Analyze the politics, if you must. Romney won because Barack Obama used more facts. Obama lost because he refused to use rhetoric or generalities. (That sounds like a sarcastic dig at Romney, but it’s not. On Wednesday night, Mitt was the superior politician. He sounded more like a President. There, is that fair?)
But, for the love of God (or whatever Obama believes in), was that not the slowest, driest, and most languishingly long debate you’ve ever seen?
In that video above, Diane Sawyer previewed it as the Super Bowl of American politics. Yea, right. This was more like that Thanksgiving game where the ref screwed up the coin toss.
It was a snail’s fight. There were no attacks. There was nothing that even came close to what the most conservative of Germans would call an offensive.
Of course, maybe that’s all right. It’s probably good for America that they now have two candidates of the same cloth to choose from, each of whom spent Wednesday night trying to convince themselves, “Yes, I am different than you!”
(*They didn’t seem to convince anyone else.)
There were times it looked like they might make out. Both Obama and Romney could be caught nodding during the others’ speeches. Then, they would smirk… of course, they were at the moment (probably) realizing that this was a game, and they had to win, and they couldn’t allow their approval of the other to trump their personal priorities.
There were times when you looked at both of them and thought, “What if you worked together? How much progress could you make?“
We consistently talk about the cultural and societal clefts that separate the Elephants from the Donkeys, but it’s now become harder and harder to tell whether Romney is a liberal, or whether Obama is a staunch conservative.
Both candidates waver. Their shoes are comfortably tapping on either side of the fence they’re both straddling. It’s as if they’re both just tired, and they’re tired of the grandstanding and the pretending.
For once, left Americans might have seen a Romney they aren’t afraid of. For once, conservatives and First Amendment junkies saw an Obama that wasn’t standing atop a bank in Madrid, singing the Soviet Union’s national anthem.
It was, in many ways, a good night for America.
But, of course, that wouldn’t seem normal. We’ll wait for Thursday, when the political world can turn to chaos. Like, hurricane chaos. You know hurricanes. They did David Gergen’s hair.
Well, we can only hope.