|Something's not quite right here...|
Firstly, I'd like to say that if you did not watch the debate, and you're getting your information and impressions from news agencies that are playing key clips along with some commentary, you aren't getting the full story. I highly recommend watching the full debate and judging the pros, cons, wins, and losses for yourself. (As any good Rioter should do.) For your convenience, Politico.com has put together a complete transcript - so you can read the answers in black and white - alongside a video of the full, unedited debate. I strongly recommend reading/watching if you haven't.
For the first half hour, Obama seemed overly relaxed, mildly annoyed, and altogether as though he were lecturing the crowd. Let me be clear, I actually quite like the President. I'm rather pleased with his performance while in office, and I've always been quite impressed with his debate performances. Thus, my surprise when he didn't come out punching. Rather, that honor went to the challenger: Mitt Romney.
Let's discuss what an undecided voter might have seen early on in the debate. One challenger was citing studies, rather than saying "studies show", more often than his opponent. That guy would be Romney. (Again, early on.) To an undecided voter, or to a voter who hasn't really been paying attention to the election coverage, this seems as though Romney is a more prepared, more informed candidate. Substantively speaking, much of what he said has been ripped apart by fact checkers. Though, I've heard a lot of people saying the same about Obama. Not quite as many, but they're there. So...let's scrap that for right now. Each side can do the 'gotcha' thing on facts. (Sadly. I would love a perfectly honest debate. I would also love to win the lottery. Which one's more likely?)
The topic was the economy, which most non-partisan commentators will admit is totally Romney's wheelhouse. While the President knows his stuff when it comes to the economy - and has done, in this Rioter's opinion, some pretty awesome stuff to turn a damaged economy around - he didn't come off as able to translate the complicated nature of economic discussion to a digestible bite for the everyday voter. That's something Clinton was great at, and Obama can do it, but he didn't last night. At least...not in the first 45 minutes or so.
It took the President quite a while to warm up in the debate, to smile, to be the guy who has a personal approval rating that still remains high, relatively speaking.
All this being said, I don't believe either candidate had a bad debate. The President did well, but Romney landed a few more early punches, and Obama didn't slay him like many hoped he would. For a decided voter, you're probably not changing your views based on last night. For an undecided voter, however, you might be leaning Right come today. Or...you might not.
A note about other topics: Quite a number of people were outraged that issues like civil rights, marriage equality, race relations, immigration reform, and a host of other domestic issues weren't addressed in the first debate - which was billed as being about 'domestic' issues. What should be remembered are these things:
- There are 3 major topic sets that will (probably) be addressed in each of the three debates: The Economy, Foreign Policy, Social Issues. In that order.
- They are in that order for a reason. Statistically, if people aren't making money or pleased with their tax rates, they are less likely to care about foreign issues and much less likely to care about social issues.
- Unless you belong to one of the minority groups that would benefit from a change in social/civil issues, they are statistically not more important to you than what the President will do to ensure your job security/creation, etc.
So for all those folks who are raging that the debate didn't involve the heated topic of women's rights, the fact that both parties have put gay marriage on their party platforms (for and against, respectively), immigration reform, or a number of other issues.... You will have your turn.
After the candidates discuss little things like whether we should go to war in yet another country or exactly how to deal with China. You know...nothing special.
How did YOU feel about the debates? Did you watch them? Did you avoid them like the Plague?
Love and Lyte,