Okay, okay, some of you may be planning to watch. But I highly doubt the event will live up to the mainstream media's manufactured drama and high-octane hype:
DENVER (AP) - President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney come face to face for the first time in this presidential campaign Wednesday night for a nationally televised debate that will give millions of Americans a chance to size up two fierce competitors in a moment of high-risk theater.
Romney, trailing in polls in a number of key states and running short on time to reverse his fortunes, is angling for a breakout performance in the three 90-minute presidential debates scheduled over the next three weeks.
Obama, well aware that the remaining five weeks of the race still offer enough time for tectonic shifts in his prospects, is determined to avoid any campaign-altering mistakes as he presses his case for a second term.
Were there really 19 of those things? Well, no wonder we're all a little debate-weary.
A pre-debate skirmish Tuesday over Vice President Joe Biden's passing reference to "a middle class that has been buried the last four years" demonstrated how just a few words can mushroom into something larger during a heated contest for the White House. [...]
In a quadrennial pre-debate ritual, each campaign has worked overtime to raise expectations for the opponent while lowering the bar for its own candidate. The thinking is that it's better to exceed lukewarm expectations than to fail to perform at an anticipated level of great skill.
But both men are seasoned debaters: Obama has been here before, facing off with McCain in 2008. Romney hasn't gone one on one in a presidential debate, but he got plenty of practice thinking on his feet during 19 multicandidate debates held during the Republican primaries.
Here are my debate predictions, in no particular order:
- Neither candidate will do as well as his partisan supporters (including, where applicable, the mainstream media) thinks he has done.
- Neither candidate will do as poorly as his partisan opponents (including, where applicable, the mainstream media) thinks he has done.
- No startling new policy statements, opinions, or philosophical viewpoints will be revealed unless a candidate "misspeaks" (in which case the party defense mechanism will be on display full-force for the first 24 hours after the debate to tell us why the candidate didn't in any way mean what the plain language would suggest he meant)
- Soundbites will have primacy over substance, but Twitter-friendly bits will trump soundbites
- Demonstrably untrue things will be said, but the media will not pay much attention to the untruths uttered by their favorite candidate
- Short of an utter meltdown by President Obama, the debate will be declared a victory for him, whether it actually is or not
- The debate will have almost no effect on the undecideds, who don't watch debates and may not even bother to vote
- Bonus prediction: conflict in the Middle East will continue regardless of what happens at the debate
NOTE: I apologize for the weird spacing in this post. Blogger's fault. Still working on the move.