Neither really, but if I had to choose, I'd say looking forward. Debates are not terribly substantive in their present format. I expect Romney to lie and dissemble and there will be no effective way to expose that--the moderators certainly won't. The best I can hope for-aside from Romney imploding--is for Obama to come across as the most believable.
Looking forward, but not because I expect Obama to gain any advantage or anything, but because students always put on debate watching parties, and I get to pontificate and educate and its a fun time. I always keep a running tally of things they do. Some of the items I pre-list, like "nukular" and, this year, "jobs." Other categories I add on the fly, like sighs and "lockbox" in 2000. One categor for me this year will be "No! Connect!" (a la Lisa Simpson, for every time Mitt says something that just doesn't connect with the audience. I could count pauses for Obama, but I'd run out of paper
Looking forward to for similar reasons to Matt, although I'll probably be bored by the actual content. The V.P. debate will probably be something else.I also predict that whoever is ahead in the polls (probably Obama) will sweep all the "who won?" polls quite regardless of whatever actually happens in the debates or what the pundits say.
The VP debate should be fun. One guy will say anything, and the other guy will say anything. True evenhandedness, for a change!
Mostly looking forward. My attitude right now is that I just want to never have to look at or hear from Mitt Romney ever again, but I have a feeling that the guy who kept losing his composure in response to Rick Santorum and Rick Perry will have a much harder time seeming steady compared to BHO.OTOH, I'm really looking forward to Biden vs. Ryan. I can't see Biden giving Ryan anything other than contempt and scorn (i.e. basically what he deserves), and Ryan has never led me to believe that he can handle this particularly well. A guy who lies about running times to impress people he is...I just wonder how Washington will be able to rationalize the guy they label a dumbbell ripping apart the guy they label an honest, tough, smart wonk.
I hope you're wrong. Biden did very well against Palin, without tearing her apart. He could do the same to Ryan. A substantive, reality based debate would give liberals a serious lift.
Definitely not fearing them. I guess I actually am looking forward to seeing Romney try out his lies on the President. He'll be shocked that when he debates somebody who isn't desperate for Tea Party votes like his primary opponents that he won't get away with that level of mendacity and extremism. I hope he does trot out "you didn't build that", gutting welfare reform, sympathizing with protesters who killed our ambassador, the Medicare cuts, and all the other garbage he's been running in his ads for months. Obama should have no problem shooting that crap down. It should be good for a point or two temporary bump and smooth sailing to re-election.
I watch but don't particularly like debates because they are all about the show and gotchas. One quick slick comment can be all the media walks away with. I don't dread them but sure don't look forward to them either as anything can go wrong. The way Romney has lied through this whole campaign, it's hard to take anything he says seriously for me as a Dem but there are those who believe them all.
It'll be fun to see whatever silly "game changer" Romney pulls out. My only wonder is that, considering how stiff he is and how many issues he has glaring vulnerabilities associated with, how is he going to get Obama in any corners? His campaign has been saying they "have to" win the debates, though...
I'm looking forward to the debates because it is a further opportunity for President Obama to make his policies and their effects clear to the voting public. Apart from those with a professional interest, I expect the viewers to be voters who are almost ready to commit but need reassurance and clarity. I believe most of them are Obama voters. And the debates will do what the convention did.It's probably true that what most people see are the moments the media selects. But President Obama will have to fail big for these debates, especially this first debate, to change the trajectory.I think we will see the difference in temperament, thoughtfulness and stature side by side. That alone may be enough to decide this.
I'm looking forward to them. The debates and the babble-headed spin they produce are great entertainment. Sadly, that's part of the failure, it's entertainment, not serious policy. One thing that stands out for me is that long ago meeting on health care between a very new President Obama and the House Republicans. As I recall, President Obama single-handedly cleaned the deck. I presume that performance is very much in Romney's mind.
Looking forward. Romney has to find hook in Obama while being able articulate an alternative way forward. Gonna be tough but not possible.On the VP debate, I'm interested to see if Ryan tries to piss off Biden to get a "gaffe" or if he stays positive and protects his own image. Also it will be interesting to see what Romney's temperament is like when he's down in the polls if that is still the case.
