Debate night

Tonight is the second of the presidential candidate debates, this one in a “town hall” format, with undecided voters posing the questions.  We now see that the debates do matter, as Mitt Romney’s good performance and Barack Obama’s bad performance put the Republican back into contention.   Do you think this town hall format will be to Obama’s advantage, since Romney is often awkward among the masses?  Obama said he was “too polite” in the first round, so do you think his being impolite will play well this time?

You will notice that when we live-blogged the debates–not just me, but also you readers and commenters–we picked up on the same themes that the pundits later made a big deal of.  I think we owe it to the country to do it again.

This time I’ll let you come up with the catch-phrases for our not-necessarily-alcoholic drinking game.  What lines from each candidate can we expect to hear over and over?

Be back here at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time  (that’s 8:00 p.m. Central, 7:00 p.m. Mountain, and 6:00 p.m. Pacific) to help with the live-blogging.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • fjsteve

    “middle class”

    But I strongly recommend prudence here. Drinking to this phrase may lead to alcohol poisoning.

  • fjsteve

    “middle class”

    But I strongly recommend prudence here. Drinking to this phrase may lead to alcohol poisoning.

  • Tom Hering

    Have a drink every time Romney says “stimulus.”

    Have another every time he says “trillion.”

    Chug a big one every time he says “failed to deliver.”

  • Tom Hering

    Have a drink every time Romney says “stimulus.”

    Have another every time he says “trillion.”

    Chug a big one every time he says “failed to deliver.”

  • SKPeterson

    “unprecedented” bonus drinks if use is associated with “economy”, “recession” or “unemployment”.

  • SKPeterson

    “unprecedented” bonus drinks if use is associated with “economy”, “recession” or “unemployment”.

  • Trey

    Dr. Veith,

    I disagree with your narrative that the debate helped Romney that much. The polls were already shifting in his favor. The night of the debate Politico had this poll showing Romney in the lead: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/10/03/politico-romney-up-four-in-toss-up-states

  • Trey

    Dr. Veith,

    I disagree with your narrative that the debate helped Romney that much. The polls were already shifting in his favor. The night of the debate Politico had this poll showing Romney in the lead: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/10/03/politico-romney-up-four-in-toss-up-states

  • Cincinnatus

    Trey,

    Yup. But that’s ok: it’s more fun to play up the horse-race narrative.

    Meanwhile, I’ll repeat my thesis until it sinks in: CAMPAIGNS. DON’T. WIN. ELECTIONS.

  • Cincinnatus

    Trey,

    Yup. But that’s ok: it’s more fun to play up the horse-race narrative.

    Meanwhile, I’ll repeat my thesis until it sinks in: CAMPAIGNS. DON’T. WIN. ELECTIONS.

  • Abby

    Bain Capital

  • Abby

    Bain Capital

  • Kimberly

    I can’t watch the debate tonight, so I’m glad you’re doing this again…it’ll be as good as watching.

  • Kimberly

    I can’t watch the debate tonight, so I’m glad you’re doing this again…it’ll be as good as watching.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    This is an awkward format to go harshly negative in. I suppose that’s a problem for Obama as he cannot win on his own strength but as a disappointing incumbent needs to disqualify Romney.

    So I think the following phrases (or a variation of them) will be used to soften the harshness of Obama’s attacks.

    “Unfortunately, Romney”
    “It pains me to say”
    “Romney, God Bless Him”
    “Back in the primaries, Romney”
    “My friend, Romney”

    Of course Obama will use his typical statements before prevaricating:

    “Let me be clear”
    “Make no mistake”

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    This is an awkward format to go harshly negative in. I suppose that’s a problem for Obama as he cannot win on his own strength but as a disappointing incumbent needs to disqualify Romney.

    So I think the following phrases (or a variation of them) will be used to soften the harshness of Obama’s attacks.

