I'm going to point you at an article: The First Presidential Debate: A Choice or an Echo?
A few excerpts:
Over and over again, Mitt Romney would attack the President on general principles, then the President would say, in so many words, “well, the implications of that view are” and start listing policy implications, and Romney would retort: no, I don’t believe any of that, in fact that stuff you say I oppose is stuff I agree with, and that stuff you say I support is stuff I absolutely will not do.
When Romney attacked, Obama generally had a policy response – some more persuasive than others, but the response was generally policy-related. When Obama attacked, Romney would generally deny that he took the position that was being attacked.We just watched our Very Serious Media punish Obama for attempting to engage in an honest analytical debate, and rewarded Romney with a "win" for an utterly cynical and superficial 'I know you are but what am I' obfuscation of policy. Both his and the President's.
And we went right along with it. With much wailing and gnashing of teeth.
To be sure, superficial does get the votes. And all of us wish Obama had corrected Romney a lot more on that incredible stream of falsehood. And Obama was clumsy last night. And anyway, there is still hope that the longer news cycle is going to fact-check and reassess the result of this debate.
But gag. As a culture it's hard to see America as moving forward today. We just elevated the most superficial of dolts, and penalized an honest attempt at communication. What is the consequence of this going to be for the next debate? For future approaches at policy discussion?
And as to why we should feel embarrassed about it? Look again at where this came from: The American Conservative.
They got it faster than we did.