Finally, the Debates Are Here
A week from tomorrow will mark the first of three presidential debates—a sigh of relief for any American as it means this election is in its final lap. Especially considering the fact that the first of twenty Republican debates, which more closely resembled reality television, were held in May 2011 — 19 months before the election. Americans can now focus on the only debates with any lasting significance.
The first debate will be held at the pulchritudinous campus of the University of Denver. The format will be six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on topics related to domestic policy .
So what should viewers expect from the first debate?
Let’s set the scene: The Romney campaign forecasted both the selection of his running mate and the Republican National Convention to provide him with boosts in polling.
On the other hand, the selection of Paul Ryan, and the subsequent ownership Romney must take over the draconian austerity of his federal budget plan, has provided the Obama campaign with a stockpile of ammunition.
Likewise during the convention, Ann Romney failed to humanize her husband – this being the most difficult and unfair challenge the spouse of any political candidate has been handed in American history. Essentially, this is Romney’s last chance to prove himself as a candidate.
The First Debate: Because the subject they will debate is domestic policy, Romney should have another advantage. He is seen as being more capable to handle the economy and can talk about unemployment and how his policies will create jobs. This is Romney’s one solid strength as a challenger, and it is certainly an important one. If he really wants to be an over achiever, he could give viewers specifics on his tax policies.
The next debate between Romney and President Obama is a town hall format, in which people from the audience will ask the candidates questions. This gives the President an advantage because according to generally any national poll, he is more personable than his opponent. The final debate is on foreign policy—a subject that the President also has a commanding lead on in polls. Therefore, this first debate is Romney’s best opportunity to push the message of jobs and the economy.
What’s President Obama’s best bet? He should have a simple strategy: let Romney talk as much as possible.
Anyone who has seen the news in the past two weeks knows that Romney is on a roll enlightening the American public that the President apologized for the attack on the American consulate in Libya as well as chastising 47 percent of Americans, rather than focusing on the economy. At this point, Romney is poised to echo something akin to the magnitude of Gerald Ford’s historic blunder during the 1976 presidential debates: “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, and there never will be under a Ford administration.” Perhaps Romney will be in a mood to wager.
President Obama would also do well to focus on the differences between himself and his opponent, primarily his $716 billion Medicare savings and subsequent extension of the program to 2024 as opposed to the Romney-Ryan voucher plan. President Obama’s championing of the auto bailout provides another important contrast, since Romney opposed it.
Essentially, he simply needs to continue the momentum from the Democratic National Convention and create new cogent slogans like: “GM is alive and Osama bin Laden is dead.”
He should repeat his Democratic predecessor, Bill Clinton’s remarks, that made the best case for Obama’s stewardship of the economy and simultaneously debunked the premise of the entire Republican argument: “We left him a total mess. He hasn’t cleaned it up fast enough so fire him and put us back in.”
And what can the American people expect shortly after the debates?
Constant media speculation of who the nominees will be for the 2016 presidential election.
Ross Fogg is an College junior from Fayetteville, Ga.