Scripted US Presidential Debates
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Debates aren’t what they seem when Republicans and undemocratic Dems face off against each other during intra-party contests to win over voters.
So-called presidential debates are well-rehearsed, scripted theater — featuring bombast over substance, slogans and one-liners over solutions, and promises made to be broken if elected.
Republicans and Dems are two sides of the same coin, not a dime’s worth of difference between them on issues mattering most — notably war over peace, corporate empowerment over governance serving everyone equitably, and police state harshness over the rule of law.
Elections when held are farcical. Dirty business as usual wins every time. Ordinary Americans have no say over how they’re governed, including not over how their tax dollars are misused — most discretionary amounts going for militarism, warmaking, and corporate handouts.
Independent voices are largely shunned. They’re excluded from presidential debates except their own, not covered by cable and broadcast channels — Republicans and Dems alone featured on the national stage.
US-style democracy is none at all, existing in name only, wrapped in the American flag — symbol of the imperial state.
The corporate/party boss-run Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) controls the sham process, repeating each electoral cycle.
Establishment media pretend what goes on is democracy in action. Independent party candidates showing up to watch risk arrest and detention, participation out of the question.
On Tuesday, 10 largely cookie-cutout Dem aspirants delivered pre-scripted remarks in Miami, the first round of much more of the same by candidates of both wings of the US war party in the run-up to the November 2020 presidential election.
On Thursday, 10 more Dems face off against each other. What’s key is what politicians do in office, not what they say.
Candidate Obama promised hope and change, peace in our time, observance of democratic values, ending torture and illegal spying, a “new era of openness,” closing Guantanamo in one year, “two states (Israel and Palestine) living side by side in peace and security” — among other promises he systematically breached.
On Afghanistan, he said the following on October 27, 2007:
“I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do.”
“I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this (and the Iraq) war(s). You can take that to the bank.”
Years later he bragged about bombing seven countries, saying: “As commander-in-chief, I have not shied away from using force when necessary (sic)” — against nations threatening no one, he failed to explain, adding:
“I have ordered tens of thousands of young Americans into combat…order(ing) military actions in seven countries” — along with partnering with Israeli wars of aggression on defenseless Gazans.
Candidate Trump vowed “never (to) send our finest into battle unless necessary, and I mean absolutely necessary, and will only do so if we have a plan for victory with a capital V,” adding:
“The world must know that we do not go abroad in search of enemies” — what he’s done throughout his tenure, escalating wars he inherited, heading for devastating war on Iran, what White House rhetoric and body language suggest.
Whoever succeeds him in 2021 or 2025 will likely pursue the same warrior, pro-corporate, anti-populist agenda — campaign promises made long forgotten.
Wall Street, the military, industrial, security, media complex, and other monied interests demand things this way. Presidents and key congressional members salute and obey.
It’s how fantasy democracy in America works, perpetually at war, serving privileged interests exclusively at the expense of world peace and the general welfare.
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My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”