So the conservatives (read: evangelicals) in this country are all crazy about this religion forum that McCain and Obama participated in over the weekend. I watched most of it and was largely unimpressed by either one. Actually, I wasn't just unimpressed by the candidates I was surprised that this pseudo political dribble even made it on air. Supposedly it was going to be a milestone in the campaign were both candidates try to sway the religious vote to their side. Obama went first with the pastor asking series of questions in particular subject areas interspersed with light hearted comments after the candidates answers. He really should have just shut up and let the candidates answer. It was like he was talking to a child trying to work their way through a math problem..."good job their little guy, you're almost there...don't give up." Either that or he was letting his congregation know when an answer had met his approval so they knew what to think without having to specifically decide for themselves. Obama was also asked to define what "rich" was. He said anyone making more than $250,000 per annum. Seems reasonable to me but what about his repealing tax cuts for the rich...is that only people who make more than that level. Or is he repealing tax cuts for the middle class the way his plan would suggest? Hmmm....a contradiction? He also quoted bible verse which beyond my usual aversion to such things from political candidates made me throw up in my mouth a little bit. I know why he was doing it but there is only so much pandering I can take in one sitting. Unfortunately, Mr. McCain is also skilled in such things and he was up next. He was also pretty dull and less than inspiring, though I could have guessed that was coming. He made a special point of mentioning his 25+ year pro-life record and that his would be a "pro-life presidency". Ummm...OK. While I disagree with that particular stance for more than a few reasons I can perfectly understand why it is so very important to other people with their own particular world views. But I started to wonder...why is it that the media always talks about the democratic party taking the black vote for granted and they don't talk about the republicans doing the same thing for the evangelicals. Instead, the evangelicals are the party "base." Why is it that the minority vote in this country isn't also the democratic party "base." Or even the notion that republicans totally pander to the evangelicals in this country and make it a one issue contest over abortion. I know its a big issue to a lot of very prominent and very religious people but surely they must also care about other things beyond abortion and gun rights. I was thinking about adding in the hastening of rapture through the rebuilding of the temple but I'm still not sure I believe that as a motive for the christian right. Besides the point, what it comes down to is that both political parties have sunken to the lowest common denominator and no longer try to persuade the middle of the road "swing votes" instead they try to "get out the vote." That is, they want to energize the people who already agree with them (because its easier than thinking) to get out there and just vote. How I long for a political debate in this country where parties and candidates spar over the issues with data and dialog rather than diatribe and dribble. I wish that november was next month so I could get my vote out of the way and then begin to recover from the depression that will inevitable accompany it. Patrick OUT!!!