If you've ever watched the Lefty press corp operate, you already know that Obama's the pre-ordained winner. ;)
Does that include FOXNEWS?
I was under the impression the "Lefty press corp" consisted entirely of Firedog Lake.The rest range from corporatist shills to frothing mad Faux Noise lunatics.
I'm not too sure Obama's going to "win" in the eyes of the public/media/etc... Romney has the the "Lower Expectations" advantage in this one, and I'm sure he's going to do just fine in presenting himself. So I think he'll get a bit of credit from pundits just for being there and "holding his own" against an incumbent who's considered a pretty skilled debater. I think it'll be interesting nonetheless, because I'm curious to see which attacks Romney will be willing to repeat to Obama in person.
Interesting, and possibly true.But. . . the public has also just seen Romney the last man standing in a never-ending series of debates against a vast GOP field of challengers.So there's some conflict here; Romney's a known debate presence. And this vs. the matter/antimatter Obama who's 'considered a pretty skilled debater' and Obama who needs a teleprompter. I not convinced the expectations game plays out so simply this time around.
I'm not sure the GOP primary debates did Romney any favors. He rarely broke a sweat against the other candidates, so it's not like they helped him improve his performance.
Romney, off script, is a terrible and awful thing to behold. I never look forward to debates, but seeing cool Obama shred the fidgety, lying, empty Mittens suit might have some transitory entertainment value.Far more important, in terms of the election outcome, will be how successful the R's are at deterring voter registrations and suppressing the vote.I am very afraid.JzB
"Romney, off script, is a terrible and awful thing to behold."As today's little kerfuffle is demonstrating. Seriously, Romney is really bad at this politics thing. He could still win: presidential elections have so much advertising and coverage that it really all comes down to fundamentals, and a retarded monkey can get elected president if the winds are blowing in the right direction. But, I'm increasingly at a loss for how this guy got elected governor, unless he just saturated the airwaves. He's really not good at this.(Might be fine as a president, once you get past all those issue positions I disagree with, he's just not as a politician)
Matt, I hear retarded monkeys are organizing a boycott of your campus.
Oh, wow. So many ways I can respond to Scott's comment, esp. now that I have tenure!:)
i am looking forward to the debate but at the same time i am fearing it. because I do not really want Mitt Romney to win because i personally do not think he has the right ideas that I AM LOOKING FOR i do not know what others think it is just my opinion. but i am also looking forward to it because me as a person i would really like to see opinions.
I would say I was looking forward to them, except I almost never actually watch them. By the end of the 2-year campaign, the territory has been worked over so thoroughly, it's not worth covering it again. Obama isn't really one of those guys who can blow away an opponent at a debate, but he's solid and reliable. Romney always seems constipated in formal situations like this; plus, he's never really mastered the wingnut rhetoric he's running with this time. I will be surprised if we get any outcome besides a draw or a mild Obama victory.
I'm more fearing them than looking forward.It seems to me that the incumbent doesn't have a lot to gain in this situation, unless he can blow the challenger away. Obama and Romney cut a vaguely similar figure as debaters-- good at appearing cool and confident most of the time, prone to occasional gaffes when they get flustered. So I don't see a blowout coming, unless Romney loses his mind onstage and bets somebody a HUNDRED JILLION DOLLARS and a show horse.I think the Dems stand a better chance of "winning" the VP debate, where Biden might benefit from the same expectations game that hurt him against Palin last time. But a VP debate isn't gonna swing anybody.On the other hand, I will watch the debates, and I'm looking forward to them in one narrow sense: They're the last big hurdle before the campaign is over. I've been enjoying all this, in my political gadfly mode, for ages. But we've reached the point where it's turned really nerve-wracking and unpleasant and now I just want to know whether I have to adjust myself to accepting President Romney or whether I can breathe easy for a couple more years.After the debates, we'll be a lot closer to that point.
At The Washington Post
At The American Prospect