Two Men, One Moderator and a Stopwatch… I’m All Atwitter.

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The Presidential debate: I dare to blog about it, even though it’s only been 24 hours since it occurred and it’s already been beaten to death.

One of the best, rhetorical questions spawned by Tuesday’s debate came from Joe Posnanski.  “How can people who are still undecided by this election decide who won a debate?”  In other words, if you are partisan (like most of us) you probably think your guy won.  But if you are still one of the inexplicably undecided, I suspect at this point you just hate both candidates equally.

It’s true, unless Barack Obama suffers some sort of cataclysmic neurological event on stage, and goes all Madness-Of-King-George on us, I’m voting for him.  So when I watch the debates, it’s really for two reasons:

First, it’s above-average people watching.  I am always amazed by how silly grown men — and sometimes women — can be in the political arena when egg timers (and network audiences) are involved.  It makes me squirm.  It’s a car crash, but I can’t look away.

I have a few tips for the candidates based on my observations, free of charge:

  • Do not whine about how you got only 5 minutes to “answer” the question about gun control – albeit with random arguments about higher education – but your opponent got 6.5 minutes.  It is unseemly, and no matter how solid your argument may seem to someone with a stopwatch… you wind up sounding like a 6-year-old waiting his turn to play Angry Birds on the family iPad.
  • Ditto on pouting because you believe you are due a chance to respond to your opponent, but the moderator says it’s time for a new topic.   It’s impossible to avoid sounding like a preschooler screaming “Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine!”.
  • Do not be rude to the moderator, especially if she is female…. and most especially if you are courting women voters.  (And let’s face it, why wouldn’t you be courting us, because we are awesome!)  As a strategy, it’s just plain flawed.
  • If you made a huge gaffe in the past few weeks — say you hypothetically, callously accused nearly 50% of Americans of being dirtbag blood-sucking leeches, and that was a haymaker for your opponent — you may not want to make unsolicited claims of support for “100%” of the population.  For those of us not thinking about your gaffe just then… well, you just said the word “percent”, so we’re thinking about it now.

I also love these debates for the jokes on Twitter.

If you are an active tweeter you generally fall into one of four groups:

  • Bitter bigots who are unable to correctly spell their, there or they’re.  In rare cases when these folks penetrate the defensive moat around my carefully cultivated twitter community… there’s an I-will-block-you function and I’m not afraid to use it.
  • Very, very funny comedians, pundits, and bloggers.
  • “Personalities” who are the objects of ridicule of these comedians, pundits and bloggers.  (Think, Donald Trump.)
  • Anonymous Dilbert types whose comedic talents are wasted in the desolation of cubeville.  They love Twitter because the jokes are funny, and mostly true, and once in a while they crack a few good ones of their own.

I’ll leave it to you to decide where I fit.

You’ll find lots of “best debate tweets” out there today.  Here are a few of mine….

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