Saturday, August 18, 2007

Barack Obama to Skip Future Debates and Forums

Barack Obama is Planning to Skip Debates and Forums this Fall.

Small Excerpt:

Inundated by dozens of invitations, Sen. Barack Obama will turn down requests to join future debates and forums this fall, his Democratic presidential campaign announced Saturday.

Obama will honor his commitment to eight more debates (five sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee, one by the Spanish-language broadcaster Univision and two in Iowa), but he does not plan to accept many invitations for forums, where the candidates appear sequentially.

Shocker of the Century:I have an opinion on this. Now I value these debates a lot. In fact, I didn't come around to supporting one of my candidates (Hillary Clinton) until I saw how impressive, smart, and commanding she was at the Democratic debates. But from where I'm sitting, I see this as highly unfortunate and potentially harmful for the same freshman Senator who has struggled to convince voters that he has some substance. I can think of two possible reasons for the campaign to do this (for the record I'm not buying the campaign's 'we need to not do these debates because they aren't the bottom-up grassroots movement that propelled Obama to every college freshman's Myspace and Facebook profiles.' This is about strategy, plain and simple - NOT values or ideology.

The First reason: Obama is afraid of losing more ground from Hillary's continued command of the debate and candidate forums. In fact, in the past couple months he's 'slipped up' (depending on one's definition and objectivity) at least three times, and these slipups have had a negative effect on his campaign. By limiting the amount of opportunities for slipups, Obama is in a sense doing preemptive damage control. I think this may be partly responsible, but not fully. I think the real reason is the second reason.

The Second Reason: Obama has been unable to make significant inroads into Hillary's commanding lead, and in fact her lead has been growing (both nationally and in key primary states...with a grain of salt for those polls of course). Going to these debate and forums takes valuable time away from retail politics and other events, time where Obama might stand a decent chance of chipping away at Hillary's lead (I think most of us will agree that Hillary probably isn't going to choke at a debate anytime soon...on the campaign trail though, Obama is definitely more charismatic to most). So in an effort to give himself more time to campaign and have a chance against Hillary, something had to get the ax.

And unfortunately for me and other debate aficionados, Mr. Obama's choice will serve to limit the quality of such debates and forums.



Kristina said...

As much as I too love debates, there are so many that I'm losing track. And I'm a political junkie, I can't imagine what other people feel.

He has agreed to honor the 8 more debates from now until December. I personally think that is plenty.

aria ghafari said...

i echo kristina. you guys know how nerdy i am with this stuff, and i forgot to watch a lot of the last "forums" or "debates". hell i don't even have enough energy to youtube them right now. 8 more debates over 6 months sounds about right.