The Undecideds Become the Deciders: The 2012 Town Hall Debates

| October 17, 2012

Moments before the action began at New York’s Hofstra University, the camera panned an audience that looked like a cutaway from a 1978 Phil Donahue Show. And when a questioner stood and mouth-breathed the first question in thick New Yorkese, it looked as though the corralled group of undecideds may actually be the story themselves. Town hall debates, by their nature, are not venues for heated political sparring; rather they are opportunities for candidates to focus on showing compassion and demonstrating their “relateability” to people who vacillate for weeks over “paper or plastic.” But in the end, it seems the spectacular kerfuffle between the candidates served to simply confuse many of the undecides further.  And they were the smart ones by comparison.

Even the most respected of the G.O.P.’s hired guns reluctantly admitted defeat though the spinniest of the spin-meisters called the debate “a draw” while smothering their commentary in caveats. Conservative columnist George Will said it was the best televised debate he’d ever seen and that for President Obama it was a clear victory: “Barack Obama not only gained ground that he had lost, he cauterized some wounds that he inflicted on himself by seeming too distant and disengaged.”

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And unlike liberal-based forms of social media and blogs that chastised Obama after the first debate, and their readers who waxed despondent while licking their wounds, conversely Congressman Paul Ryan said today that Romney “crushed it again.” Fox News complained Obama spoke for three more minutes than Romney, while their talking heads defended Romney’s “binders” comment.

“Binders full of women” was seized upon as fodder for funny memes though it was actually a harmless statement made by the governor; all new administrations are actually brought such files of different types of candidates for consideration for various government positions. However, the International Business Times reports that Romney did not in fact request this binder; it was given to him by a Massachusetts women’s group.

The fans at “Obama is a One-Term President” remained post-free even seventeen hours after the debate and “Mainstream America Against Obama” updated their status only once with “Can someone tell this jackass to shut up!”

In between the sounds of crickets chirping on conservative social media, the ones who were talking were raging at CNN’s Candy Crowley. Fox News host Megyn Kelly (with the dumbest motherfucking spelling of a name ever) said the moderator had her “thumb on the scale” as fact-checker-in-chief.

Saucer-eyed Tracey Davis, former speech writer for President George H.W. Bush (like that’s something to be proud of), apoplectically called Crowley “despicable!” and said the journalist was “acting like God!” And former White House aide DeeDee Benkie (whose hair, by the way, looks like shit) said that Crowley gave Obama “a lifeline.”

But leave it to Fox News Channel to host their own panel of undecided voters in Las Vegas that would end up making the Gallup poll-selected group at the second presidential debate look like a Socratic circle jerk on Mount Olympus.

Republican pollster Frank Luntz chose the heavily peppered slop troth of “former Obama supporters” who, not surprisingly, ended up overwhelmingly siding with Romney. When asked if the group thought the president “performed well” the crowed universally growled, “No.”

And when asked what they thought of Romney’s performance the crowd of mostly senior citizens rattled with enthusiasm. A red-headed lady with a face like a shrunken apple, called the Republican candidate a “dynamo winner!” while another newly converted Republican called Romney “realistic.” One man with a wig that looked like a piss-soaked cotton ball just said, “our next president.”

But one particular genius, who was hopping mad, stole the show and slurred that “Obama lied to get infected [sic]… and I bought it — bull…And he hasn’t come through on anything. And he’s been bullshittin’ the public.”  Charming.

Next Monday, once they exhume Bob Schieffer to host the third presidential debate, at least we’ll only have one confused person to pose queries. Unless, of course, Romney gets confused on which side of the issues he currently stands.

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