GOP Death Watch

If The Emmys Had a Category For Most Boring Show Ever, The Presidential Debate Would Win Hands Down

Jeez, talk about dull. The first presidential debate, on domestic issues, has to rank as one of the most soporific political events ever, short of a small town council debating sewer bonds on public access cable. Even the zingers were Ambien-like. That said, Romney clearly had more energy than Obama, to the point of seeming a bit manic at times. (Can’t he lose that tight, smirky smile?)

Romney was clearer and crisper than the President, who seemed tired and tended to ramble. More to the point, Obama just didn’t take advantage of any of the openings that Romney gave him to hit Romney for, well, lying. In fact, if obfuscating was the standard for victory in the debate, Romney won in a romp.

Romney repeatedly chastised Obama for cutting $716 billion from Medicare benefits, when in fact the cuts don’t affect benefits. The detailed description of his own health plan that Romney said was “lengthy” is 369 words long. The claim that his plan will cover pre-existing conditions (like HIV)–also largely untrue. Unfortunately for him, Obama didn’t rebut Romney in any effective way. At times it seemed that Obama was holding back intentionally, so as not to seem less presidential (or perhaps just not blow his lead). The inspirational Obama that voters see at rallies wasn’t on stage tonight. Although, thanks, Barack, for calling out the repeal of DADT.

So, where does this leave the race? Probably not a whole lot different than where it was. Romney was incredibly vague, his standard m.o., which may provide fodder for attack ads. He also said a number of things clearly directed at independent voters, but that are unlikely to play well with the GOP base. (Really, he likes regulations! And teachers!)

There was a fair amount of hysteria among Obama supporters who felt he blew it: Andrew Sullivan, for one, was just about ready to reprise the mad scene from King Lear by the end of the debate. But as much as we remember the zingers, the debates don’t seem to matter much. Ronald Reagan looked lost during a debate with Mondale, but we don’t talk about the Mondale presidential legacy. What do we remember from the 2008 debates? Nothing.

Challengers generally get a bounce from appearing on the same stage as the incumbent, but the debates generally don’t change the trajectory of the race, particularly debates that are really boring. And finally, can we retire Jim Lehrer? Nice guy who totally ceded control of the debate to Romney.

We know Mitt likes him and Big Bird too—but Big Bird would have done a better job.

Photo: Obama/Biden

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  • bystander

    The debate wasn’t boring, lol. If you don’t like Romney, or like Obama then fine. But if you found the debate boring you must not know enough about politics to be watching in the first place. And Romney clearly won.

  • Avenger

    Romney owned that debate. I was already voting for him, but now I’m even more amped.

  • Josh in OR

    I didn’t so much find it BORING, per se, just…uninspiring. But to claim Romney won anything is foolishly myopic. I cannot wait for the inevitable YouTube compilation of Mitt Romney’s vacant, soulless, ‘shit, remember to smile so you seem likeable’ expression. You know the one…the one he wore EVERY time his mouth wasn’t moving?

    Rewards the debate and focus on the split screen presentations showing Mitt and Barak in close up and focus on Mitt. It was like watching a robot go into standby mode…except once, when he let his disdain for the president slip through. Several People at the ‘debate party’ I attended caught it and one gave voice to my thought almost exactly: “Look at Mitt! He forgot he was supposed to be pretending to be human!”

    It was towards the end of the debate, but it got quite a bit of attention as he very clearly struggled for a moment to remember how to smile, and then it was back into plastic land.

    If anything, Mitt Romney proved tonight that he and human emotion have been long separated, if they were ever truly acquainted in the first place. That alone is enough reason for me to never vote for Mitt ‘The Smiler’ Romney.

  • Josh in OR

    @Josh in OR: ‘rewards’ in the second paragraph should be ‘rewatch’, sorry. I’m on my iPod, and didn’t catch the stupid autocorrect mistake. Apologies now for any others you may find.

  • jeff4justice

    The voters lost.
    the 2partys system charade won.

  • Red Meat

    Apparently, Romney won by saying the things he wants to do if he is elected president without saying how he is going to do it or any real plan. How smart is our country?

