Expectation has been mounted on both sides but both parties for this first debate and what to listen for may seem hard to figure out.
If you watch cable news or listen to talk radio you have been lead to believe you are listening for “zingers” – what we pretty much consider someone “cracking slick” or “one-liners”. Zingers however do not give us any details or substance to make a more informed decision about what either candidate will or won’t do if elected (or re-elected respectively). The body language of both men will be discussed in great detail and considered to be a tell of whether or not they are genuine in what they are saying as they give their answers to the moderator. I seek to make this just a little bit easier to digest and get what you need from it.
First and foremost, debates of this magnitude have pre-determined subject matter, tonight’s will be Domestic Policy. Domestic Policy is exactly what it sounds like, it is the policies that apply to the services and conditions under which we that live here in the United States live under as dictated by the powers that be. In this election the key issues of domestic concern have been the economy, tax reform, Medicare, and unemployment. Expect for these three subjects to come up quite a bit under all kinds of different coded words like “entitlements”, “class warfare”, “joblessness”, and “fiscal cliff”. These are terms used to invoke emotions in you as voters and citizens to either strengthen your support of one candidate or against the other. DO NOT BE FOOLED BY THE RHETORIC! Know specifically what you want answered based on your concerns and listen intently for real answers about these issues.
To best listen for your issues it helps to know what they are. Let’s begin with this now infamous statement by Mitt Romney about the “47% that don’t pay their fair share”. Well more than likely if you are reading this than you are in that 47% – this is a number comprised of those in the military, seniors, those that due to their income and number of children get to benefit from the Earned Income Credit (EIC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) resulting in an income tax refund instead of you paying Federal Income tax. Many of you are not only employed but also do not receive any type of government assistance or participate in any social service programs. The economy however is still an issue for you as you have seen the cost of everything from gas to food go up – you want to know, what is the plan to ease the burden on your pocket so that you can do more for your family without being considered lazy or taking advantage of “the system”? Additional tax cuts to the wealthiest of Americans while still making budget cuts mean that the money will have to come from somewhere – will it be an increase in your taxes? Don’t expect these questions to be asked directly or answered directly but listen carefully all the same – you’ll need to be able to compare these answers to those that will be given in other debates to come for consistency.
If you are under the age of 55 than the discussion about Medicare is one that you should pay extra special attention to. It is us, the generation still very far away from retirement, that stands to not have Medicare as we know it available to us when we retire and it is needed. While many of us may not find ourselves dependent on Social Security benefits the ability to receive medical care after we are no longer a part of the work force is a concern that we may not have right now but must be listening for now – as it will be influenced during this time that we are witnessing. These decisions will no doubt effect us in our future so we must be vigilant now about the merits of our current system vs. a voucher system that has been proposed. Do you think that the cost of health care will be more affordable in the decades to come? What if anything indicates that to you?
The issue of jobs will also come up a lot tonight. Who can create more jobs? What kind of jobs? What type of longevity do these jobs have? Outsourcing (job being sent overseas for cheaper labor) will be blamed for why we are without some jobs, while an unskilled work force will be attributed to why we have jobs that are unable to be filled, what can be done about this and how does this impact the working poor? Those are the individuals that have jobs and still do not make enough to make all ends meet and do rely on the assistance of family and community programs to fill in the gaps that their incomes are unable to. Does this apply to you? What has been your greatest challenge finding employment? What else contributes to your inability to maximize your earning potential to bring you closer to the ever sought “American Dream”?
Create a note sheet to jot down the answers to these questions as you hear them this evening, if there are questions you find you are still unable to answer after watching – note that also, and after the debate we will return to decipher together what was said, what wasn’t, and what was implied or wasn’t. Join me tonight as I live tweet during the debate using the hashtag #OnPointWatch with my @RadioOnPoint co-host @SeanBreeze. We are open to taking your questions as the debates goes on and hope to be there to bring clarity to you over the duration of this process leading into November 6, 2012.
Debate airs 6-7:30pm PST/9-10:30pm EST on all cable and local news networks.
Written by @CatalinaByrd
Poet, Political Pundit & Host of On-Point Radio, a non partisan political talk show that welcomes all views. On-Point can be heard on Tues @ 11am on WPBradio.com. For more info email: Catalina.firstname.lastname@example.org