Posted by: Donna
Granted, I watched the debate at a bar with a group of Democrats so it was a biased crowd but I and many of my viewing companions did not see this Obama debacle that so many others did. I was live tweeting it, and from all the blubbering and moaning I was seeing online you would think that the debate was an unmitigated disaster and one Willard Romney got elected President last night. Okay, whatever. Everyone has declared Romney the winner. Apparently, he won on “style”, if by “style” you mean “glibly lying through his teeth about everything and acting exactly like the smug bully he is”. Presidential!
As for Obama’s performance, I could see how exasperated Mitt’s constant lying was making him but the President held it together and responded calmly and factually. Yes, I know, he missed several opportunities, the biggest one being Romney’s 47% comments. But as David Axelrod put it this morning, the President was there to have a conversation with the American people, not spend all his time countering Mitt’s lies and distortions. It’s a reasonable explanation, and while it is true Obama is going to have to go after the lies in future debates, he simply cannot afford to come across as aggressive.
And I have some perspective that a lot armchair pundits don’t. Now, I’ve certainly never done anything approaching a Presidential debate, but y’all know I have done some debates with conservatives on TV and radio. Not every Republican I’ve appeared with has been a pathological liar but the ones who are and regularly go on media are very good at their craft. It’s not exactly hard to be a wingnut pundit because all they have to do is get their talking points down, show up, and spout the talking points. The talking points are invariably distortions or complete fabrications but it’s fine because most moderators will totally let them get away with it. You, being the reality-based liberal debater, have a much more difficult task. You need to anticipate the lies, try to respond to them with facts while also being compelling and entertaining. You must pull this off while avoiding seeming (gasp!) “angry” or (horrors!) “shrill” or (Lord have mercy!) “uncivil”. All within tight time constraints that your opponent will generally ignore in order to filibuster the whole segment. You try it sometime and see how many opportunities you miss.
Anyway, this debate probably changed no minds and the biggest takeaway was that Romney wants to fire Big Bird.
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