I admit watching these debates gives me extreme heartburn and I almost dread turning them on. My heart lives in my stomach. I thought Obama's performance on the first debate was good, that he stated his position on domestic issues clearly and conversely Romney gave me a stomach ache, because he argued his position from a different set of facts, denied positions that are still on his web site, and distorted Obama's record. I didn't think Romney won, but the polls say otherwise. So I worried about the VP debate. As I watched Joe's and Ryan's debate, I was encouraged by the debate format, and Joes debate style was comforting in how he bluntly challenge his opponent. But was still struck by how Ryan could discuss their ticket's positions with their own set of facts or ignore giving specifics ( taxes) when it was convenient. Let’s be clear, it’s nearly impossible to debate when the opposite sides refuse to acknowledge facts, be specific, or even support positions they made previously or that are on their website.
So what does this mean for the second presidential debate or after the election ? I will elaborate more after the squiggle, and why I have a constant stomach ache.
This is old news on this site, but the recent incarnation of the GOP is not reality based. Their denial of science, of taking responsibility for their part in the recent financial meltdown and endorsing wild conspiracy theories all indicate a party that is not data driven. And their current candidate is actually an incredible and effective manifestation of their alternate reality. And this is why my stomach is in knots. Its hard to argue against an unreal entity.
Nevertheless, I thought Joe did very well. He clearly defended this administration’s record, their beliefs and challenged his opponent on his facts. I think Obama should channel some of Joe's style and be more aggressive, but let’s set our expectations appropriately. It’s extremely hard to debate someone who has their own version of truth. It’s like arguing with your crazy relative on Thanksgiving. Eventually you feel compelled to shut up or you will ruin the holiday. In fact one could say that Romney is brilliant for taking the campaign to this alternate reality, because it handicaps the other side in making logical arguments.
But of course Obama and the rest of us have to push and challenge this alternate reality, because its dangerous to live in their alternate universe. But let’s also realize this will be extremely difficult and delicate work. Obama and Biden are looking for a delicate balance of challenging the other side without ruining the holiday.