A strange incident in the second debate (not about Benghazi)

In today’s New York Times blog, David Sanger writes:

When President Obama and Mitt Romney sit down Monday night for the last of their three debates, two things should be immediately evident: there should be no pacing the stage or candidates’ getting into each other’s space…

This reminded me of an acutely uncomfortable moment early in the second debate. The two candidates did in fact get into each other’s space, and they were hotly contradicting each other about something, and the thought came to me that they might come to blows. They didn’t of course, but for one vertiginous instant I felt it was possible.

This is an additional reason why the free-form, pacing-the-stage, “town hall” format is inappropriate and should be eliminated.

At the same time, it cannot be denied that the format has produced some unforgettable moments, most especially in the first debate in 2000 when a pathologically charged-up Al Gore sneaked up behind George W. Bush while the latter was speaking, evidently with the intent of throwing him off his stride, and Bush turned and looked at him with a surprised, contemptuous look that said, “What is wrong with you, pal?” I thought that was one of the moments that sealed Bush’s election.

Still, such low-level melodrama is unseemly in presidential politics. We’re supposed to be electing a head of state, not a TV wrestler.

- end of initial entry -

October 22

Terry Morris writes:

You wrote: “We’re supposed to be electing a head of state, not a TV wrestler.”

But that is what made Bush’s reaction to Gore’s inappropriate, sneaky tactic so good. In that instant the contrast between Bush and Gore was made strikingly evident. Bush was serious and no-nonsense, and it was written all over his face. Gore, by contrast, was juvenile and lawless in his behavior. It was a huge error by Gore, and may well have cost him the election, as you say. But some of us just can’t seem to get over ourselves, even when the stakes are so high.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 21, 2012 08:51 PM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):