Bookmark and Share

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Scenes Behind a Senate Debate - No That's Not Batman

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Scenes from Behind a (Senate) Debate

I had the privilege of observing the recent TV Senate debate between Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Rick Noriega and the Libertarian candidate.

It was unique because it was hosted by PBS Channel 8 but was filmed at the KHOU Channel 11 studio because of all the damage to the PBS facility caused by Hurricane IKE. So it was a unique mix of people from TV channels, the media, the League of Women Voters (which also has male members, including me recently), AARP sponsors, and the campaigns.

I commend KHOU for making this alternative filming possible for KUHF, especially considering that their studios are smaller than those in those at Fox and the other Houston TV stations.

The pre-debate negotiations were intense, from what I saw. Each campaign wanted its own makeup room (yep). One wanted a separate entrance. The negotiations included the size and spacing of the podiums. Sen. Cornyn’s office asked that a certain camera angle be avoided (I don’t know which).

When I entered the studio during the setup the host Ernie Manouse was walking around with a big smile --and tissue paper surrounding his collar, looking like a character from Charles Dickens or an old English court. I asked him if I had walked in on the wrong century. He laughed and said it kept the powder off his clean white shirt until the filming started.

We moved to the large conference room where I saw the drawing for the order of debate. First draw was for who would be on which podium (left, center, right) and the second draw was for –more importantly— which campaign got the big conference room, the medium size one and the small one for makeup and blogging. LOL. Sen. Cornyn did not attend, but left the drawing to a couple staff members.

The Libertarian candidate, Ms. Shick, volunteered to take the smallest room, which was nice of her. Rep. Noreiga won the big conference room. At that point it would be used for maybe 15 – 20 minutes before the debate started.

During the debate, one of the ladies watching it from the Green Room behind the studio said: “Senator Cornyn looks like he has a “Batman” costume behind him.” Sure enough the dark Texas flags positioned behind Sen. Cornyn -- and the fact he was in the center podium facing the camera head on -- made him look like “Batman.”

After she said it every time I saw the shot it looked like a Batman background set. It certainly added some humor to a very dull debate.

I think of it -- and still get a laugh from the Batman incident--especially when the news about the global financial meltdown gets too depressing, like when the G7 met for a whole 30 minutes and went home after doing nothing.

It looks like we need to hang on, and find a laugh where you can, until November 4 brings us some real leadership. Whoever gets it will inherit the biggest mess since the Great Depression. It will take global action to fix it. I don’t think “Batman” will save us from this crisis.

It’s ironic that a Republican administration is the one proposing a “socialist” investment in banks – which is working in Europe’s crisis. It came only after everything else has failed.

But an article in today’s Houston Chronicle, which is linked on my blog, by former Lt. Governor Bill Hobby, shows the path to success, based on what Jesse Jones did in Houston in the 1930’s – and no Houston banks failed. He proposed it to JP Morgan for New York and Mr. Ford for Michigan – both refused his advice and their banks failed.

Maybe the Power Rangers will need to be called in.

No comments: