Presidential debates — now that’s entertainment

Full disclosure: I’m not that into politics.

To me, it was a topic that engendered conversation that either devolved into frenzied shouting matches of unparalleled meanness, or mushroomed into nauseatingly smug party babble that was basically, “Yay, we’re on the same team! The other side sucks!”

Debates? They were horrifyingly boring, with various pols vying to spew the most public-pleasing soundbites that may or may not be true about policies that may or may not be enacted in the future (but most certainly would not retain the original form of any promise) that may or may not actually help people.

Until this year.

I mean, I still think a lot of it is drivel. And you can’t quite believe either side (take a look at the fact checks for the recent VP debate here). But this year, I find myself watching with open-mouthed wonder.

Any way you slice it, these candidates are major power brokers. They shape policy that decides our future. These are our leaders. Now. Not someday. They already wield unfathomable influence. And yet there they are, on television and the Internet, being manipulative, openly derisive, loud and in-your-face rude to the moderators and each other, cutting each other off and/or talking over each other.

These election debates have all the high drama of a soap opera. (I think I even caught President Obama doing a “smelling the fart” look.) If the Romney-Obama debate was like watching the glammed-out, perfectly hair-sprayed pouffed Alexis of “Dynasty” coil around the lovely yet fragile, eyelid-fluttering Krystle, the Biden-Ryan debate was like watching Snooki punch JWoww in the boob.

I couldn’t look away.

Is it just me, or does anyone else remember the days when debates consisted of remarks delivered in flat tones with occasional dry jabs that elicited low chuckles? Nowadays, the debates are all about the divas.

And the grinning. The grinning! There’s so much teeth being shown at these debates I’m beginning to suspect that toothpaste makers have rented space on them and ads will appear on them when viewed in blacklight. But I think that teeth-baring is what won the day in those respective debates.

These debates — it’s not about what’s being said. These are party lines and talking points. These debates don’t reveal a candidate’s true character. One cannot watch these debates and say with 100% confidence that they “know” the candidate or what they will do in the next four years.

But people like people who are smiling. They are drawn to those who smile. They want to be in on the joke, too. Winning is grinning. Wait and see: Whoever smirks the most, and with the most confidence will win the next debate.

And that will be amusing to see.

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President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney participate the first presidential debate in Denver, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

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Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin participate in the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Rick Wilking)

Jammie Karlman is the entertainment editor for the Chico Enterprise-Record. Contact her at Follow her on Twitter @JammieKarlman

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