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I apologize to my international readers who don't follow American politics, but as Emergency Backup Leader (EBL) I feel it is my duty to give my opinion on last night's presidential debate.

I didn't watch the entire debate but I tuned in just in time to watch Mitt Romney use the President of the United States as a bar rag. I wondered if I was the only viewer who was thinking that one of the worst public speakers of all time was drop-kicking one of the best speakers of all time, but I see today that most pundits agreed on two points:

  1. Romney lied 500% more than President Obama.
  2. Romney totally won the debate.

That tells you everything you need to know about the value of presidential debates. Sure, the fact-checkers weighed in afterwards, but by then the damage was done. Truth is literally an afterthought in politics, and apparently overrated.

The thing that impressed me most about Romney's performance is that he invented an entirely new class of political lie that I have named the pre-flop. It's a vast improvement over his old flip-flopping ways. With the traditional flip-flop the thing you say today is the reverse of what you said in the past, and that can bite you in the ass. The pre-flop is a brilliant innovation that combines the flip and the flop in the same pledge. Allow me to paraphrase the debate to illustrate.

Romney: My economic plan is (blah, blah)

President Obama: Economists say your plan will increase the deficit by $5 trillion.

Romney: I keep telling you that I won't do anything that increases the deficit.

See? The flip-flop is built right into the campaign promise. It's an unmistakable wink to independent voters that he plans to be a pragmatist. Pragmatism looks like flip-flopping because it requires opinions to change as the situation and the available information change. It also means you'll lie to get elected, but it's just a strategy, and everyone does it, so don't worry.

I think Romney has a hypnotist for an advisor, or at least someone skilled in the dark arts of psychology and influence. I just watched him repeatedly lie to me and came away thinking he'd be a good choice for managing the economy. I'm not saying he actually would be a good choice, but he did something impressive: He made me think he wouldn't cut taxes at the same time he told his base he would. As a trained hypnotist myself, I rank his debate performance as breathtakingly brilliant. (Seriously.)

Meanwhile, President Obama was learning the hard way that the worst time to have anniversary sex is right before a debate. He looked a bit too relaxed. I think he should have lit a cigarette, taken a long puff, exhaled, and told the crowd that Romney would do for the country what the President just did for the First Lady. That would be totally bad ass. Then he could toss in a zinger about how awesome the sex was right after killing Bin Laden. I think we all know that evening was ear muff time for the Secret Service.

Jim Lehrer, who apparently died several months ago, moderated the debate. The pundits have been harsh on him today. But who else do you hire for the first debate? Do you hire someone who works for a Republican news network or someone from a Democrat news networks? Apparently the debate producers scoured the United States and decided that the only non-partisan left was a cadaver.

This is a good time to remind you that I don't support either candidate for president because neither of them meet my minimum standards, which frankly aren't that high. And I'm not convinced that voting for the lesser evil is better for the country in the long run than supporting low voter turnout which could create an opportunity for a third-party candidate someday.

I'm looking forward to the second debate.

 
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