Debating with Myself

All I could think, watching Obama and Romney debate last night, was how furious Bill Clinton must have been with Barack: “There! Right there! Call him on that! He’s lyin’! He can’t back that up! Now’s your chance! Go for the throat! Arrgh, what’s wrong with you tonight, son?”

So many easy setups. So many misses.

The media got what it was looking for, an excuse to pretend it’s a close contest and keep us all glued to our TVs. Romney probably feels good this morning; Obama, one hopes, is considering a more aggressive strategy for the next debate.

Will the debate change anything? Are there really enough undecided voters at this point to make a difference? I don’t think so, but what do I know?

Lance Mannion’s thoughts on the debate echo mine, albeit in a more articulate and organized way.


At the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, Stephen Colbert delivered this famous zinger: “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.” I thought of that this morning, several days after getting pulled into a Facebook discussion on liberal bias in the media. One of the commenters on that thread took it as an article of faith that every journalist is a leftie. I thought that was dumb, and threw this turd into the punchbowl: “It’s not a liberal bias. It’s a bias toward the less stupid interpretation of events.”

I didn’t think of Colbert’s comment comment at the time, but I’ve reflected on it since. Clearly, some journalists are conservative and some are liberal. What most journalists (at least those outside the Fox News empire, at any rate) have is a bias toward reality, or, in my earlier words, “the less stupid interpretation of events.”

As a former aircraft accident investigator, I always look for root causes. At one time I thought the root of all biases was race. Now I think it’s stupidity, which I’ve come to define as a refusal to look reality in the face. From religious fundamentalism to white supremacism, from global warming denial to the embrace of trickle-down economics, the thing these generally “conservative” beliefs have in common is a refusal to face reality.

And that’s stupid.


I sprained my left knee a few weeks ago. It’s slowly getting better, but it’s not there yet. Yesterday, for the first time since I hurt myself, I spent three hours on my feet at the air museum. My left leg was screaming after the first hour. As long as I could keep walking, leading visitors from exhibit to exhibit, I was okay. But a lot of what I do is standing still while talking about the aircraft on display, and that’s when my knee lets me know it isn’t yet ready for prime time. I know it’s a trivial observation, and one we’ve all heard again and again, but injuries take longer to heal when you get older. When you’re a puritan like me, it kills you to wait it out.

Actually, I feel pretty good walking around today, so maybe I worked some of the kinks out yesterday. It’s the puritan whispering in my ear, I know, but I feel I’ll get better faster if I spend more time walking and standing.

Ha! Talk about denying reality! Well, I never said I wasn’t stupid too.

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