It’s published in Splice Today today. I argue that the president likely threw off the first debate to stave off boredom. Seriously:
It’s broadly acknowledged that President Obama got beat like a drum by Mitt Romney in the first presidential debate in Denver. Even Slate, that bastion of phony contrarianism, couldn’t find a single pundit foolish enough to argue Obama had won it on points or on style. Every poll of debate watchers found at least a clear plurality thought Romney had won. When you take out all the undecideds and people who would never say anything nice about a Republican, the verdict was unanimous.
Obama didn’t manage to win it on word count either, though he steamrolled over moderator Jim Lehrer to speak four minutes longer than Romney. There were too many pauses and hesitations and uhs and ums and ahs. The President looked distracted and bored and pissed off, and that’s precisely how he debated. He tried a few canned attacks and when Romney deflected those effectively, he shrugged and passed the time [more...]