    “Unfortunately, Romney”
    “It pains me to say”
    “Romney, God Bless Him”
    “Back in the primaries, Romney”
    “My friend, Romney”

    Of course Obama will use his typical statements before prevaricating:

    “Let me be clear”
    “Make no mistake”

  • fjsteve

    I look forward to seeing Obama overshoot and look too aggressive. Of course, the genius of Biden’s performance was to look so over-the-top that the President can be as aggressive as he wants and still look “presidential” by comparison.

  • fjsteve

    I look forward to seeing Obama overshoot and look too aggressive. Of course, the genius of Biden’s performance was to look so over-the-top that the President can be as aggressive as he wants and still look “presidential” by comparison.

  • Dan Kempin

    I like the idea of having particular phrases for each candidate.

    Tom, I think the aspiring drunk should look for Romney to say:
    1) “Failed Policies”
    2) The president’s “Record”
    (you have to drink whether it is in the second person or the third.)
    3) ” . . . can’t afford . . .” in any context of the president’s policy. (I suggest a bonus drink if he adds “simply,” as in “Americans simply can’t afford the president’s tax and spend policies.”

    For Obama, the rules are somewhatmore difficult. I think if, as SAL suggests, we drink whenever he says, “let me be clear” or “make no mistake,” we COULD end up passed out before the end of the debate–even on water. On the other hand, I think it would be fun to drink whenever the president answers a question as though he is not the incumbent. If he refers to Romney’s “policies” during the past four years, that should be worth a double drink.

    In any case, we had better be sure we are tuned in. The outcome of the election may well hang on the outcome of this debate!

    (That’s for you, Cin.)

  • Dan Kempin

    I like the idea of having particular phrases for each candidate.

    Tom, I think the aspiring drunk should look for Romney to say:
    1) “Failed Policies”
    2) The president’s “Record”
    (you have to drink whether it is in the second person or the third.)
    3) ” . . . can’t afford . . .” in any context of the president’s policy. (I suggest a bonus drink if he adds “simply,” as in “Americans simply can’t afford the president’s tax and spend policies.”

    For Obama, the rules are somewhatmore difficult. I think if, as SAL suggests, we drink whenever he says, “let me be clear” or “make no mistake,” we COULD end up passed out before the end of the debate–even on water. On the other hand, I think it would be fun to drink whenever the president answers a question as though he is not the incumbent. If he refers to Romney’s “policies” during the past four years, that should be worth a double drink.

    In any case, we had better be sure we are tuned in. The outcome of the election may well hang on the outcome of this debate!

    (That’s for you, Cin.)

  • Jon

    “Look”

    “Bane” or “Bain”

    “Small Business”

    “Alternative” as in “energy” but “lifestyle” will also count

    “math”

  • Jon

    “Look”

    “Bane” or “Bain”

    “Small Business”

    “Alternative” as in “energy” but “lifestyle” will also count

    “math”

  • Jon

    Cinci @5

    Um, I think you mean DEBATES. On the other hand, CAMPAIGNS probably have something to do with winning an election. I mean, Obama’s not that good.

  • Jon

    Cinci @5

    Um, I think you mean DEBATES. On the other hand, CAMPAIGNS probably have something to do with winning an election. I mean, Obama’s not that good.

  • Random Lutheran

    I wish that candidates these days wouldn’t be walking yell0w streaks. Then we would have actual questions from the people there, rather than pre-approved, carefully chosen & worded questions. It would be good to see the candidates have to actually think on their feet rather than have a well of prepackaged answers to drag out.

  • Random Lutheran

    I wish that candidates these days wouldn’t be walking yell0w streaks. Then we would have actual questions from the people there, rather than pre-approved, carefully chosen & worded questions. It would be good to see the candidates have to actually think on their feet rather than have a well of prepackaged answers to drag out.