  • John Doe

    Boring? That seems about 180 degrees from being accurate. It was quite entertaining to see OBAMA being completely bored with the event. He seemed like he had nothing to say…. and weak. Weak is basically Obama’s style. Otherwise he would have been standing up for the LGBT community these past 3 – 4 years. Even now he’s like…. “Oh… gay marriage is up to the states.” He’s weak. This debate showed it.

    I don’t like Romney as a candidate and am honestly thankful that I live in a state where we lean very liberal. So, I don’t have to vote. I don’t want to vote for either of these guys. I don’t trust either. Obama would be better on gay rights but I don’t trust that he knows what he is doing. As well, he’ll continue “leading” a divided Washington and get NOTHING done to create jobs or improve our economy. Romney is just a “save the rich” guy that would strip every poor person of hospital care if he could.

  • MikeE

    @John Doe: if you don’t vote, you don’t get to talk about it. period.

    YOU are shirking your responsibility.

  • 2eo

    @MikeE: Agreed, the two party system is always about voting for the lesser of two evils, it just happens that one is a lot, lot, lot less evil than the other.

  • alexoloughlin

    Exactly how is Romney going to pay for everything if elected? He’s not mentioned one detail about that but we’re told to wait until after he’s elected? What a jackass. No thanks to the king of flip-floppers. We saw what reaganomics did during 8 years of Bush and the GOP doesn’t even take any responsibility for leaving the country with the biggest deficit in history, two unpaid wars for starters and the list is endless.

  • tdx3fan

    @John Doe: You are right, Obama is so incredibly clueless that he took a mess that he inherited from the last conservative president (who now polls higher in approval rating than Romney btw) and turned it around saving us from a depression (which is exactly where things were going). All of the indicators that we are on an upswing are currently showing. The Republicans have yet to find a place where they can actually outright attack Obama.

    All the debates really showed is two things:

    1) Mitt Romney can stick to a script. He said the same things over and over and over and over and over. He used the same lines so many times that they seemed out of fashion by the time the night ended. Of course, we already knew Romney could stick to a script. He has been doing it this entire race. Its when he is caught off guard that he comes across as an absolute idiot.

    2) Romney, unlike Obama, has no real grasp of the truth. He will say and do anything that he thinks makes himself look good. The problem is that the Republican party as a whole is so out of touch with Middle America that what they think will appeal to moderates never really does.

  • ggreen

    These political dog and pony shows are strictly for the rubes (the ones that believe reality TV isn’t scripted). If you are the type of person to base your vote on these media produced public enemas; vote for Santa Claus instead and he’ll bring you a new bike. Honestly how could the empty suits ever live up to the war of the worlds hype whipped up by the idiots in charge of the MSM? Face it the Beverly Hillbillies wasn’t a sitcom it was a savvy prediction of the future of America. White trash with more money than sense and the people that do know better kowtowing to them.

  • evdanker

    I think when the President saw that Romney was spouting the same lies he has been spouting for weeks, he lost interest in debating. The expression on his face made me think, “Ok, America, if Romney is what you want, then don’t call me when things go down the tube.” Maybe in the next format they will debate real issues.

  • BJ McFrisky

    Make all the excuses you want for Obama’s poor performance last night (he was tired, he was bored, he’s intellectually superior to everyone else and can’t waste his time with them), but the fact is Romney owned the debate, and Obama the Great Orator came across as a novice. Even the uber-liberal pundits are conceding that fact this morning.

  • Cam

    The one thing I find interesting is this idea that Romney “Won”.

    All the fact checkers are already out attacking what he said. So all of the Log Cabiners screaming that Romney “Won”…well I think it’s odd, that you seem to feel lying with a straight face and not getting called out on it until the next day is some kind of victory.

  • Cam

    @BJ McFrisky:

    And yet please let me know how this has any effect? Romney and Ryan have said that they will defend DOMA, their tax plan has been called out by the Budget Office for not being able to be put in place without a massive tax increase on the Middle Class, and Romney’s claim of a cut in Medicare was already pointed out as false multiple times.

