I watched some of it last night -- and turned it off, embarrassed for them. The candidates strutted and preened and got almost in one another's space like teen-age boys, B-team jocks, trying to impress the same cheerleader, while treating the moderator like the cheerleader's weight-challenged friend.
Friends tell me that it was "genuine, gloves-off realpolitik;" what I saw was a couple of men who had trouble giving a straight answer to any question, tended to lecture and who couldn't be bothered to notice a count-down clock. Petty schmucks, with whom I'd hate to have to share a cab or the same row on an airliner.
Shut off the TV and went to sleep. The Presidency is really a crappy job: the pay isn't all that great. You can't even go buy a damn pushcart hot dog without a dozen Secret Service agents and half the White House Press Corps getting in the way. You have to live over the office, they run tours through the place all day and you're on 24-hour call. Whatever decision you make, about half the public thinks it was wrong and plenty of them have no qualms about calling, writing, blogging or otherwise carping about it. And it appears to age the President a decade for every four-year term. Still, you'd think that whole, "Leader of the Free World," dinner with Kings and Popes, fame and fancy living thing would attract a slightly better group of applicants. Or at least guys who could debate each other with more decorum than High School students.
UPDATE: I've had comments asking if I noticed the moderator taking the President's side, or what he had to say about guns -- What, a member of the Old Media carried a Democrat President's water? Mr. Obama has outrageous opinions about guns? Quelle surprise! But that both men huff and bow up like tomcats at one another, an ill-cast Tweedlemney and Tweedlebama, that is something a bit new. When both of them prefer mud wrestling to the high ground, whichever way you vote and whatever other issues and baggage come with it (and there is plenty of both), it's a sure vote for mud-slinging. I'm disappointed at a system that keeps trying to back me into a purely defensive vote.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
8 months ago