  • mikeb

    RL @ 13

    It would be nice if a few questioners went off script and made the candidates think on their feet

  • mikeb

    RL @ 13

    It would be nice if a few questioners went off script and made the candidates think on their feet

  • mikeb

    Drink every time Obama says “investment” — wait, don’t you could suffer from alcohol poisoning

  • mikeb

    Drink every time Obama says “investment” — wait, don’t you could suffer from alcohol poisoning

  • Josh

    Malarkey! Oops, sorry, wrong debate

  • Josh

    Malarkey! Oops, sorry, wrong debate

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    What a great day it will be when all of this election stuff is over.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    What a great day it will be when all of this election stuff is over.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jon@12:

    No, I meant what I said. Debates are parts of campaigns (they’re highly staged, performative events), and scads of political science research shows that campaigns don’t matter much. They’re just something to look at.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jon@12:

    No, I meant what I said. Debates are parts of campaigns (they’re highly staged, performative events), and scads of political science research shows that campaigns don’t matter much. They’re just something to look at.

  • SKPeterson

    I think a better and more informative debate format would restrict the candidates to having to use song titles in their answers. This would make watching and listening much more intriguing for the audience as they try to judge the pop culture bona fides of the aspiring candidates.

    For example, in a series of foreign policy questions, one of the candidates might say, “The U.S. has no intentions against Iran, but I cannot speak for Benny and the Jets. That is an Israeli issue.”

  • SKPeterson

    I think a better and more informative debate format would restrict the candidates to having to use song titles in their answers. This would make watching and listening much more intriguing for the audience as they try to judge the pop culture bona fides of the aspiring candidates.

    For example, in a series of foreign policy questions, one of the candidates might say, “The U.S. has no intentions against Iran, but I cannot speak for Benny and the Jets. That is an Israeli issue.”

  • kerner

    Cincinnatus @5:

    THEN. WHAT. DOES?

  • kerner

    Cincinnatus @5:

    THEN. WHAT. DOES?

  • Lou G

    Was going to say War on Women from Obama.
    But seeing as the highest ranking woman in his administration has been forced to take the fall for the men, that argument can’t stand!
    Wonder why Hillary is being such a push over?

  • Lou G

    Was going to say War on Women from Obama.
    But seeing as the highest ranking woman in his administration has been forced to take the fall for the men, that argument can’t stand!
    Wonder why Hillary is being such a push over?

  • Lou G

    Libya
    Benghazi

  • Lou G

    Libya
    Benghazi

  • Cincinnatus

    kerner@20:

    OK, I’M GOING STOP YELLING.

    For the most part–and I mean, far and away the most part–electoral outcomes are determined by structural phenomena over which politicians and their allegedly savvy campaign managers have absolutely no control. Such features include the state of the economy, incumbency, and exogenous shocks–but mostly the state of the economy.

    This academic “theory” is so commonplace and so thoroughly demonstrated that even popular journals like The Economist have assented to it (I posted a link a few days ago).

    All the horse race stuff–debate performance, gaffes, VP selection, speeches, rallies–is no more meaningful than an actual horse race at the track. Even those political scientists most stubbornly opposed to the “structural explanation” for elections have only found that campaign factors matter, at the very, at the margins in elections that are already very, very close in a localized sense (i.e., if a state is almost 50/50, a strong campaign effort might turn the tide barely in one candidate’s favor–but not necessarily).

  • Cincinnatus

    kerner@20:

    OK, I’M GOING STOP YELLING.

    For the most part–and I mean, far and away the most part–electoral outcomes are determined by structural phenomena over which politicians and their allegedly savvy campaign managers have absolutely no control. Such features include the state of the economy, incumbency, and exogenous shocks–but mostly the state of the economy.

    This academic “theory” is so commonplace and so thoroughly demonstrated that even popular journals like The Economist have assented to it (I posted a link a few days ago).

    All the horse race stuff–debate performance, gaffes, VP selection, speeches, rallies–is no more meaningful than an actual horse race at the track. Even those political scientists most stubbornly opposed to the “structural explanation” for elections have only found that campaign factors matter, at the very, at the margins in elections that are already very, very close in a localized sense (i.e., if a state is almost 50/50, a strong campaign effort might turn the tide barely in one candidate’s favor–but not necessarily).

