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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Rigor mortis sets in on 2012's first presidential "debate. . . "

Hunter absolutely nails it regarding last night's "debate."

On style, Romney began the night looking physically ill—looks ought to be secondary to facts, obviously, but his team might have considered putting more effort into concealing the dark saucers under his eyes or blending his complexion into something a bit less corpse-like. He did not avoid his trademark smirk or that odd, forced smile that constitutes his only apparent political emotion; from the beginning of the debate to the end, the peeved-looking grimace was his only constant. That said, Obama fared little better. If he had prepared for this debate, it did not show. At all. The moderator appeared to know less about each candidate's positions than almost any average citizen . . .

For my $.02, Romney may have "won the night," as has clearly been the mainstream media's narrative, but perhaps not for the reasons most of the punditocracy might suggest. Willard is a winner just by proving he could stand on a stage in the same room with President Obama without infuriating more than 10% of the population, all at once. Given his recent "performances," I have to admit that this was quite an accomplishment for the Romster Monster of Suck Tour 2012. I suppose he should feel good that it wasn't just another complete and total clusterfuck, which has characterized most of his campaign, since he won the GOP primary. It was only an averagely shitty performance for Romney.

The President, on the other hand, as Hunter says, wasn't much better. He seemed like a bored teenager forced to do something against his will, and as a high school teacher, I have some experience in these matters.

I rather picture the poor man being cajoled by the Davids . . . Axelrod and Plouffe . . . into actually showing up at the damned thing. "Come on, Barack, you have to go to the first debate . . . get off of your duff and let's get it over with."

The President looked bored, tuned out, and a little irritated most of the night, even when he foolishly grinned and nodded while Romney jabbed at him. Obama didn't spend much time correcting the Romster's many outright lies. If the President's been seeing even more recent polling than most of America has, and is 100% sure he's "got it in the bag," as long as he doesn't completely implode; I guess this blase, casual demeanor is the understandable, at least. It's possible that he's just running out the clock on the election, and is well aware that individual debates have rarely yielded earth-shattering results. I'm not sure that's necessarily a winning strategy in the long run, although I'll admit this single debate probably won't matter all that much on November 6th, really.

There was no "game-changing" moment for either side, and the general dynamics of the larger campaign are likely to remain more or less the same, i.e. Obama holding a modest lead nationally but absolutely clobbering Romney in the beknighted "Swing States."

As for my overall impressions. . . well by an hour into it I had become very sleepy. Listening to these two pols spout exactly the same tidbits of politicking that I expected to hear, with very little real or meaningful dialogue, just talking past each other, and making a sad mockery of Jim Lehrer (Romney mostly on that score) didn't give me any jolts of enthusiasm, nor even a two-minute hate for the GOoPers or anything.

It was just the same sad, banal kabuki dance this country does every four years.

I got tired and went to bed before it was over.

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