I was irked this morning as I listened to the radio on the way in to work. A man was criticizing one of the vice presidential candidates, calling him “Mr. Infomercial.” The gist of the conversation was that facts and figures have no place in a debate. The last thing I heard the guy say was he hoped the other candidate would show the first how to really debate.

I’ll be going to see “Atlas Shrugged: Part II” tomorrow. The concept of debating without information impressed me as worse than any “absurdity” penned into a Rand or Orwell novel. The turning off of one’s mind was reminiscent of a major candidate’s web site that asked one to provide their zip code and answer the question, “Are you in?” before proceeding to other pages. What is the objective in requiring supporters to prove their loyalty by answering a nonsense question?

Watching the debates tonight, there were a couple more things that annoyed. First was the fact that neither candidate, in addressing the nation’s financial woes, said anything about, “Then what?” Mention was made of guaranteeing Medicare, but how can one guarantee disbursements from an empty account? Any time a candidate attempted to move from rhetoric to substance, there was an interruption. I wondered if that was because the public wasn’t smart enough to handle facts they probably already know. Or maybe they were just staving off a run on the markets.

The other pet peeve I shall mention is the way politicians talk about accounting. They seem to expect the ignorant masses to demand concrete numbers, to the penny. Even the moderator boofed in appearing not to understand that leadership typically sets thresholds, and leaves department heads to prioritize funding needs.