I, like President Obama, was a bit unprepared for last week’s Presidential debate.
I had no idea what to look for. I went in blind. And I came out, according to everyone else on the planet, blind as well.
I thought Obama did well.
Well. That was my impression. Not particularly great, not particularly awful—just well.
I learned quickly after the debate, however—from the media, from my favorite television hosts, from my mom—that I was wrong. And not just wrong. But, according to Chris Matthews, really, really, undoubtedly wrong.
Word on the street was Obama choked. Something everyone agreed on. Nothing like a little unfiltered anger and disappointment to bring the parties together, I always say.
Where was I?
What I saw as calm and collected and, yes, in a way, earnestly and understandably disinterested, others saw as weak and unprepared and…weak.
I learned quickly that what I forgot to account for was theatrics. People want showmanship, not substance. They want two hungry maws maligning each other. They want Obama, The Defender versus Romney, The Challenger. Weighing in at…
You get the point.
Maureen Dowd included a quote from Carter White House adviser Gerry Rafshoon in her recent op-ed that perhaps sums it up best: “people prefer a good liar to a bad performer.”
So, tonight I’m doing the Vice Presidential debate right. I know what to look for. My boyfriend is out picking up pizza and wings as we speak (as I type). And we’re going to sit back, scarf down, and hope the best performer wins. True American style. Because, after all, there’s nothing the country could use more right now than a great showman.