I think there was a winner in the sense that Barack Obama not only gained ground he lost but he cauterized some wounds that he inflicted on himself by seeming too diffident and disengaged. Both candidates tonight I think tip-toed right up to the point of rudeness, but stepped back. It was a very good fight. I have seen every presidential debate in American history since the floor of Nixon and Kennedy in 1960. This was immeasurably the best. -George F. Will.So I suppose fans of political debates, at least, got something out of Tuesday night's encounter. Obama seems to have grown into the role, because he certainly was not a very good debater during the primaries last time. Romney, as I have said, has always been a good debater, at least since the 2008 primaries.
So, America, you have your choice. You have two impressive men who both look good in a suit behind a podium and can act Presidential and stand up to tough questions and give "spirited" defenses of their policies and whatever else debating entails. Both are certainly capable of doing the President's job. Both are loyal husbands and fathers and all that, active in their churches, without closets full of scandals. Neither has any obvious personality flaws beyond the cold, monstrous ambition that is the common failing of everyone who wants to be President.
The only way to choose is to look at their policies. Mitt Romney, for all his obvious gifts, is running on a suite of proposals that (I think) make no sense, from balancing the budget by cutting taxes to preserving the peace by fighting more wars. This isn't really his fault; those are the policies of his party, and he had to embrace them to win the nomination. But those are the policies he is running on, and I think it would be foolish to vote for him in the expectation that he will revert to his old, moderate approach once the election is won. Obama wants higher taxes to fund a more activist government that will invest more in education and technology and work harder to get everyone health care. He seems less eager to go to war with Iran or Syria and more committed to getting along with China. He will defend women's access to birth control and abortion, and continue advocating for gay marriage.
So choose. And no whining about your choices, because we have two impressive, accomplished candidates running on the policies of their parties, offering you as clear a choice as you will ever get.