    So again. He “Won” because you liked the way he spoke, but there is no change in policy. This isn’t 100 years ago where something new came out at the debates. We’ve already heard from them exaustively before now.

    Romney and Ryan will still attack gays and their policies are still harkening back to the Bush Policies. Nothing has changed.

  • NormdePlume

    Mondale beat Reagan in the first debate. In fact, it is not uncommon for the challenger to beat the incumbent in the first debate.

    As an aside, I just love how big oil is deserving of money but big oil isn’t.

  • NormdePlume

    @NormdePlume: Oops. Should be: big oil is deserving but big BIRD isn’t.

  • JtaylJ

    Any LGBT person voting for Romney is either self hating and wealthy, or self hating and ignorant.

  • BJ McFrisky

    @Cam: Listen, I know you (and the rest of the Leftish world) are upset that Obama came across as incompetent without his trustworthy teleprompter telling him what to say. However, I do believe that had the situation been as you’d hoped and Obama cleaned Romney’s clock, you’d be vocally celebrating how wonderful Obama is and how inept Romney is. You’re angry that your guy fumbled and stumbled, I get it. And any political observer in the world will tell you that the October debates are the number one issues that sway undecided voters, so to say they’re unimportant only serves to display your naivete.

  • Cam

    @BJ McFrisky:

    No, actually what you did, was once again ignore the actual post and then answered the post that you invented in your head.

    My post simply stated that nobody altered their policy so I wasn’t sure how the debate was going to effect voters. If you loved Romney or hated him, his policy is still Romney’s so it wouldn’t matter if he smiled or did not smile, it wasn’t going to effect whether or not you voted for him.

    But look what you did. You wouldn’t respond to my actual post, you just used it as an excuse to lash out. That is fine, but it doesn’t alter the facts of my statement.

    AS for the “Leftish” world….sweetie, I voted for Bush the first time around. However unlike you, I paid attention to what was going on. I noticed what the parties did and didn’t do. I didn’t just say “Ugh, ME vote GOP, Liberals Bad”.

    The fact that you get so angry and insulting seems to demonstrate that you actually don’t think about these things and you see any dissagreement as an attack on you.

  • the other Greg

    @alexoloughlin: “Exactly how is Romney going to pay for everything if elected?”

    Don’t be silly, he explained that. He will fire Big Bird.

    He likes firing people… and birds.

  • trustinfig

    It absolutely amazes me how skewed to the extreme liberal left passes out the kool-aid and how willing the gay community seems to drink it without asking anything about it. If the debate had gone in the other direction and it was Obama who answered questions, described a viable plan, and actually didn’t need a teleprompter to say… well, anything lucid, this article would read more like “Romney slammed by quick witted president in first debate!”
    Romney may not be the conservative he is claiming, and is actually a progressive Republican, he actually has an actual plan. Obama can say all he wants but the fact is he has done absolutely nothing to better this country. Repeal of DADT was not started by him, but by a Judge in California. He just saw that as an opportunity to slap his name on it and call it his achievement. Just prior to this year, this website was trashing Obama for his broken promises to the gay community and impotence as president. Yet, when it comes to a actually focusing on the issues at hand and ALL things that matter to keep this country afloat, the gay community focus’s on the ONE thing that affects them instead of the greater good. We need to keep this country a free country so we can be able to fight for the rights we are working on now. As it stands, our freedoms are being taken away one by one… but we can marry right? Our rights granted by the constitutions are being chipped away by a president who studied the worlds greatest document solely for the purpose of dismantling it, and as long as we get thrown a bone every once in a while, we are placated into complacency.

  • Dumdum

    Religion and politics the two things that we rarely agree on and are commented on the most. There have been some very good points made here so you all deserve a kiss on the cheek and a friendly ass pat. I don’t trust any politician ever. They always have a hidden agenda, and they always tell you what YOU want to hear. ALWAYS. If I were rich and actually HAD something to lose. I would vote for Romney. Have any of you girls actually read the Constitution? An archaic document amended plucked tucked and altered more than Joan Rivers face. Just saying.

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