04 October 2012
THE MORNING AFTER
Well, the first 2012 presidential election debate is history. Romney spun a litany of lies and self-contradictions, while Obama told his own selective version of domestic policy. Neither was held accountable or challenged by moderator Jim Lehrer, who lost control of the debate to Romney's steam roller tactics early on.
For what it's worth, here is Fact Check's analysis, point by point. Thanks goodness for non-partisan observers to help us keep rhetoric and fact clear.
Romney scored points for assertiveness, sometimes to the point of rudeness. Obama scored points for courtesy, sometimes to the point of appearing passive. I found the debate format to be cumbersome, and moderator Lehrer's questions to be uselessly open-ended (how many times did he ask "how are you and your opponent different on this issue?") It's his job to ask specific questions which evoke specific answers, allowing the viewers to draw their own conclusions. Having the candidates delineate both their own and their opponent's views only invited canned talking points, with no clear debate rules (not even insisting that the candidates discipline themselves to respecting time limits) meant that an entire segment of the planned series of topics had to be discarded altogether. Which might have been evidence of trying to pack too much discussion into too short a time frame.
I hope that the remaining debates will be conducted with more rigor and less posturing. It is not informative to the electorate to watch two men arguing over who said what. Let's talk about substantive facts and policy. I don't mind if the candidates challenge each other, so long as the result is illuminating. Last night was dim and disappointing.