Let me start by saying that the second Presidential debate was far more interesting than the first, which was nice because it meant that the people I was watching it with were listening, and, therefore, quiet. We all paid close attention to the first few questions, interested in what the candidates had to say and appreciative of the “town hall” style format.
Then, things started to get a little heated; Obama got feisty, and before our very eyes, the debate seemed to transform from a discussion about policy into an exciting head-to-head match that reminded me of the battle at the end of Star Wars when Luke and Darth Vader go after each other–Darth Vader wielding his red (Republican) light saber and Luke facing him with his blue (Democratic) one.
Okay, maybe that’s a bit melodramatic. And I’m really not trying to insinuate that Romney is Darth Vader (well, okay, maybe I am). But their exchange really was more like a battle than a debate. That’s what I liked about it, and my friends concurred.
It was engaging. It was full of tension. We wanted it to keep going. Obama was taking charge and working to prove that he knew his facts and that he could face up against Romney and win.
And he did it! He was confident when he disputed Romney’s twisting of the facts, and although he opted not to choose Jon Stewart’s advice and yell: “LIAR!” he certainly set Romney straight when he looked him square in the eye and stated: “That is just not true, Governor.”
Personally, I would have enjoyed seeing a bit of yelling during the debate, but most people don’t like such an open display of conflict. Besides, if I want to see yelling, I’ll just go watch The Daily Show.
After Obama’s obvious victory over Romney, Fox News made excuses on every one of their broadcasts for at least two days, Saturday Night Live made Republican jokes on NBC (which happens anyway, but they had a lot more material to work with), and all of my friends (Democrats and Republicans alike) were as riled up as Obama and Romney had been during the debate.
Maybe after the lackluster first debate, Obama realized that’s what he needed—people fired up and ready to go, a phrase Obama learned from the people of Greensboro, North Carolina during his 2008 campaign.
I wish Obama had remembered that during the third and final debate. Unfortunately, it was unlikely to have riled up anyone. It wasn’t that the debate was “bad;” it simply lacked energy.
Of course, the bureaucrats who take everything too seriously claim that the third debate was more civilized and informative than the second. From my point of view, it was anticlimactic.
Perhaps it was because, as some critics have claimed, the moderator, Bob Schieffer, was a bit passive, refusing to assert his authority or keep the candidates within their time limits. Perhaps he didn’t work hard enough to get information out of the candidates.
Whatever the cause of the rather unimpressive third and final debate, I would venture to say that it didn’t do much to convince undecided voters to vote one way or the other.
Time Magazine concluded that Obama won the third debate “cleanly and decisively, on both style and substance,” and it seems most everyone agrees. But I wouldn’t call the win victorious. It was solid.
Obama was subtle and precise in his statements. He displayed a calm confidence. But he wasn’t powerful like he was during the second debate. He didn’t get me angry and excited and passionate. The third debate convinced my intellect that Obama knows what he’s doing, but it didn’t move me.
Perhaps that was his strategy: to appeal to our hearts and our heads.
Had the third debate been a repeat of the second, my support of Obama would have been based on pure emotion and without the logic that is a necessary component when evaluating who should serve as the President of the United States.
Strategy or not, I know without a doubt: It’s time to reelect President Barack Obama. I’m fired up and ready to go.