In December of 2002, when the legendary Roone Arledge passed away, I wrote a Counterpunch piece for the L.A. Times praising the man who not only set the gold standard for Olympics coverage, but gave us Monday Night Football and Wide World of Sports.
While there were indeed things that Raddatz did right, this debate could have been much more useful for voters than it was. Her performance as moderator, and the debate's overall structure, deserve further scrutiny.
Each party sees what it wants. Ron Reagan and Torie Clarke, for example, differ on who won Biden-Ryan - the smiling steamroller or the blue-eyed boy scout? Was Benghazi a tragedy or calamity? Then: let Obama be O'Biden!
Biden's triumph was only partly about personality. It also had to do with strategy. He knew exactly what he was doing on that stage. Was he over the top? Absolutely. But for the most part Biden drew the response he had been seeking.
On the style versus substance front, the GOP rep accused the Vice President of being loud, overbearing and rude. The very same qualities they called bold and commanding when Romney wore them last week. Hey, you guys: make up your mind. Pot-kettle-black much?
Wouldn't it be nice if we had leaders who made choices based not upon a secret code of ideology or moral principle -- on a faith that provides their guidance system -- but upon the actual conditions of an issue as it expresses itself?
Let's hear it for Martha Raddatz, the brilliantly skillful moderator of the vice-presidential debate: She got a clear yes from Rep. Paul Ryan to this question: "If the Romney-Ryan ticket is elected, should those who believe that abortion should remain legal be worried?"