A convenient excuse for not watching the debate last night was the fact that there was a playoff game on television between the Tigers and Yankees – which the Tigers won, incidentally, taking a commanding 3-0 lead in the ALCS. But that is a side issue which need not detain us.
From what I’ve been reading, Democrats are spinning the debate as an Obama win, albeit a narrow one. Strangely, however, on the underlying issues, Romney seems to have tied or won most categories; I suppose the win accorded to the president was based simply on the political theater angle, since Obama showed signs of having revived from his first-debate coma, and threw himself with gusto into his usual routine of aggressive pandering and towering mendacity. I think it all comes down to this line from liberal Jeff Greenfield: “Obama won the debate. Too bad it wasn’t the one that mattered.”
For the future, I would pass along the following suggestions to Republican candidates:
Don’t accept a debate format featuring overtly liberal “moderators”, or, at least, not just overtly liberal moderators. What’s wrong with insisting on having representation by somebody like Brit Hume or Brett Baier? And if a moderator breaks the rules, or looks as if he or she is trying to coach one side or the other (and you know which side that always is), then that person should be permanently excluded as a moderator in future debates.
Why should a townhall debate be in an irreversibly blue state like New York? Are there really any undecided voters in New York? If the idea is that the candidates are talking to a room full of undecided voters, why not insist on a swing state venue? Better still, get rid of the townhall debate format altogether. There are typically so many “plants” in the audience that the candidates are likely to get completely loaded questions of fraudulent provenance (say, the apolitical single mom who turns out to be a local Democratic Party apparatchik, or the unemployed worker later revealed as an SEIU union goon).
I don’t know if split-screen presentation is used in all of the debates, but I think it should be. Frequently, the body language and the facial expressions offer revealing insights into the candidates’ temperament and state of mind.
And the Republicans on the Commission on Presidential Debates need to get off their asses and stop letting the liberal media set the formats and pick the moderators. Crowley was a disgrace (and so was Radditz, who “moderated” the VP debate). Here’s the main thing you Republican commissioners need to remember: the MSM is also the enemy. Don’t let them choose the ground and the rules of engagement.