In watching last night’s debate – three hours is much too long for candidates and viewers – and then looking at twitter and facebook, one thing stood out.
If you like candidate X, he/she won the debate. He/she gave the best answers, stood up for him/herself and had the best quips. Anti immigration advocates gave their candidate the blessing; foreign policy wonks theirs; Constitutionalists figured theirs really understood our government. Pundits stuck to their original impressions.
Call it the Rashomon effect. That is the Japanese movie in which contradictory interpretations of the same event are given by different people. Accounts of the witnesses, suspects, and victims of a rape and murder are all different in the film. So it was with the debate.
Drudge and Time magazine snap polls had Trump winning the debate.
A friend wrote “I thought Trump was too bombastic, Carson too passive. Carly was good, so was Cruz, Rubio and even Christie made some good points. I thought Jeb Bush was lackluster, Kasich OK; not impressed with Rand Paul.” That about sums it up, except someone called Cruz “unctuous.” Something about his manner has bothered me. Unctuous is what it is.
Lots of criticism of CNN for their pugilistic tone. I was put off by their ads before the event suggesting that there would be a brawl among the candidates. They tried to encourage one, but it didn’t work. By the way, doesn’t Dana Bash have the perfect name?
I noticed, too, that when they showed a clip of Carly Fiorina at the debate they took the most unflattering, hag-like stills they could.
Still, CNN did a better job than Fox. The aggressive tone of the Fox hosts was off putting.
Who won the debate? Unless you are a debate instructor, does it really matter? The public will choose the candidate. The public will figure it out, not the pundits. It’s not even worthwhile to listen to them. They’ve been wrong in the past and will probably be wrong again. You just won’t hear them admit that. (And they lambaste Trump for not apologizing. Only in the media!)