Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Debates

Obama - 1
Romney - 1

The rubber match will take place next Monday. Stay tuned.
In other news:

Tigers - 3
Yankees - 0

Giants - 1
Cardinals - 1

I love this time of year, the nip of fall in the air, the leaves crunching underfoot, football, hockey, (the AHL at least), and the World Series. Yes I even love the quadrennial election season, up to a point.

But I don't love the debates. My feeling is this: we're electing our president, not the captain of our debate club. Yes, the debates give us all an idea how each of the candidates perform under scrutiny and pressure. And they make for terrific water cooler conversation. I suppose those points alone are valid reasons to keep them around.

Still, ever since the televised Kennedy/Nixon debates in 1960, presidential debates have been about appearance, performance and strategy, more than about ideas and substance.

Mitt Romney clearly won the first debate because he was well rehearsed and he appeared likable and comfortable. In contrast, the president looked tired and irritable, as if he had just spent the last four years of his life being President of the United States. It appeared his strategy was to be congenial and inoffensive. Every time it was his turn to speak he reminded me of Chicago White Sox sluggers Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn who every time they were up at the end of this season, down by a few runs, came to bat with the bases loaded, nobody out, and either struck out or hit into a double play. They like Obama might have driven in a lone run, but it was far less than expected of them.

Obama supporters were aghast and anyone who's been paying attention knew that tonight he would come out spirited and take the offensive, which is precisely what he did. Romney on the other hand kept going over the same rehearsed points he used during the first debate and came out flat, uninspired, and on the defensive. Neither candidate answered the questions presented them by the chosen individuals from the New York town hall audience, they just used the questions as spring boards to go off on their own tangents. No surprise there.

The best part came toward the beginning when the two men who were free to walk around the stage, came uncomfortably within striking distance. My son said it looked as if they were about to drop the gloves and start a good hockey brawl. Now that would have been something to see.

If you find it trite to compare the campaign to sporting events, well all I can say is you must not be watching.

Tonight I made the conscious decision to watch the debate rather than the Yankees-Tigers playoff game.

Given the relative quality of the performances of the two events, I'm not sure I made the right choice.

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