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Who is favored by which structural criteria?

    Does the economy help R or D? why?

    Do wars help R or D? why?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Who is favored by which structural criteria?

    Does the economy help R or D? why?

    Do wars help R or D? why?

  • Trey
  • Trey
  • Wattmi

    I’m going with “failed to deliver,” “can’t afford” in conjunction with “simply,” “middle class,” and “make no mistake.” This debate is providing the caffeine I need to stay awake to write a paper tonight.

  • Wattmi

    I’m going with “failed to deliver,” “can’t afford” in conjunction with “simply,” “middle class,” and “make no mistake.” This debate is providing the caffeine I need to stay awake to write a paper tonight.

  • Cincinnatus

    sg@24:

    There are at least two major questions here.

    First, the state of the economy determines who it helps and who it hurts. If the economy is good/discernibly improving, the incumbent party almost always wins. In fact, in Presidential elections, this has held true in almost every election in the 20th century with the (notable?) exception of 1936. The economy doesn’t favor any party in particular. If a Democrat is in office while the economy is good, a Democrat will likely win again. Same goes for Republicans. The sorry state of the economy is why I’ve said several times that this is Romney’s campaign to lose.

    On the other hand, there is a substantial literature in political science investigating whether either party “owns” certain issues–i.e., whether the voting public “trusts” one party or the other on a given issue. Recently, for example, it seems that the public “trusts” Republicans on national security and foreign policy; if national security is a salient issue, it’s likely that a Republican will win (even though Democrats have presided over most major wars in the last century).

    So what if Romney loses, then, as he very well might? Well, I don’t think it will be because he’s run a poor campaign or because Obama ran a great campaign. The economy is apparently improving, Obama has the advantage of incumbency (not many one-term Presidents in modern history), and the issues Republicans seem to “own” aren’t very salient this year, among other things.

    /there are problems with all these theories, of course, but in general, I think, they hold true. For the most part, campaigns and everything appertaining thereto are smoke and mirrors.

  • Cincinnatus

    sg@24:

    There are at least two major questions here.

    First, the state of the economy determines who it helps and who it hurts. If the economy is good/discernibly improving, the incumbent party almost always wins. In fact, in Presidential elections, this has held true in almost every election in the 20th century with the (notable?) exception of 1936. The economy doesn’t favor any party in particular. If a Democrat is in office while the economy is good, a Democrat will likely win again. Same goes for Republicans. The sorry state of the economy is why I’ve said several times that this is Romney’s campaign to lose.

    On the other hand, there is a substantial literature in political science investigating whether either party “owns” certain issues–i.e., whether the voting public “trusts” one party or the other on a given issue. Recently, for example, it seems that the public “trusts” Republicans on national security and foreign policy; if national security is a salient issue, it’s likely that a Republican will win (even though Democrats have presided over most major wars in the last century).

    So what if Romney loses, then, as he very well might? Well, I don’t think it will be because he’s run a poor campaign or because Obama ran a great campaign. The economy is apparently improving, Obama has the advantage of incumbency (not many one-term Presidents in modern history), and the issues Republicans seem to “own” aren’t very salient this year, among other things.

    /there are problems with all these theories, of course, but in general, I think, they hold true. For the most part, campaigns and everything appertaining thereto are smoke and mirrors.

  • Lou G

    Hate to say I told you so, but I did.
    Women (as in binders full of women) and
    Benghazi/Libya
    were the two biggies – both made the twittersphere blow up.
    Maybe I do have a little bit of savvy on this stuff after all.

  • Lou G

    Hate to say I told you so, but I did.
    Women (as in binders full of women) and
    Benghazi/Libya
    were the two biggies – both made the twittersphere blow up.
    Maybe I do have a little bit of savvy on this stuff after all.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X