Tonight is the second presidential debate. I enjoyed the first as only a true masochist can. The VP debate was less harrowing, so I was largely bored. Mr Biden pretty much spanked Representative Ryan, a not unexpected occurrence. The Vice President has been a public servant, participating in debates, since before I was born. Representative Ryan was still in diapers. One may not like Mr Biden hamming it up while the Congressman repeated his non-facts, but the tactic was effective.
Tonight, I expect the President to deploy different tactics. He will engage the audience, speak more casually, and share anecdotes rehearsed over the past two weeks of campaigning. I think Mr Romney will be slightly less comfortable in this format, and will deploy his stiff, robotic laugh.
I am very interested Candy Crowley’s performance as facilitator. She is under a great deal of scrutiny, and will probably be criticized no matter what she does, so her choices during the town hall will say a lot about her character. Her career might also be affected, either positively or negatively. In my opinion, her best option is to be bold and courageous, without becoming combative. She absolutely cannot allow herself to be silenced or railroaded.
I’m also keenly interested in how Mr Romney will treat Ms Crowley. He’s provided ample evidence that he doesn’t appreciate being challenged, especially by women, and can get a bit shirty in that situation. If he attacks or tries to bulldoze Ms Crowley it will play poorly in Pleasantville.