I’ll never forget being eight years old laying in front of the television patiently awaiting the first presidential debate that I ever cared to watch to be aired. The year was 1988. Ronald Reagan was completing his final term. The country would have new leadership. I was patiently awaiting the emergence of these two titans, Vice President George H. W. Bush and Governor Michael Dukakis, as they were going to duke it out for the presidency of our country. I was hooked! I don’t think I’ve missed a debate since that day.
Debate season is coming to a close as we round out the final stretch of what will be a very close election. The debates have been heavily watched and discussed this year, with the emergence of tools such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook leading the conversation. The world will tune in one last time as President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney make their cases to the American people. What should we expect?
For starters, expect each candidate to hit below the belt tonight. With Election Day about two weeks away, the final debate is the chance to bring out all of the unused ammunition that you’ve been holding back. Expect Mr. Romney to address the comments he made regarding the 47%. This statement became a huge issue during this campaign but has not made its debut on the debate stage. President Obama briefly mentioned it during his closing statement in the last debate, with just enough time for Governor Romney to plan his comeback strategy. It will be interesting to see what spin the Romney campaign will create during the debate after a public apology has been issued regarding the statement.
The President’s policies will be under siege this evening. Although a debate is a common discourse about issues and our country’s future, I fully expect Governor Romney to introduce those pieces of the President’s policies that he would like closely examined without rebuttal. We’ve seen his policies under attack, but not in such a manner. I fully expect a last minute attempt at a momentum boost.
You should probably prepare for some schoolyard arguing. One of the issues that was evident in the last debate was the challengers practically screaming at each other for talking time. The entire scene was reminiscent of a schoolyard fight waiting on the teacher to break it up. I fully expect both candidates to attempt to control the stage and ultimately the talking time. Governor Romney has to win in this area. Many believe President Obama saw a jump in the polls as a result of winning the last debate. Mr. Romney must “out-style” the President this evening in order to stay viable in this race.
Finally, we should expect two different visions for our country laid out. I once wrote that I applaud both men for achieving this rare opportunity in life as to debate the future of America with hopes of becoming President. That’s an incredible honor that most will never have the opportunity to experience. The dialogue taking place discusses two different futures for our country. Those that are watching will have to ask themselves the hard questions about what they want for ourselves, our families, and our country.
A lot has happened in our country since 1988; it’s gone through several wars, challenging economic troubles, and devastating attacks on our own soil. What we will see tonight is a conversation about who is to blame for these changes, and who has the better plan to fix them. I encourage everyone to listen carefully to both and make an informed decision about who should lead our country for the next four years.
I’m not eight years old anymore, and these debates are about so much more than pure entertainment. I predict an Obama win in tonight’s debate, but that’s also based on my perception of what I’d like to see happen in the next four years. I hope everyone will truly listen to tonight’s debate and make an informed decision for our country’s future.
Dallas S. Jones is nationally recognized speaker, commentator, and trainer. He is the CEO of Elite Change, LLC., a public and government affairs firm based in Houston, TX, with offices in Baton Rouge and Washington, D.C.
He has worked politically on the local, state, and federal levels of public policy and campaigns for a number of years. In addition, to his national efforts in civic engagement, Dallas has had the privilege to learn and grow under some of the best in politics. From Washington DC to Houston, TX, Dallas has spoken to groups throughout this country about finding their deepest power and discovering who they are called to be. To learn more about Dallas, visit www.dallas-jones.com.