Just kidding. I don't know how to judge a debate. Do you?
I thought the first McCain-Obama debate went to Obama. The day after I was reading that it was a tie, and I was also reading that Obama won. I thought that Biden beat Palin, which was pretty universally accepted, but I did not think that Palin was impressive in the least. I did not think that she held her own. The media analysis claimed otherwise.
Then there was last night's debate. Round two of McCain vs. Obama. I thought it was a great exchange, with both men turning in solid performances. In fact, though I agreed more with Obama and found him to be more likeable, I thought the debate was a tie.
Clearly, I was in the minority
So while my record of siding with the pundits and the masses isn't bad, it's not exactly spot-on either. The reason behind this discrepancy is obvious: judging a debate is a subjective experience. But while deciding on a winner can and should be left up to a voter's powers of judgment, can we not agree on a standard set of criteria by which to do the judging?
Personally, here's what I look for in a master debater:
-Substance: facts, details, and specifics backing up clear policy agendas
-Relevance: at least make an effort to answer the question before diving into stump mode
-Truthfulness: don't go slinging mud if you can't get your facts straight
-Likability: basically a vague quality of sincerity and intelligence
-Creativity: this sounds odd, but if I'm hearing the same "I'll make them famous" line over and over again I begin to seriously doubt your ability to think outside the box
-Sense of humor: if you aren't funny, please please don't try to be.