No one knows about the verbal art of war like a Real Housewife. You spend a season with highly competitive women all armed for battle with words, boobs and whatever it takes for more camera time. So, with the presidential debates in full swing, it makes sense that one of us would be in perfect position to give the post-debate analysis for The Huffington Post. After all, we're known for fighting! I admit it! So, here's my first take in a series of post-debate recaps over the next few weeks.
If they're not watching, you're not winning. This is the 1st rule of reality TV and this debate was: Zzzzzzzzz... It was a wonkfest and that means a snoozefest. Give Mitt Romney credit for standing his ground and staying on offense (even if fact checkers will call him out on his pre meditated misrepresentations; in Housewife terms, that's called BS). If you check the ratings as the night dragged on, I bet you'll see that people tuned out because they didn't want to hear a 45 minute lecture on tax policy. These guys didn't get lost in the weeds, they drowned in the swamp.
If you play not to lose, you will- President Obama came to the debate to run out the clock on his win and got pummeled with yet another new and improved Mitt Romney. Gotta give Romney credit- he does adapt to his audience and never lets the facts get in the way of a good spin. He took a lot of shots from Romney, but didn't mention the infamous 47% remark (do you think we'd ever piss off half of our viewing audience?), barely landed any blows on the former governor's changing positions and didn't fire back on a host of charges. This guy wants to fire Big Bird! BIG BIRD! Really? Really.
Nice guys finish on the carpet- Both debaters played nice: "Congratulations on your anniversary, Mr. President," "Your healthcare plan in Massachusetts was so pretty, Governor Romney" ... NO! This is a debate and there were less fireworks than friendly pats on the back. A Housewife would never give out anything less than a backhanded compliment. And there weren't even any verbal bitch slaps? Haven't we taught you anything? I get that our President didn't want to lose his likeability, but his lack of firepower was like going into a Real Housewives throw down thinking you'll get nothing but love. Not gonna happen.
If you don't toot your own horn, expect to be blown away by your opponents instrument -- The president's accomplishments went unmentioned. You'd forget that he saved the auto industry that Romney wanted to go bankrupt, that he's given tax breaks to the 47% of the country that Romney ACTUALLY SAID he doesn't care about, that he ACTUALLY cares about the middle class that Romney is now fighting to win over. This debate is like an anniversary in a struggling marriage, you have to remind the audience why they fell in love with you, in the first place. The guy across the platform isn't going to do it, for you.
Low expectations can make a 10th grade chemistry student look like Einstein -- For weeks, talking heads on all sides of this race said Romney would lose. They did a great job of lowering the bar, so that it was easy for him to clear. In fact, this debate reminds me of Sarah Palin's showing in 2008 against Joe Biden. No one expected her to last on stage (like she ended up not lasting in office), so when she spoke in complete sentences and didn't pass out, the media declared her the winner. It didn't make her Lincoln or Douglas any more than it made her the better debater that night.
Reality TV lives on the power of cutaways... And so do presidential debates -- The funniest and most dramatic moments on our show come from the reaction shots for Real Housewives. They say what we're feeling, thinking and about to respond with. The same holds true for debates. President Obama avoided eye contact and spent a lot of time looking down as he jotted notes. Mitt Romney had an odd smirk that looked like he just had sex in the broom closet before the 50k head fundraiser kicked into full gear. But at least he didn't look like he was avoiding his opponent. The Governor gets the edge here.
You're only as good as your last performance -- Just like reality tv stars are only as good as the last overnight ratings win, momentum can swing back and forth in 15 minutes (Clint Eastwood at the RNC, anyone?). With two weeks before the next debate, President Obama will be like Ali training for Frazier & his counterpunch will be twice as strong. This fight is far from over.
Maybe these politicans should tune in and see how the ratings game is played! The Real Housewives of Miami airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.
Follow Lea Black on Twitter at @LeaBlackMiami.