On Monday, I predicted that voters would tune out for last night's debate.
I have to say, my debate watching experience couldn't have been a more literal representation of that thesis. Last night, I watched the debate at a watch-party hosted by our local Young Professional Republicans group here in town. Despite the friends gathered — and the open bar — the group slowly dwindled down to zero long before the candidates' closing statements.
That's right. Even free booze couldn't keep people lashed to their seats.
So what when wrong last night? Here are the top four things that made the final presidential debate unwatchable.
1) It was the apex of political jargon.
The consensus in the snap polls is that Obama came out swinging and won last night's debate. It may be true that Obama came out swinging, but I think that both candidates got their tongues tied.
Obama's tropes about the nation's "credibility" and responsibility to "spread democracy" were repeated often enough to bore us all to death.
Meanwhile, Romney made many vague references to America's "committments to its principles."
2) And then there was just pure nonsense.
I quickly grow weary of the circular conversation many have about fact checking and employing fact checkers. But maybe in this debate, fact checkers would have done some good.
Not because Americans were in danger of being hoodwinked by the candidates (the lies they spun were just plain outrageous), but because fact checking might have brought some sense of order to things, like a line-judge in a tennis match.
Throughout the debate there were gems like this:
Or when Obama starting talking about how "American families just want good schools for their kids."
Well, of course they do, but what does that have to do with foreign policy?
3) The only substantive moments in the debate happened when the candidates agreed with each other.
Here are some examples via the Huffington Post:
"On Fox News and MSNBC, commentators noted that Romney seemed to be trying to pull himself closer to Obama, even as the president attacked him. The two found basic harmony over bombing Libya, drone strikes, Israel, Iran and Syria, among other things.
'It was amazing' how much Romney agreed with Obama, Fox News analyst Joe Trippi said.
His colleague Stephen Hayes said that, in an effort 'not to sound like George W. Bush, 'Romney wound up 'sounding a lot like Barack Obama.'"
4) If this had a domestic policy debate, Romney might have won.
But it wasn't, and thus the president won by default.