Okay politifans, we now know from the respective debate camps that neither candidate can conjugate a verb – or communicate with more sophistication than grunts, growls and flung organics. That sounds tedious, so here’s a tolerable way to get you through the First Debate on domestic policy:
1 – choose your libation and have it available in significant quantity. If you are not at-home, please designate a driver.
2 – listen carefully, and follow directions for a sip, a gulp or a chug, depending on circumstances (please note that this distinction may become more difficult as the debate progresses, so preparation is key), and
3 – if you are not of the libating persuasion, then soberly keep a count of the occurrences of each term below, and share it in Comments. The rest of us will read it tomorrow.
SIPS: jobs, work, faith, business, deficit, trillion, unemployment, wife, Ann, family, Massachusetts, ObamaCare, Simpson-Bowles, freedom, debt, children and grandchildren, loopholes, rate cut, (any Ivy League school), incentive, Middle Class, unions,
GULPS: sons, father, George, sit down, tax returns, bet, (personal stories), Bain, tell Texas, 88% democrat, professor, immigrant, safety net, self-deportation, liberal press or polls
CHUGS: Mormon, dog, Seamus, crate, $10,000, details, emergency room, 47%, Bush, swing states, job creators
SIPS: off-shore, economic patriotism, Tea Party, House, Michelle, 20th, daughters, forward, experience, tough calls, auto industry, GM, Bain, bankers, bankrupt, health care, reached out, obstruction, details, Pentagon, explode, impossible, hard choices, millionaires, Middle Class, rescue, teachers or firefighters or police, improvement
GULPS: Muslim, (personal stories), (any Ivy League schools), Congressional Budget Office, billionaires, welfare, Nobel, Bo, McCain, Feingold, Latino, RomneyCare, Bush
CHUGS: community organizer, birth certificate, Kenya, race, swing states
Feel free to supplement this listing.
On a more serious note, as you observe the candidates, tune into their non-verbal cues. Will Obama show disdain? Will Romney seem over-anxious to impress? Will either candidate betray their true emotional state via fleeting “micro-expressions,” odd gestures, or other body language? (Cf. generally the work of Paul Ekman of UCSF on the fascinating subject of lie detection – it’s a lot more than “his lips were moving.”) We absorb the words, but to an under-appreciated extent our eyesight is also attuned to the tone, looks, mannerisms and other body language cues.