The First Presidential Debate

October 4, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

Diogenes, were he still around and looking for an honest man, would have done well to have avoided the first Presidential Debate of the season. President Obama came out with a few “stretchers” and certainly spun things in his favor. Governor Romney, on the other hand, seems to live in a parallel universe in which arithmetic as we know it does not exist.

Of course people who expect candor from politicians are doomed to a life of disappointment. I don’t expect perfect candor, but in one of only three chances for the candidates to impress people I do expect some wit, some cleverness, perhaps some risk-taking, and some substance. I didn’t get any of the above last night.

President Obama was laid-back, relaxed, and comfortable. He expressed his reactions to his opponent’s remarks far more forcefully in his facial expressions than in his spoken responses. He made his points logically, with little emotion, and failed to point out most of his opponent’s factual errors. When he did remark on a Romney plan he did so with great detachment and little force.

Governor Romney was not cool. He seemed like a kid who, having been sent to the Principal’s office, knew he was in trouble. He sweated. He blinked rapidly. He twisted and turned under the implacable stare of the camera. And, again, he changed his positions on many issues to what he thought his audience wanted to hear. Aside from the nervousness, the few emotions he showed looked phony.

The famous Romney “zingers” were pretty flat. Neither candidate voiced outrage at the policies or the philosophy of the other—or showed much pride in his own. Neither took advantage of a loose, discussion-type format to tear the other up. It was painfully polite, painfully low key.

Most of you know I’m a liberal. Of the two choices I prefer Obama. I just wish he’d come out swinging, because if he did he’d set himself up for a mandate from the voters, and provide some much-needed coattails for Democratic candidates for Congress.


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