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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Maybe Obama SHOULDN'T win the first debate

Everyone is asking whether Obama or Romney will win the first debate. Personally, I don't expect much from either candidate: Both are capable, unexciting speakers. The more interesting question is whether the winner of the first debate stands an improved shot at winning the election.

The following comes from October 2, 2004 -- a time when this blog was just starting to gain some attention:
In light of Kerry's fine debate performance, am I going to take back my prediction of a Bush win? Nope. Look at some debate history, as preserved by Gallup.

Gore won the first debate against Bush, yet lost (well, sort of lost) the election.

Dukakis won the first debate against Bush the elder, yet lost the election.

Mondale won the first debate against Reagan (by a margin comparable to Kerry's recent win) yet lost the election.

In 1992, Perot trounced both Clinton and Bush, who tied each other. (The numbers: 38% - 28% - 28%.) As you may recall, Perot did not win that election.

History suggests that a first-debate win often translates into a massive election-day defeat. If Bush bounces back in the next debate -- and you can bet on it -- his miserable performance of two days ago will seem fluke-ish, not characteristic.
The original post contains a link to a "debate history" page maintained by Gallup. Alas, that link no longer works -- so you'll just have to take my word for it. (Or do your own research. That works too.)

A word about the first Gore-Bush debate in 2000: As many will recall, the media called that one for Dubya, even though the public's reaction favored Gore. One Salon writer originally wrote that Gore cleaned Bush's clock, then modified his stance due to pundit peer pressure.

As for me -- well, I can't make up my mind. Should I live blog the debate? Or should I take a few hours away from politics and catch the rebroadcast (after scanning the headlines for immediate reactions)? The latter course is usually less nerve-wracking. 
Your neighbor Bob Somerby, wrote about that topic, Al Gore's performance in the debates. It's as you typed, Gore was declared the winner until the puppet masters running the print and broadcast journalists told them to rewrite history. Journalists have always been craven and low but today there are so few outlets since the big corporations bought them up they don't cancel each other out.

Don't like how you're portrayed by the media, buy your own news outlet, staff it with buffoons and problem solved.
Unless you know somebody is gonna shoot somebody, don't waste your time.
I'm not going to watch but I foresee an attempted repeat by Romney of Reagan's vacuous 'There you go again' contrived folksiness strategem, devoid of any meaningful content. Obama will be forced to counter with equally contentless rhetoric, along the lines of the electorate's established fears of Romney.
I prefer to watch Ren and Stimpy.
I'm not sure how they can call it a "debate", since each candidate has the questions beforehand, and probably the whole thing is scripted anyway. Both candidates sign secret agreements, the content of which we the public don't get to ever see (hence, secret). If it was a real debate, then ALL the candidates for President would get the chance to participate. So I won't be watching, but I'm sure I'll read all about the scripted spectacle at a later date.
To help your decision in not watching, and not perpetuating the charade, check out this story from As It Happens, from Tuesday, October 2, 2012. It's in the second part of the show, and it's titled, "Open Debates. On the eve of U.S. Presidential debates, one analyst says they are predictable, scripted and undemocratic."

It's very telling. You get to learn about: the Anheuser-Busch sponsored debates; debate contracts held in secret; the minutiae specified in the contracts; the exclusionary clauses forbidding participants from ANY OTHER debate performances; et al.

As It Happens
Open Debates
To help you they do have the same opinion on most issues, but one will be declared the winner even if he didn't open his mouth
Democracy Now will be broadcasting an expanded debate, which will include the two progressive candidates, giving their answers to the questions.
The candidates I most want to hear are also excluded - Anderson and Stein. That's the biggest tell this is kabuki.
Stein and Anderson are on the Democracy Now livestream of the debate. They are commenting in real time:
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