DAVID ROSMAN: Who called in the adults?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

Whoa, where did the adults come from? Monday was supposed to be the continuing battle of the 5-year-olds, but the adults arrived instead.

The idea for the pre-third-debate version of this column was that of two kindergartners battling in front of their weary teacher over some obscure thing one might or might not of said or did or both. Interrupting, spewing out nonsense and accusations and generally putting up their verbal dukes in a mixed-martial-arts-style fight.

But wait, didn’t … No, it did not happen. There was no deviating from the course thanks to Bob Schieffer’s unwillingness to take any grief from Mr. Romney who strived to get in the last word, per his inner 5-year-old. Good man, that Bob. He might be “mature,” but he takes no guff from the children.

You will be getting enough analysis concerning the third presidential debate, so I won’t go into the details that were swarming in my brain Monday evening. I will say that President Obama seemed to take control early, though his ailment of “Debatis Intruptus” lingered.

Both committed errors in their “facts,” as we have come to learn during this campaign. PolitiFact was having a field day tweeting and posting through the 93 minutes of give and take. However, if one looks at the site today, you will find that only Romney got a “pants on fire” rating for “the apology tour.”

The one thing I notice was the number of times Romney agreed on the way the current administration was handling the various crises, domestic and foreign. Even his “structured bankruptcy” plan with its government guaranties was not too dissimilar than Obama’s.

If the children had reappeared for the third debate, I would have strongly considered voting for Pat Paulsen or Alfred E. Neuman, or both as co-presidents. Yes, Paulsen is dead and Alfred is only found within the pages of Mad Magazine, but the latter’s political position is worth its weight in gold: “What? Me worry?” Or Bobby McFerrin with his “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

Both candidates were right concerning our members of Congress working together rather than the hunkering down in the trenches of their very own Maginot Line. The media have noticed the changes since the Clinton administration and Newt Gingrich’s takeover of the House. Members used to stay in Washington on weekends, would have dinner together, go to parties thrown by their opposites — they used to talk to each other. Today campaigning is all about the money and divisiveness, the differences rather than the similarities, and when Congress is not in session, its members are digging for gold, not talking with the other guy or gal.  

Washington, Jefferson, Adams and many of the other Founders did not want political parties, but the elections of 1798 and 1800 put an end to that. We are not a parliamentary government requiring coalitions to work, so third and fourth parties are more spoilers than change. Just ask activist Ralph Nader or my friend Dick Lamm, former governor of Colorado and presidential candidate.

While I believe that leaving the Libertarians and Green Partiers out of the debates is wrong, the limitations set by the Commission of Presidential Debates are also reasonable or else the Road Rage Party would want a seat.

The press and pollsters generally agree that the debates will make little difference in the outcome of the national election. I extend this to all elections, including our very own Senate, House and state races. I just don’t understand how the voting public makes its choices other than the “anyone but” rule. It seems to have overtaken our process.

I will place my votes based on something else — which candidate is living in the 21st century. Todd Akin certainly isn’t; he appears to be stuck in the 18th century — maybe — concerning women’s issues. Romney sits on the crux of the 18th and 19th centuries, sometimes in the beginning of the 20th. There is something about his positions on defense that needs to be questioned.

I will be voting for the candidates who share my humanistic ideals, who reflect Mario Cuomo’s words, that peace is better than war because life is better than death. For the ones who see the greed of the upper socioeconomic class and the poverty of the lowest is not a good thing. Most important, for the ones who understand the First Amendment and refuse to bring religion into our secular government.

David Rosman is an editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. Questions? Contact Opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.

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John Schultz October 25, 2012 | 12:10 a.m.

If you want to hear the third-party candidates that Mr. Rosman derides as only spoilers, you can hear four of them at the C-SPAN link below:

Sad how Rosman just writes off a two-term governor, a former mayor of Salt Lake City, and a former US House member, but predictable.

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