Friday, October 12, 2012

Post VP Debate Analysis and the Moderator

Those that read what I was expecting before the debate would know that I was not even remotely surprised by how the debate unfolded. One of the craziest debates after a debate is...who won? This is ultimately like trying to predict who won a game before the game was played, since the proof of who won is found in polling trends several days afterwords. Furthermore, who won is generally dependent on who you liked going into the debate, except when one candidate dominates as happened in the first presidential debate. A much better question is did each candidate accomplish what they set out to do?

I am fully aware of the fact that many conservatives will be flustered to no end by what they perceived as a condescending, rude, and overly antagonist approach that Biden took last night. But, this is what gets lost in the conversation. What was Biden's main objective last night? To directly pander to the democrat base that had been so disheartened by the Obama performance the previous week. This is why Biden took the approach that he did and ultimately accomplished exactly what the campaign probably wanted him to. From what I am hearing democrats are extremely pleased with what happened last night and they found all of the same things that Biden did which turned off conservatives, as exciting to them. He also needed the media talking heads and general consensus to be that he at least worked himself to a draw in the match and this was also clearly done.

Ryan also had some clear objectives going into the debate and his is more up to personal opinion. In my estimation he had to not only prove he could in fact be president if he were forced to, but I felt like he needed to drive the Libyan crises to the point that it forced to the main stream media to focus much more attention on it. On the first, I think it was clearly a mission accomplished. On the second objective, I am not so sure that he had the chance to do much more then what he did. It was very "conveiently" brought up in the first question of the debate and probably quickly forgotten by many when the debate was over.

However, what captivated my attention the most was the format of the debate and the moderator. According to the commission on presidential debates the VP debate was to follow the same format as the presidential debate. In an interview with Jim Lehrer in which he was asked about criticism that had been directed his way for not inserting himself more into the first debate and why their were not more follow-up questions, he responded that this was a new format that had been approved by the candidates and it was now the job of the candidates to challenge what was being said and ask their own follow-up questions. (When it was their turn to speak, by the way) No one could have walked away from last night thinking that Martha Raddatz followed the same format as Jim Lehrer. It is not the job of the moderator to ever interrupt a candidate, except when their time allotment is up in this new format. She interrupted more last night then I ever remember in any debate, even when the format was conducive to moderators interrupting. The job of the moderator is to guide the conversation after the initial question is asked to the candidates and ensure that each candidate gets their alloted time. Obviously, this was broken on numerous occassions and unless she thought guiding the conversation meant asking three and four additional questions per sement, she fell short in following the format in this regard as well. I expect a lot of attention to be given to the fact that Preseident Obama attended Martha's wedding as a personal friend and I'm not so sure that the personal connection is not worth considering in light of the debate last night.,0,6474107.story
Vice presidential debate (October 11, 2012, Centre College, Danville, KY)
The debate will cover both foreign and domestic topics and be divided into nine time segments of approximately 10 minutes each. The moderator will ask an opening question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the question.

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