Scoring the Debate

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I was a little disappointed to see some mainstream conservative pundits declare Obama the victory of the debate “on points.”

Obama, to his credit, performed much better this time around. He kept pace with Romney and landed a number of critical blows. He came out ahead on the Benghazi exchange, though as other pundits noted, the story tomorrow may not look so good for him. But I don’t think Obama can be declared the winner of the debate.

Each issue ranks differently on the list of importance for voters. I think many of us would agree that the economy is by far the most important issue for most voters, including the undecided voters who were present at the debate and in the post-debate focus groups. Given this, it follows that winning an exchange during the debate on the economy ought to be weighted more heavily than winning an exchange over other issues. Of course almost all issues can be related back to the economy, but some are more “purely” economic than others.

On those issues, I thought Romney emerged the clear victor. I think he presented himself as someone with a superior working knowledge of business and economics, and probably inspired more confidence in his ability to handle the nation’s economic problems than the President.  Double Romney’s points for every answer that created the impression that he knows more about economics than Obama, and he becomes the clear winner of the debate.

I may just sleep through the foreign policy debate, though. My regular readers know why. I’m a Paulbot anti-American isolationist! No one represents my views. Oh well.

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  1. Last time Romney won because Obama didn’t show up, this time Obama lost it, with his PP rant. After the Komen debacle everyone knows they don’t do mammograms, but Obama’s been shilling for them so long he couldn’t help himself. I sensed a shift in the political ether the moment he told the lie and lying about the Libya attack didn’t help him either.

  2. about “Paulbots…” i don’t have a problem with an alternative to the neoconservative mentality that dominated the Bush term, and Obama’s current soft-power strategy that seems to give democratically-elected Islamic parties the benefit of the doubt. my probably with Paul/the paleoconosphere in general, and i have no idea if this is true of you, is that they seem defined much more by what they’re against than what they’re for.

    for example, obviously no one wants to invade Iran. does that mean a nuclear Iran’s acceptable though, in terms of the amount of leverage they’d gain? i suspect if you pressed Paul on this he’d say that it would be manageable, which is not a foreign policy view i’m inclined to support. now granted i’m not knowledgeable enough about military actions that could be taken to destroy their nuclear facilities that wouldn’t involve a land war…but it just seems to me that people like Ron Paul start off at this immovable anti-interventionist assumption, even in the case of severe threats to international stability, and occasionally veering into the ridiculous, i.e. his position on the OBL raid.

  3. my last sentence wasn’t clear…my point was basically that Ron Paul has a convenient foreign-policy ideology that he defers to no matter what’s happening in the world, one that i don’t think is sufficient for certain international matters. just cuz neoconservatives were wrong on Iraq doesn’t discredit all forms of intervention.

  4. From a strategic perspective, in my view Obama comes out the winner in this debate on Benghazi alone. It doesn’t matter that he was lying. It doesn’t matter that the moderator was incorrect, if not lying through her teeth (not to mention out of line to insert herself into the exchange to begin with). All that matters is that the audience got a real-time “fact check” entirely in Obama’s favor…and for most casual viewers, they’ll never bother to look into it any further than that.

    It doesn’t matter what Romney does on that front from here on out. Obama has effectively neutralized the issue for the remainder of the campaign–that’s a major vulnerability off the table.

  5. Bon,

    You know you’re not anti-American. You have strong opinions. Me, too, the difference is I’m borderline [fill-in-the-blank].

    Another thing: Obama actually is anti-American.


  6. I don’t see it the way LV sees it although Romney wasn’t particularly slashing. Crowley’s overt attempt to help Obama has made her and her comment an issue, thus keeping Benghazi going. Keeping Benghazi going is doing Obama no favors especially with the 3rd debate on foreign policy. I expect Obama to initiate some diversionary military operation because the issue is still haunting him.

  7. Rozin, my point was that the people who follow the controversy as it plays out are the people who would have gotten the truth anyway. It’s the casual viewers, who aren’t that invested in following the day-to-day politics of the race and just tuned in to watch the debate, who won’t watch any of the follow-up and see who was actually right–and my hunch is that those casual viewers include a large portion of the undecided voters who will determine this election.

    And as far as those viewers are concerned, based on what they saw last night, Romney got caught red-handed in a “lie,” and Benghazi is done.

  8. What kills me about Obama is that they, meaning the media, must constantly run interference for him so he get away with his lies, or he gets to hide behind women’s skirts – his wife, Jarrett, Rice, Clinton, Crowley. One on one with Romney or any conservative, he would be squashed like a bug. It’s very frustrating to watch. My heart tells me that if this is an honest election, Romney will win, but increasingly, my head is telling me that he will pull a “Chavez” and steal it. I hope and pray I’m wrong.

  9. The saddest thing is how this administration has beaten down America and society. Through the media support of its bias and un-diversity, these useless schemers are draining the economy for themselves and damning their voting block. Even his wife told a group to nicely tap anyone who may not vote to support her husband then say what they want about the tapped after they go away. Nice talk for a character model of the people. Gangbangers is what Mr. and Mrs. call people when they aren’t talking to them. on & on & on with phony two-faced talk for votes. Some local reaction of their voting block to a visit by the flotus was that she did wave or get out of the car for the people lined up on the route to fundraising lunch, where they had been standing for hours.

    Obamas don’t like this country and are acting like pirates of infamy and getting away with it.

    The Romneys, if they replace the administration, will have an almost healing effect – on society and the media sickness. There will be no repercussions because working to repair damaged America is more important to them.

  10. JDP,

    ” just cuz neoconservatives were wrong on Iraq doesn’t discredit all forms of intervention.”

    No, but America’s lack of financial resources and frayed credibility make it unwise. Can the Fed print money fast enough, can the government borrow money fast enough from China, can the IRS collect taxes fast enough to finance another war?

    There are many good reasons to pursue a non-interventionist foreign policy, beginning with financial limitations.

    As for the rest, yes, I think Romney looked bad on Benghazi. But I still believe, and I think the polling data will reflect it in the coming days, that he won on the economy and that this is significant.

  11. that’s all true. i would just be interested in if there is a way to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities without invasion if we get to that point. like i said i’m unfortunately not really knowledgeable on the specifics, because it’s not a “new normal” in the M.E. i find acceptable. i am not for another regime change war in the region though.

  12. I also was disappointed to hear pundits giving O points that I don’t think he earned. And I have a question about how they measure the time:

    When it is Romney’s time clock and Obama or moderator talks and fogs over his answer, do they still count that as time that he had?

    I was disappointed with CNN too- We were watching it because the person we watched with thinks FOX is right and MSNBC is left and CNN is right down the middle…
    For the first half of the debate they always split the screen when Romney was talking– so that the visage of O was a constant distraction from what Mitt was trying to say. When O talked he got the full screen and all the attention focused on him. Part way through the debate CNN corrected that so I wondered if people had complained to them and forced them to change camera work

  13. LV argues his case well, although I think the main problem is the Repub acceptance of moderators who are colluding with the Dem candidate. Without that intruding moderator, Romney would have the obvious rejoinder that if Obama claimed terror in the Rose Garden why did he and the others run around for more than a week saying the video done it? The test will be what kind of audience shows up for the third debate on foreign policy where this gets rehashed. I was surprised that the viewership for the second debate was that close to the first. If the third is high also then the issue of out of touch voters going off with a wrong impression would be mitigated. But again a well argued position.

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