Wednesday night’s presidential debate marked the first in a series of potentially game-changing events in this year’s election. The overwhelming public response in favor of Romney turning his campaign around and “winning” the first match-up surely proved that.
I was surprised that Obama didn’t bring up the more controversial point of the election, such as Romney’s statement that 47% of Americans are “victims” who mooch off the government. Nor did he attack any of the Republican’s other follies, which were certainly fair game in this opening debate. One reason could be that President Obama was trying to rise above the mud-slinging of politics. Or maybe he was just off his game that night. Either way, Governor Romney’s tactical ‘”punches” went largely unreturned. I found this unusual of the typically verbose Democrat.
I was also surprised by how unauthoritative Jim Lehrer was in regulating the debate. The candidates steamrolled right over his attempts to redirect the debate multiple times; instead of taking a stand as moderator, he simply let them go on. The debate got heated — at times, I was almost rooting for someone to crack the feigned politeness — but both candidates remained civil, and I’ll admit, they both looked downright presidential.
Personally, I feel now more than ever that “political parties will be the downfall of this nation,” as George Washington put it at the time of our government’s inception. Both candidates want to see this country flourish, and I think either will be a successful and effective leader. But the near 50-50 political divide in our country is never going to get us anywhere. Let us hope that the continued exchanges in the marketplace of ideas through debates such as this one will help voters choose the best man for the job.