Pre-debate, at dinner, my Husband mentions that at the debate between George W. Bush and Al Gore, Bush had a riser behind his podium, so he would appear to be as tall as Gore. Apparently it is an advantage to be the taller candidate.
Just before 9 PM, Youngest Daughter, Husband, and I sit down in front of the TV. Son comes in the room.
YD: “We’re going to watch the debate!”
Son: “Who’s winning?”
YD: “It hasn’t started yet.”
Son: “When is half-time?”
The candidates come out on the stage. We all agree that they are the same height. One of us remarks that they both have the same color hair.
YD adds, “Throughout the history of presidential elections, the guy with the most hair is the one who wins.”
I don’t know where she got this factoid, but it sounds true to me. Maybe Rapunzel should run for president.
The candidates tackle the first question, which is about their plans for job creation. After we are about 15 minutes into the debate, Son remarks,
“Notice that Romney is wearing a red tie, and Obama is wearing a blue tie.”
The debate sparring continues.
Son: “He just said 'jobs,' like, five times.”
Son: “I think Romney has better hair.”
The candidates move on to the second topic: the federal debt. Romney mentions the Simpson-Bowles Commission.
Husband: “Did he just mention Bart Simpson?”
Romney says that he doesn’t want our country to go the way of Spain.
YD: “What’s going on in Spain? Is Spain doing well? If so, what’s wrong with following Spain?”
It’s impossible to explain what’s going on in Spain while watching the debate. YD remains unenlightened on this point.
The next topic is Social Security and Medicare.
YD: “What’s the AARP?”
Son: “The American Association of Really old People.”
YD: “What’s a voucher system?”
Son: “He just explained it.”
YD: “I stopped listening at 9:40.”
On to the fourth topic: the appropriate level of government regulation of the economy. Obama mentions Wall Street, and Main Street…
YD: “Isn’t Main Street in Disney World? Is he saying we have to help Disney World?”
Now we come to Topic 5: Health Care. Romney wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, he says, because the cost of health care is too high. Romney claims that Obamacare is adding to costs, and has killed jobs. Then he mentions the health care plan he put into effect in Massachusetts.
YD: “What [health plan] did he do when he was governor?”
Me, sighing at the irony: “Basically he set up Obamacare, but only in Massachusetts.”
YD, groaning: “WILL they shut up?!”
Son: “I think they should have a bunch of people with iPads checking up on all these numbers and facts. And if one of them says something that’s wrong, a buzzer would go off.”
And that is the smartest idea yet to come out of these debates. Maybe somebody was actually doing live fact-checking, but I am too technologically backwards to know how to take advantage of it. Interesting that Son thinks this should be done on iPads. Forget the US President; Apple rules the world.
YD: “It always comes back to taxes!”
Topic 6: The role of government
YD leaves. “Let me know what happens,” she says as she heads for her favorite computer game. I silently give her credit for staying as long as she did.
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I appreciated that this debate was not too snarky, and that it addressed important issues. But ultimately my view is that what they said at this debate doesn’t really matter. Each talked past the other, and I didn't get any clearer idea of either’s position.
One candidate looked distracted and tired; the other looked kind and grandfatherly. Let’s vote based on how they looked, shall we? Let us be governed by the best hair-do. Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair. I think Rapunzel was pretty tall, too - she's a winner.