The Presidential Debates – Divided They Stand

Patrick McIntyre

Alpha-males spitting venom at each other dominated the presidential debates this year.  President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney went for each other’s throats in the second and third presidential debates on Oct. 16 and 22.  Mounting pressure for President Obama to actually show up to the second debate, as opposed to his phoning it in during the first debate, resulted in borderline overcompensation, with both candidates attacking each other like caged animals.  With Election Day on Nov. 6, and (useless?) polls showing Romney closing in on Obama in key states, the results became attack-filled rhetoric and vitriolic rebukes as opposed to concrete answers, culminating into an astounding struggle for the presidency.

During the second debate, with the town-hall format allowing “undecided” voters to ask questions to both candidates, Candy Crowley moderated while President Obama and Governor Romney refused to show weakness and utilized each and every question asked as an attack on his opponent.  When talking about the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya that resulted in the death of four Americans, Romney speculated and questioned the handling of the situation by the administration.  Obama rebuked the attack by Romney.  “The suggestion that anybody on my team would play politics or mislead, when we’ve lost four of our own, Governor, is offensive.”

Obama continued his wary attitude towards corporate greed and the concentration of wealth, propping up Romney as the poster child for corporate takeover and taking advantage of an overly complicated tax code giving benefits to those making more.  Obama utilized Romney’s hidden camera comments, where he claimed 47 percent of the country doesn’t contribute their share.
The lack of choice for American’s on gun control manifested itself as the topic arose.  The only choice available here is apparently between social organization and education, suggested by Obama, or a need for “two parents in the home,” suggested by Romney.

Interruptions dominated the second debate, especially by Obama.  His desperate need to establish a more dominant and tough image to voters resonated during constant and awkward mini-arguments between questions by the audience.  This is a painful response to the entire theme of the presidential debates—stances aside, the debates sway few voters other than the large quantity of people impressed with the candidate’s physical image and their ability to exude confidence over an opponent.  Apparently, it’s easy to forget that the candidates take their positions on social and economic issues months and years before these debates—that is, if they don’t make a career out of flip-flopping.

The third debate focused on foreign policy, allowing the candidates to display their individual plans for enforcement of “democracy” upon developing and potentially threatening countries.  While Obama touted his accomplishments, such as eliminating Bin Laden, and his ability to keep America safe, Romney chided many of the President’s decisions, claiming too many mishaps and calamities. The tone set by Obama stayed consistent with the second debate, essentially a more commanding and fire-eyed president than his performance in the first debate.  Remarks over antiquated forms of military weaponry and transportation represented Obama’s utter disbelief in Romney’s ability or coherence in foreign policy.  “Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed,” Obama said, referring to the GOP’s views on national security.

The presidential ticket between these two parties, Democratic and Republican, is an unfortunate choice due to the blockading of the Green, Libertarian and Justice Parties from the debates.  Elections are on Nov. 6, and the increasingly deadlocked expectations for voting day is demonstrative of our progressively polarized state of politics—you’re either with us, or against us.