Who Won the First Debate? We Did.

The thing that surprised me the most about the first presidential debate was that everyone seemed to think that Governor Romney “won.”

I was somewhat confused by this at first until I realized that the methods of judging the relative performance of the two men were entirely superficial. FWIW, I thought the governor was more aggressive than the President, but no less or more clear in his presentation of his position.

Maybe the reason everyone is so sure that Governor Romney “won” is that they were surprised he could stand up there and hold his own against President Obama. If that’s it, I don’t know why. He was the governor of a large state and he’s been running for president for most of the past six years. He ran in 2008 and I think he’s basically been running for this election ever since the polls closed in November of that year. So he should have some chops to bring to the fight. Doesn’t surprise me that he was able to put his viewpoint out there.

What did surprise me is that most people seemed to think the President was lackluster in his performance. I thought he presented his viewpoints very well.

There were no “There you go again,” “You’re no Jack Kennedy” moments to put it over the top for either candidate.

However, the question of who was the most aggressive or who managed to say their piece without tripping over their own tongue is just the usual superficiality we the people get fed about every question before us as a nation. The analysis I’ve seen is not worthy of the debate it’s analyzing. These guys really mixed it up on the issues. It’s the first time I’ve seen that in a long while.

I think the debate itself was an excellent discussion of their relative positions concerning key programs like Social Security and Medicare. It didn’t go into enough depth about the Affordable Health Care Act. I’m hopeful that will happen in the future.

They did engage in some back and forth as to who was lying about whom, and I plan to check those claims out for myself later. But I think that anyone who watched this first debate would walk away with a better understanding of how these two men differ in what they would do with the power of the office, at least in terms of taxes, medicare, and such.

It’s quite clear that there’s a real difference in philosophy between them concerning these issues. Things like Social Security, Medicare and other working-people issues are where I align with the Democrats. That may be why I didn’t see it as a Romney win the way most other people seem to. I simply disagreed with some of the things he was saying. Maybe that prejudiced me.

In the end, most people who watched the debate will probably line up with whichever candidate most closely reflected their own beliefs. If that’s what happens, it’s an excellent result, since what I’m talking about is informed voting. The vast majority of the people who did NOT watch the debate will be forced to get their opinion from the superficial criteria the “analysts” use for deciding these things.

As for who “won” tonight’s debate, I honestly think it was the American people. For once, we got to see these two men who want to be our next president talk in depth about the issues.

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