While I’m quite interested in politics (much as with the Olympics — in a binge every four years or so), I find the debates difficult to watch. The whole format, which rewards distilling points into small bits of time, playing “gotcha” and employing zingers, highlights the worst part of our current politics. Namely, that it’s a war, and for you to win, the other guy has to lose. I also dislike the spectacle of two aggressive guys going after each other. So I decided not to watch it on television.
I did, however, watch the debate…on Twitter. The people I follow on Twitter are all over the political map. So I got the debate highlights, and saw what was working and what wasn’t. A few folks deemed everything Pres. Obama said as brilliant, which got a little tedious. Gov. Romney doesn’t inspire quite the same veneration; he’s not really that kind of public figure. But over thousands of tweets, I could see multiple angles of argument, and further discussion of points the candidates had to eventually drop (like whether Obama called the Libya murders a terrorist attack or not, whether Romney was politicizing it, etc.).
A few other points:
#Bindersfullofwomen — This is a memorable image, and got tweeted all over the place, inspiring various memes. Some folks in the Obama camp are trying to make a point of it, that it makes Romney seem out of touch with women, but I’m not sure why. If you’re trying to staff up a large organization with diverse people, why wouldn’t you ask lots of people for recommendations of candidates?
Comparisons — an interesting question to ask Romney how he’s different from George W. Bush, and one he needs to make a good case for if he wants to be elected. Though the immediate question on Twitter from folks on the right was if Obama would explain how he’s different from Jimmy Carter.
Gun control — perhaps a winning issue for the New York voters in the audience, but both candidates seemed to recognize that it’s not a winning issue in many of the swing states they’re battling over. It’s funny how little this topic has been talked about in this election, given how contentious it’s been in years past. I wonder if some day abortion will be viewed the same way (see my link to column below)
Smart move by Obama to save the “47 percent” for his final statement, when he knew Romney wouldn’t get a chance to rebut. Perhaps anticipating this, Romney gave a bit of a “pre-buttal” but Obama definitely won a strategy point there (which the folks on Twitter whining ‘when is he going to mention the 47 percent?’ all night should have realized).
In other news:
I had a column in yesterday’s USA Today, tied to tightening poll numbers, on “Why women might vote Republican.”
My Fortune piece, looking at the findings from a 1954 survey on executive workweeks, also ran yesterday.
Over at CEO.com I have a piece called “Want a personal life? Get up early.“
In a related vein, I have a post at CBS MoneyWatch called “6 secrets to getting more sleep.”