Framing the Dialogue

Debate Deconstructed

I don’t like watching the debates. I DO NOT believe that debates matter as much as most pundits have been stating lately. I still find it hard to believe that here we are roughly three weeks from the presidential election and there are still so many “undecided” voters. Where have they been? Both Obama and Romney are pretty well known commodities so why the indecision? The real question should be why we put so much reliability and emphasis on a bunch of people who cannot make up their minds.

I really believe that “undecided” voters are not really all that undecided. They claim to be undecided because they feel very important; as if their opinion means more than the rest of us who see a clear choice. Have you ever been to a restaurant with someone who cannot decide what to order; they hold up the whole party with their indecision. In their defense some menus are long and daunting. This is not the case in this presidential election where there only two entrees. The dish that’s paid for by government (after they first take our earnings) or the one paid for by individuals.

The post-debate blather (I even watched “Fair and Balanced” Fox News) seemed to give the edge to Obama even though it seemed like a draw to me. Both drew blood and Obama brilliantly hit Romney with the “47 percent” issue in his closing statement at the very end when Romney had no time to respond. Predictably Yahoo declared Obama the winner even with “Wal-Mart Moms.” It is interesting that the left-media uses Wal-Mart as an example when they generally only refer to the retail giant as an example of all that’s wrong with the world. By the Way, what is a “Wal-Mart Mom?” My guess that the definition would insult most women put into that category. The “soccer moms” must be beside themselves with grief having been supplanted by the Wal-Mart moms.

Back to the debate…Most right media talk shows are focusing, rightfully, on the behavior of Kandi Crawling (misspelled purposefully) during the Libya exchange. Kandi went beyond the role of a moderator when she told Mr. Romney that he was wrong. What I focused on was the fact that in interjecting her opinion she seemed to hold up a transcript of Obama’s speech to which he had just lied about. Why did she happen to have a copy of that speech with her? She did know the question of Libya was going to come up, but would have had no reason to believe that the President would reference the speech and feel the need to have the transcript. That is the point that hit me.

I thought that the question about George W. Bush was a hit job on Gov. Romney, but he fielded it beautifully. I really thought he’d stumble there, but his answer was masterful. He didn’t throw “W” under the bus yet articulated their differences, not just on policy, but in reference to the times each are/were in.

It seemed to me that Romney actually tried, in general, to answer the questions, generally. Both candidates often went beyond the two minutes and that was the fault of the moderator. I would give her a C- on her performance. Using a sports reference, when you don’t see the referee they are doing their jobs. I would have preferred that Kandi held them to the time and allowed more back and forth responses. That is where the “debate” really happens rather than the talking points both use and are comfortable with.

Romney missed many moments where he could have nailed Obama more forcefully. He powerfully listed the Obama policies that we don’t have to “settle” for and I guess that will become a theme in the next few weeks. He also could have repeatedly pointed out that Obama cannot run on his record and is then forced to obfuscate and lie about Romney. Perhaps that will come next Monday in the final debate. We do still need to convince those persnickety undecided voters some more.

My last observation is about the wives. Though neither is a candidate they both were there and Michele was more prominent in the background in some of the television shots. The Obama campaign may want to soften her scowl, if possible. Some may explain it away as concentration, but it looks like an angry scowl. My wife and I are celebrating our 25th anniversary today. We’ve been married a very long time. We both remarked about the Obama “hug” at the end of the debate. Both Mr. and Mrs. Unnaturally patted each other on the back during the hug. The pats were almost in sync, practiced. I tried it with my wife and it felt unnatural; it is not what spouses do with each other. You can say that I read too much into such things, but it felt staged and not real, but more like you would see in a reality series…what they’re “supposed” to do.

This is after all the first reality television presidency.

Some hints for Obama:

  • The Big Bird thing didn’t work – give it up
  • The 47 percent won’t work and the real number is 49 percent don’t pay income taxes. Your campaign’s continued use will eventually highlight that there are a lot of “victims” of your policies forcing them to be out of work or underemployed allowing them to not pay income tax.
  • Lying about things you said doesn’t work. YOUR VOICE IS RECORDED! There are records.
  • I don’t know what you have on Hilary, but it must be a doozy for her to take the hit for Benghazi.
  • Interrupting another speaker may seem like the thing to do, but it doesn’t play well except to your base. You shouldn’t need to pander to them…they are not going to vote for Romney in any way, shape, or form.

Some hints for Romney:

  • Big Bird is worth billions; Jim Lehrer is a millionaire…why are we giving money to millionaires and billionaires.
  • Address the 47 percent! What was the percentage who didn’t need to pay income tax when Obama took office? The differences are the victims of Obama policies.
  • Obama’s foreign policy failures should be your friend.
  • The “not having to settle” theme is a strong one. The force is strong in this phrase!
  • Hit the Fast and Furious thing more often. “Mr. President, why won’t you release the documents to Congress so the American citizens can find out the truth? The death of hundreds of Mexicans should be highlighted and they are often ignored.
  • Rather than asking Obama questions and giving him your time, make statements and give him no time. “Mr. President what about your promise to halve the deficit.” “Mr. President what about your comments about bankrupting coal power plants.” “Mr. President what about the thousands of Obamacare waivers granted before the election.” You see where I am going here.
  • The XL pipeline should be a major talking point. It goes to the war on oil. Obama nixed the pipeline after taking 90 days to consider it. That cost American jobs. That North American oil will now be going to China. They must be very thankful.
  • “Mr. President, please explain to the American people what you meant when you were caught on an open microphone telling the Russian president that you’d have “more flexibility” when you are elected to a second term.”

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