Is Romney Smarter, Better Informed, and More Spontaneously Eloquent Than the President?

Well, if all you had to go by is tonight's debate, you'd have to say yes.


Romney's presentations were clearer, tighter, more incisive, more eloquent, more factually detailed, and more savvy and nimble than those of the president.  He certainly didn't looked stiff or overprogrammed, and he had the confidence of a leader.  It seemed he was really enjoying himself.

Bill Maher on Obama's performance:  "I hate to say it, but he's looking like he really does need a teleprompter."  The president's comments were often halting, vague, somewhat inarticulate, and distracted and perfunctory.  Even his closing statement was flat and pretty empty.

I'll leave it to others to flesh out the details.  But even MSBNC's Chris Matthews admitted than Romney won big, as did famous Obamaite bloggers such as Andrew Sullivan.  I'll add, of course, the verdict of the registered voters in the CNN poll: Romney won 67% to 25%.

Here's THE HUGE HISTORIC SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS DEBATE:  This is, as far as I'm concerned, the first time a Republican presidential candidate decisively won a debate according to the objective standards by which any expert would judge a debate. 

The last and only other time a Republican might have won by any such standard was Reagan over Carter in 1980.  In that case, the victory, if there was one, wasn't overwhelming.  And it was more that Carter stumbled than Reagan was all that impressive.

No Bush ever won a debate by such a standard, although Bush the younger benefited from the quirky, "issue-laden" behavior of Gore and Kerry. 

Nixon, Ford, McCain, and Dole were, on balance, hurt by their debating. Reagan's second debate against Mondale was a vast improvement over his first one (which was full of "senior moments"), but his performance was hardly dominating.

This debate record has caused Democrats to believe that they have plenty of evidence that Democrats are smarter, more eloquent, and more competent than Republicans, and when Republicans win elections, it's because other, less relevant factors come into play.

But, you know, it might really be true that Romney is really smart and really capable. The president is going to have to really hustle to be his match next time.

Develop mindfulness to boost your creative intelligence

Sharon Salzberg, world-renowned mindfulness leader, teaches meditation at Big Think Edge.

Image: Big Think
Big Think Edge
  • Try meditation for the first time with this guided lesson or, if you already practice, enjoy being guided by a world-renowned meditation expert.
  • Sharon Salzberg teaches mindfulness meditation for Big Think Edge.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Google Maps apologizes for going rogue in Japan

The navigation tool has placed a school in the sea, among other things.

Strange Maps
  • Google has apologized for the sudden instability of its maps in Japan.
  • Errors may stem from Google's long-time map data provider Zenrin – or from the cancellation of its contract.
  • Speculation on the latter option caused Zenrin shares to drop 16% last Friday.
Keep reading Show less

This is the best (and simplest) world map of religions

Both panoramic and detailed, this infographic manages to show both the size and distribution of world religions.

(c) CLO / Carrie Osgood
Strange Maps
  • At a glance, this map shows both the size and distribution of world religions.
  • See how religions mix at both national and regional level.
  • There's one country in the Americas without a Christian majority – which?
Keep reading Show less

A new theory explains Jupiter’s perplexing origin

A new computer model solves a pair of Jovian riddles.

(NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill)
Surprising Science
  • Astronomers have wondered how a gas giant like Jupiter could sit in the middle of our solar system's planets.
  • Also unexplained has been the pair of asteroid clusters in front of and behind Jupiter in its orbit.
  • Putting the two questions together revealed the answer to both.
Keep reading Show less