Style Or Substance?

Pundits lauded Mitt Romney’s strong debate performance on October 3, 2012, focusing on his preparedness and aggressive challenge of President Obama’s policies and performance. But while the media analysis centered on the performance aspect, ie. form, what about the actual substance of the arguments?

As time passes, and the surprise over Romney’s aggressive performance fades, the content of his arguments may begin to come under the microscope. The question is: if Romney accomplished the goal of appearing to win the debate by repeatedly misleading viewers, did he actually “win” on the arguments? Igor Volsky of Think Progress, thinks not. His article: At Last Night’s Debate: Romney Told 27 Myths In 38 Minutes is a good read.

Don’t Look To Me For A Judgement

Don’t look to this blog for the answers. For one thing, I’m a political independent. I voted for Perot, remember him? Maybe not, but you probably remember NAFTA. And certainly don’t look to the pundits who can’t seem to see the economic policy questions for the greatest political show on earth.  Sadly, it took the perspective of someone as far outside the mainstream as you can get, socialist Marc Luzietti to call this out:

‎”Tonight a pair of actors will recite rehearsed talking points to prearranged questions. They will be judged on the quality of their ability to remember scripted answers and act appropriately.

Sadly, some people think this is important.”

Thinking Outside the Box

It’s a common exhortation to “think outside the box.” But, in practice, most people let the pundits get away with trivializing complex issues by turning them into simplistic win/lose horse races.

I take the stance that an educated, non partisan, independent thinking and analytical public is a public that acts in its best interests.  My principle is that, to make an informed decision, you must put aside your initial impressions, preconceived opinions and just dig into the facts.

So when some of the pundits pronounced that this was “the most substantive Presidential debate ever” I had to laugh.  What I saw was memorized talking points, rhetoric substituting for facts, a moderator too passive to call it out. And, despite the provocative title of this piece questioning  who really lost the debate, the pundits and the public were the clear losers in being so quick to turn the serious matters of governance and the economy into a child’s game with a winner and a loser.

I’m about economics, not partisan polemics, and this is about as political as I get. Political opinions are a dime a dozen. But to get to objective analysis, one has to look beyond the petty politics of the win and dig tenaciously into the real economic policy questions, which is what I do in this blog. Because the answers to the economic questions of our times lie beyond partisanship, they can’t be found in polemics.


Related Article:

Presidential Debate Fact-Check and Updates New York Times