Some thoughts on last night's debate
There's probably like 10 thousand blogs and face book entries and newspaper opinion pieces dissecting last night's Obama-Romney debate so I figured â€“ yes, the world really needs one more â€“ so here it is. I'll try not to be redundant.
First â€“ memo to CBC, CTV and Global â€“ take a lesson on how to conduct these things. Notice how moderator Jim Lehrer let them go at it. I know he has been roundly criticized for losing control, but the result was lots of time for the candidates to make their points. This was much more satisfying than the usual campaign debates in Canada, where it seems every minute, or just when the candidates get warmed up, the moderator cuts them off.
Second- I cannot for the life of me understand Obama's performance. Civility is one thing, but my gosh, missing an opportunity to remind people that this is the guy who called 47% of the population victims and lazy when he thought nobody except millionaires were listening, and not reminding people of Romney's Bain Capital track record of shipping jobs overseas? In a debate where the focus is the economy? As the saying goes â€“ What was he thinking?
Third â€“ I love political debates â€“ I love the drama and the theatre, and watching for the shots and assessing how the candidates respond to the curve balls under what is extreme pressure. I looked forward to that debate last night with the same kind of anticipation I have for a Stanley Cup game, and that's considerable.
But this said, they really are a phony measure of a candidate's ability as president. What is tested is how well a candidate can memorize his lines and how quick he can think on his feet. But that has precious little to do with the job they are applying for. The job requires good responses, not instant responses.
A president, when faced with a question, will get advice, sometimes lots of advice, weigh the pros and cons of various responses, and then choose the most appropriate course.
What a debate measures has nothing to do with this â€“ a debate doesn't measure anything that resembles, you know, real life.
Nonetheless, I'm really looking forward to the next one.