As amusing as I found watching Vice President Joe Biden’s comical facial expressions and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s weak attempts at appearing sympathetic throughout the vice presidential debate, the event added little more than secondary advertisement for the presidential candidates.
The debate completely lacked information that was not premeditated and aligned beforehand with those of each respective presidential candidate, so what is the point? Vice presidential debates have outlasted their use.
I understand the idea behind giving the vice presidential candidates a voice of their own in a separate debate. Their allotted spot on national television allows them to become more than just the face of a running mate and presents them with a chance to speak on their personal values in terms of the campaign.
The theory of giving each man his own voice sounds wonderful. That theory, however, is not necessarily put into practice. Biden and Ryan were given the rare opportunity to voice their individual opinions but did little more than parrot the plans and ideas put forth by Obama and Romney.
Such streamlining tactics are needed to maintain a unified front for each party. I accept that, but why bother repeating what both presidential candidates have already said on multiple occasions? There is little to no point in doing so.
Nothing new or unexpected is raised in the vice presidential debates. Should anything of the sort be introduced, the possible split from the running mate’s platform could cause division in the public image and raise doubts about how well the two candidates would work together in one administration.
Voters might be confused about what side the party at large is upholding, creating a further schism. Having practiced responses, then, is a largely simple and effective way of creating a unified running platform. If maintaining a joint focus with no new surprises truly helps the presidential candidate, then it makes sense to simply eradicate the vice presidential debates.
I am not arguing against this streamlined process as a smart political maneuver. I am, however, maintaining that such a tactic renders the vice-presidential debates superfluous.
Coming into the debates, the American audience knows exactly what points will be raised and how each candidate will respond. Watching 90 minutes of two men who hope to help run our nation verbally rip each other to shreds may be some people’s preferred form of entertainment; to each his own. On a countrywide scale, however, the nation’s attention can be put to better use elsewhere.
The presidential debates, particularly in the town-hall setting, force the presidential candidates to think on the spot and respond to pointed questions delivered directly by the audience. This is useful for the nation. This is the information voters actually want to hear. The candidates’ responses provide the answers to many of the questions that will decide our vote.
Quite frankly, I don’t care how much the vice presidential candidates reword their sentences – they are simply paraphrasing what their running mates have already said. As a voter who is attempting to become more informed on the candidates that will potentially be leading our country for the next four years, I would rather not waste my time listening to repetitive copycats tell me information I already know.