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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Obama/Romney Debates: 10/03/12



Well, it just happened. So let's cut to the chase. Before hand, both campaigns pretty much transmitted what their candidates were expected to do: Romney would work in some zingers, and Obama would address the American people directly. Romney talked over the commentator, Obama looked annoyed. If you were to judge based on style, Romney won if you like scripted aggression...and Obama won, if you like a calm, intellectual approach (scripted as well). Stylistically, it's a draw.

When it comes to content, however, I see Romney in a world of trouble. Flat-out, straight up...that man is full of shit. Now, if you like Tucker Carlson, you probably like a president (or candidate) to feed you a little BS. We can have a fair and mature conversation about policy disagreements, but Mitt Romney lied a lot. A LOT. Not just about policy, but he flat-out contradicted things that he has said RECENTLY.

However you want to define the performances, the fact remains: The President didn't kill it.  It's a bummer, but it's a fact. The President thinks that Romney is beneath him; his disdain was extremely apparent. He relied WAY TOO MUCH on that disaster Jim Lehrer to take control of the debate...which he certainly did not. This was not a strong "visual" performance. The question is...does that matter?

It doesn't to me, but I follow this shit; a lot of people do not. The so-called "low information voter", may see Romney's assertiveness as a sign of strength, and just assume that he is right and better. And it didn't help that Obama wouldn't even look at Romney, and Romney stared at Obama most of the time. Obama's eye-rolling didn't help either. Romney looked eager. Obama look aggravated.

This conjures up stories about the Kennedy/Nixon debates-- the people that heard it on the radio versus the people that saw it on television. People would say that Nixon won on substance and Kennedy won on appearance. This is kinda like the same thing for me. And for me, the thing that's most important to me is the content. Content-wise, Obama won that debate by a LONG shot. But I don't know if this debate will be judged on content.

There are going to be A LOT of disappointed liberals and progressives. There was no talk of 47% or Bain Capital, not to mention that the president did not push back hard enough on Romney's BS. This is the criticism that Obama always gets, that he's not "angry" enough. Instead of Shaft, we get Lucius Fox. Even though Obama never displays anger, people are always expecting it from him.

After this, I don't like Obama any less. And Romney-lovers will love him much more now. The undecided voters...meh. I honestly think there is way too much hype over this group. Now, this race has REALLY begun. And that's a good thing. After WEEKS of Romney acting like an idiot, he finally did something right.

So Obama didn't nail it. Don't hate him for it. Honestly, I think there has been way too much lefty complacency lately. From the Romney/Ryan screw-ups to the toppling of voter suppression laws, things have been going VERY, VERY well for the last few week. And now...style may very well beat substance. BUT...maybe not.

Will this actually work? Will the straight, mature, direct approach beat out hyper assertiveness? Doesn't seem like the pundits think so, but they don't get it either; they have been saying all along that the President should be down in the polls because of the economy...but he is not. Can months of lying and weeks of screw-ups be forgotten due a "strong" debate performance?

One down...three to go (including the VP debate).