My idea of a debate is that people marshal facts, logical arguments and, if applicable to the question, values on behalf of a controversial proposition. The winner is the person who makes the most compelling argument. The elements of a compelling argument are:
- True facts
- Correct logic
- Values I happen to agree with
You could go through the transcript of the first presidential debate with a microscope and I doubt you'd find Mitt Romney saying anything factually true or logically correct. I was more inclined to find Joe Biden's arguments, to the extent he actually made any, compelling, but that's not why he "won" his debate.
The fact is the voters they are trying to win over don't have a clue what's true or not or how to decide that, and couldn't tell a logical argument from doubletalk. The winner, in both cases, was the guy with the most impressive swagger, the one who gave the beat down, the guy who swung the biggest stick. And that's what the press coverage says too. Sure, Romney was more full of shit than a port-o-potty but that's irrelevant. Biden was large and in charge although he laughed too much. On the other hand Ryan drank too much water.
This is a totally idiotic way to to choose a president. These "debates" are worthless.