I watched the debate on PBS, with people like Gwen Ifill doing the post-debate analysis. I need reasonable, intelligent voices, not demagoguery and media theatre in the post-debate analysis. I love PBS. After my experience dealing with negative commentary by NBC/other media on Black Olympic athletes and patriotism regarding Black athletes, I lost interest in some of those cable outlets where any form of analysis is concerned. For me, PBS is the way to go. I watched the DNC on PBS, in fact.
Overall, Romney “performed” better, but not for the reasons many propose (i.e. Romney being “smarter” or better at debating). Obama is already the more “likeable” candidate by a huge margin. Thus, there really was no room for him to move up. Further, he’s known as a great speaker and debater, so honestly he would’ve had to shake the entire room to exceed any previous expectation.
Romney, however, has been described as not human, cold, robotic and disconnected. The debate was one of the first times where he seemed really human, dynamic in emotional expression and connection, and provided responses and ideas as complete thoughts unlike as past instances on camera. He also didn’t seem like the pretentious assclown that he did during the Republican debates, though he was still pretentious. He made a major change in presentation that was distant enough from any past presentations that the net difference is larger than any net difference for Obama. Thus, it will be perceived as “better.” Kind of like…a D student who raises his GPA to a B- average will get more praise than a B+ student who maintained his B+ average.
I thought it was interesting that he made a claim about Obama not being entitled to his own facts and mentioned repeating something over and over doesn’t make it true. This is comical since these are two things the GOP are notorious for. In a Karl Rove-approved fashion, he took something that is a Republican wound and affixed it to Obama’s actions.
Obama answered many questions better than Romney did, especially on healthcare and education. I think they answered tax questions equally as well. The problem is that some of Obama’s tax answers did not always seem true and Romney’s tax answers did not seem even remotely plausible. Further, much of Romney’s spiel seemed like a completely different Romney. Nothing he said matches previous proposals. Even Obama said so himself in Denver, today.
Romney had a better closing statement. While his assertions about what will occur under Obama’s presidency do not seem true, the juxtaposing statements of what will happen if Obama stays versus what he will do was a good way to set up the closing statement.
Ultimately, Romney “performing” better does not mean his ideas will work (I cannot imagine how, his previous ideas or what he said last night). Both candidates were less superfluous and flaky than I thought they would be, but still not as substantial as I would have hoped. Further, “performing” better means nothing really. This isn’t theatre. This is serious. Most voters aren’t going to change their minds. Undecided voters are the smallest group of voters this election and in comparison to any previous election. I don’t think Romney won over a single Independent or Democratic voter.
The worst thing of all was the hit Romney made on PBS. Why was that even necessary? Was that just to appease the typical anti-intellectual GOP types who dislike PBS, NPR and the like? Would that really help the deficit? NPR has already faced GOP attacks in the past. Anyway, PBS released a statement in response to Romney’s attack last night.
The federal investment in public broadcasting equals about one one-hundredth of one percent of the federal budget. Elimination of funding would have virtually no impact on the nation’s debt. Yet the loss to the American public would be devastating.
Obama still has to be President AND campaign. Romney only has to campaign and collect investment income like he did last year. No matter what, Romney has that advantage.
Ultimately, it felt like a reality show where surface issues were discussed and many of the issues that plague the people I care about and many Americans, especially of colour, weren’t really mentioned and may be ignored in the next Presidential term. In other words, politics as usual.