The sport of politics is now entering the final home stretch of the campaign season and it is time for observations of who came out ahead in the Great Debates.
Who was the biggest loser in the last three weeks? Clearly the answer is Lance Armstrong. Oops, sorry, wrong sport.
It should be noted that the last debate between Mitt Romney and President Obama went up against the seventh game of the National League Championship Series and Monday Night Football.
It does make you wonder just how smart the folks are who are running these campaigns.
Of course, with all the devices available, you can now watch about four things at the same time and listen to three different songs while sending messages to someone who probably doesn’t want to hear from you.
And no matter how you rate their performance, it is fair to say both men had a better night than the St. Louis Cardinals and the Detroit Lions and both men probably feel a lot better today than Lance Armstrong.
Determining who won or lost a presidential debate and how the performance actually influences people and the way they might vote is like trying to pick the prettiest pig at the county fair, although presidential debates are like taking a pig to the beauty parlor.
Both men should consider themselves lucky there was not an empty chair on the stage with them or voters could be looking at a serious third party candidate.
These are not really debates; they are political conversations during which both sides continue their position rhetoric and hoped no one laughed.
The problem with the so-called debates is the talking heads and pundits tend to exaggerate everything. Even the minutest detail or casual wave of the hand will be over-analyzed.
If either man had scratched his nose, there would have been editorials all over the country the next day proclaiming one man had thumbed his nose at the other. No one would have suggested he scratched his nose because it itched.
Most people watch debates to see if the candidates look either presidential or unpresidential. Both men passed this test because neither started to drool or fell off the stage.
Looking unpresidential can be anything from mumbling to forgetting where Europe is located.
Presidential can be anything from looking tough and stern to displaying a good sense of humor.
Unpresidential can be mispronouncing a word, although “nuckler” did not hurt George Bush. Just showing up can also look unpresidential. Seeing Michael Dukakis standing on stage gave the impression he could only be elected president of Munchkin Land.
Demonstrating a sense of humor helped John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. Trying to display a sense of humor made Richard Nixon look like, well, Richard Nixon.
The so-called debates can sometimes offer some insight as to how someone may handle stress. The sweat factor is a consideration because we don’t want our president to puddle up if someone tells him about a terrorist attack or the new intern in his office. Cool under pressure is a hallmark of being presidential.
But even this is hard to assess because these guys have been prepped, prepared and packaged more than the contestants in the Miss America contest.
Ultimately, we don’t know much more now than we did when the debates started, except we are little closer to the end and St. Louis did not make the World Series thanks to a botched infield fly rule.
And no matter what happens now, both men are still having better days than Lance Armstrong.