I did not watch last night’s PBS debate, but these two You Tube videos seem to comprise the majority of what Congressman Paul had to say:
I thought Paul held his own well. He tailored his message to the audience and he generally stayed on point. He went off on tangents about Iraq in a couple of instances where he probably shouldn’t have (on questions that were not specifically about Iraq), and he got a little shrill-sounding and rambling a couple of times, but I think he fleshed out the justifications for his positions well considering the time allotted and it seemed that the black members of the audience were positive towards his positions on the war on drugs, sentencing laws, and the federal death penalty (or at least I didn’t note the same negative reaction as with the Fox News debate). I wish that the clips had shown the audience reaction to the other candidates’ positions so we could measure comparatively but overall this appearance seemed nicely handled by Ron Paul.
These sorts of forums aren’t very well suited to people like Paul. There is a fundamental problem in trying to shoe horn non-conventional thought into a 60 or 30 second sound-bite. It’s easy to simply sum up a concept most people are familiar with in that amount of time, but when what you have to say is alien to the audience you invariably need more time to explain it. As much as I hate Chomsky, he does make a very good point on this subject… I wish I could find a quote…
Here we go:
“Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it’s from Neptune.”
It’s a valid point and I realize that many of Paul’s problems stem from the rushed format, but I still think he did okay for the forum. It actually probably helped a bit that the frontrunners didn’t show up. At least it thinned out the pack a little bit so they could get the issues out. Unfortunately it probably also meant that less people were watching.