I write this over half way through the first US presidential debate between President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Glib as it may be to hand down a pronouncement at this stage, I have to say the debate is not helping to burnish or tarnish the already widely perceived images of the two men.
One is unflappably cool who seems to think that life has a way of neatly arranging itself around his predilections. That would be Obama. The other is expectedly assertive who seems to think that life has to make way for him and step out of the way of his ambitions. That would be Romney.
One is never sure how much this debate do in terms of helping people make up their minds or change from the position they had already reached. Television seems to think they do. I remain skeptical. Television debates are a performance art that do not necessarily do much more than flesh out some of the preconceived notions and ideas about the two candidates.
As the debate is winding down by the time I have reached this paragraph, my personal sense is that the needle may not move much beyond the point it already was at before the debate. Ninety minutes divided between the two may not be enough time to hold forth on all the complex issues of a nation’s problems, let alone those of the sole global power. Within those limitations I think the two men did reasonably well to clarify their contrast, although I am not sure how much that helps.
Some five weeks before the presidential election, it is becoming clear that the voters would vote along their ideological or simply rational line of thinking.The much talked about undecided voters are unlikely to have seen anything dramatic to sway them decisively.