2012 election and the great debate debate

They say debates don't matter, but if you have success in all of them, the combination of success could become a major turning point. Photo: Associated Press

CHARLOTTEOctober 14, 2012 – Most analysts claim presidential debates have little effect on an election. If that is true then there are several questions that should be asked regarding that belief.

If debates are meaningless, why have them at all?

Why do the television networks promote a debate for days and send frontline reporters to cover them?

Why is there ad nauseam post-debate commentary from the moment one debate ends until the next one takes place?

Why do both sides usually claim victory almost before the candidates even leave the stage?

Why does the press breathlessly flock to the overly congested sea of humanity in the “spin room” to find out what each side accomplished?

Perhaps most noteworthy is why do broadcast networks go to their archives time and again to dig out important footage from past debates to highlight the effects they had on previous elections?

Isn’t that a lot of expense and effort to cover events that have little or no significance?

One could readily argue that the debate season in 2012 has already made an impact. There have been two rounds of a four round boxing match, and both have left plenty of additional debate for pundits and voters alike.

But consider for a moment that the experts are correct and individual debates in and of themselves result in virtually no concrete impressions on voters.

Now let’s look at Debate #1 between President Obama and contender Mitt Romney.

Even Obama’s most ardent supporters were distraught at the president’s performance. Call it what you like; overconfidence, lack of preparation, arrogance, underestimating the opponent, not wanting to be there, altitude or any number of other reasons. Pick one, or any combination of the above, and the overwhelming reaction was that Barack Obama lost.

Some analysts claimed that Obama was a poor communicator when he is off-prompter. Others felt that the bar for the president’s credentials was set so high that he had no place to go but down. Still others said the president was disengaged and/or tired.

A few, mostly from his own side of the aisle, said that Mitt Romney was better prepared, more eloquent and did a better job at arguing his case. A few. Not many. Most of the mainstream press said Obama lost rather than Romney won.

Just days before the debate, many polls were touting Obama as a clear winner in the election itself. Forget the debates, the numbers were spreading so fast, some even into double digits, that there was no way for Romney to recover. Especially in an “insignificant” debate.

Somehow things changed overnight following Round One, however.

In the days that followed the debate, Obama’s lead narrowed, the media panicked, the Middle East continued to burn and suddenly the meaningless confrontation seemed to change many people’s minds.

Then came Debate #2 between the vice presidential candidates. This one was supposed be even more inconsequential than the first Obama/Romney debate.

Perhaps the analysis would have been accurate, except for one thing. Joe Biden showed up looking like the Chesire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. There were times when his attitude seemed almost maniacal.

It was a clever, calculated strategy. Detract from your opponent so viewers do not see or hear what he is saying. It was nothing more than a smoke screen to kill as much of the 90-minute session as possible with obfuscation and lies so that no meaningful discourse could occur.

Biden’s antics became the primary talking point. Substantive issues were left uncovered to any satisfactory degree, but that was by design. Some say Biden won. A few gave it to Ryan, but mostly the debate was scored about even, with perhaps a slight edge to the vice president.

But there is a catch. Combined with Romney’s strong performance in the first debate, Biden may have accomplished his immediate task while losing more than he gained. The women’s vote, which has been so critical to Obama campaign, may have taken a sharp turn toward Romney as a result of Biden’s antics.

Two debates remain.  Debate #3 will be a town hall format which is more to Obama’s liking. This time he will be engaged. There is no doubt about that.

There could be a major hurdle ahead, however. Mitt Romney was not successful because he was unprepared when it came to running a business. He will be ready for whatever tricks the president has up his sleeve. Though Romney may not enjoy the resounding victory he had the first time around, he will undoubtedly hold his own.

Whether the singular remaining debates are important or not, the four individual contests could have a devastating cumulative effect on the mood of a nation that is already more undecided than most experts admit.

In that sense, the debates of 2012 will, indeed, have a major impact on the election.

Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in Charlotte, NC. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club, which creates, and escorts customized tours to Switzerland, France and Italy for groups of 12 or more. Inquiries for groups can be made at Peabod@aol.com Taylored Media has produced marketing videos for British Rail, Rail Europe, Switzerland Tourism, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council, the Finnish Tourist Board, the Swiss Travel System and Japan Railways Group among others. As author of The Century Club book, Peabod is now attempting to travel to 100 countries or more during his lifetime. To date he has visited 69 countries. Suggest someplace new for Bob to visit; if you want to know where he has been, check his list on Facebook. Bob plans to write a sequel to his book when he reaches his goal of 100 countries. He also played professional baseball for four years and was a sportscaster for 14 years at WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte.









This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

More from Political Potpourri
blog comments powered by Disqus
Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com) and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.


Contact Bob Taylor


Please enable pop-ups to use this feature, don't worry you can always turn them off later.

Question of the Day
Photo Galleries
Popular Threads
Powered by Disqus