Okay. As I said, I’ve watched the debate. Aaaaaand it’s a bit of a snoozer. My opinion from last night still stands. The response to the debate has been, generally, pretty spot on.
Seriously. President Barack Obama lacked a lot of the wit and rhetoric that makes him popular at rallies and speeches. He lacked the barbs required to truly pop the balloon of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. While he generally tended to actually lay out his plans decently well with some details, something he was chided for not doing much of in 2008, he lacked that passion that made him popular in 2008. Passion and nonchalance that made Bill Clinton’s DNC speech so well received. He’ll need to bring the fire and rhetoric to his next debate, or he’ll see his reelection chances slip away.
Meanwhile, Romney did well with being more personable, comparative to both the president and to, well, himself. And he did seem more playful, opening his arguments with a decent joke. The reason Romney “won” is because he came off as the stronger, more confident, more aggressive opponent.
What’s truly unfortunate about these debates, however, is that the content doesn’t actually matter all that much. Facts don’t matter. See, most of the fact-checking organizations I’ve found post-debate have agreed: Romney lied his butt off through the entire thing. Maybe it’s a famous (and seriously overplayed) reboot or Etch-a-Sketch moment for Romney, in which he once again says “Forget all that stuff I said I believe before, listen to what I say I believe now.” Meanwhile, Fox News and the Drudge Report are trying to nail Obama for things he said in 2007 (which they already tried to nail him for) and in the 1990s. But, honestly, if you just Google “Fact Check Presidential Debate,” you’ll find tons of sources that go through bit by bit what was said at that debate. And you’ll find that both candidates stretched the truth throughout. However, you’ll tend to find that Romney did it more, and more often. That he would flat lie while Obama would more often just misguide people when he slipped up.
That’s one reason I wish there were live fact checks. Because in our instant gratification nation, people don’t care about looking up the facts for themselves. They take what’s given to them, most of the time. They judge instantly for themselves and let it lie. That’s why this “Number truthers” bullcrap has been so popular amongst conservatives. I refer to today’s earlier report about unemployment. Unemployment numbers have dropped to 7.8 percent, the first time in four years it’s been below 8 percent. It’s a big deal, and a big boost for Obama. And along comes Jack Welch on Twitter, saying “Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers.”
Clearly, these numbers, which make the president look good, can’t be real. Clearly, if anything good happens, Obama is cheating and paying people off.
It’s distressing that so many people in this country want to see this country ruined just so their candidate can win an election. And it’s distressing that telling falsehoods confidently, with more panache than your opponent, can mean you “win” a debate. Granted, it’s politics. Lying and misleading is part of the game. But wouldn’t it be great if the moderator or opponent could confidently call them out? Or, frankly, ANYONE? Just hit the Taboo buzzer and say, “False.” Maybe get Rainn Wilson to do it.
I don’t know what the issues of the next debate are. Nor do I know who the moderator will be, or what style it will be in. But Obama will need to attack. He didn’t once bring up Romney’s 47 percent comment, which was a massively missed opportunity for him. Even Bill O’Reilly was confused at that choice.
If you missed the debate, you can still find it on Youtube here. I implore you to look at the facts, though. And don’t be a Jack Welch. Don’t hope for disaster for either candidate. Hope the nation improves, and hope the facts of their campaigns are what prevail.