10/09/2012 09:13 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Presidential Debate Foreshadows a Lack of Progress

Divya is a member of the Junior State of America (JSA), a student-run political awareness organization for high school students.

Election day is quickly approaching and there is less than a month left for Americans to decide who they will place in office as the next president of the United States.

On Wednesday October 3, 2012, President Obama and Mitt Romney faced off for the first time as presidential nominees in a 90-minute debate at the University of Denver.

This debate reflected what has been occurring in Washington these days: Nothing.

We call ourselves the greatest nation in the world, yet we have difficulties reaching consensus on issues that need to be solved immediately. The facts of the matter are simple -- we look for concrete solutions in the debate, and we look for what both candidates want to accomplish. We did not find what we were looking for.

On Wednesday night, we were instead met with the inability of the two candidates to clearly state their positions and agree on actual facts. Every statement made by one was quickly countered and rejected by the other. In all actuality, both candidates could have done a much better job of setting themselves apart.

Many viewers have argued that Mitt Romney won the debate because he did a better job orating his aggressiveness and casting distrust on the other party's standpoint. However, much of what Mitt Romney said was just flat-out lies or direct contradictions of his previous positions. The most disappointing fact for Democrats is that President Obama allowed Romney to get away with lies and contradictions all night.

In the heat of the debate, President Obama took a sharp stab at Romney's position by arguing his lack of credibility and accusing him of changing positions in the last lap of the race.

On the policy of tax cuts, Romney has been stating since the outset of his campaign that he intendeds to restore Bush-era tax cuts that will majorly benefit the wealthy. In Wednesday's debate, however, he contradicted this and stated out of the blue that now he doesn't want to provide tax cuts for the wealthy but rather for the middle class. This does not support the positions taken in his economic plan and thus it is a blatant lie.

Obama's response brought up Romney's "$5 trillion tax cut" plan. Romney denied the validity of Obama's statement and continued to deny that he had ever agreed to the number $5 trillion. However, research has showed that Romney's proposal of reducing all marginal tax rates by 20 percent will itself cut revenue by at least $5 trillion dollars.

Time and time again, Romney has stated his intention of acquiring revenue by "filling the loopholes" without providing any specific methods of how he plans to achieve this.

Furthermore, both candidates bickered at length over their disagreements in policies such as the Dodd Frank Wall Street Policy. But neither of them proposed what the specifics of the disagreement were or how they intended to fix them.

But if Romney's lies are so transparent and his positions so unspecific, then why bother lying? The answer is simple: Because it works.

Since the debate, Romney's electoral polls have increased tremendously and are on a path to balance out Obama's previous lead.

For example, Romney stated one of the biggest lies of his campaign season -- that President Obama wanted to slash $716 billion from Medicare in cuts that would target seniors. Every fact-checking organization following the campaign trail has declared that to be false, but Romney knows that strong, powerful statements like this make it easier to score points with the general public than the complex explanation of why that's not true.

Many of Obama's ardent supporters would have preferred seasonal lying over his indifference and lack of zeal. Obama's positions provided more distinct goals rather then a concrete plan. He did not pounce on Romney's inconsistency and contradictions, and thus was essentially considered to have lost this debate.

The strengths and weaknesses of both candidates can be debated endlessly, but the basic fact of the debate is that neither candidate was answering the direct questions they are being asked. Instead of respecting and following the guidance of the moderator, they ignored Jim Lehrer and trapped him between their pointless crossfire.

The country is sick and tired of hearing the word 'bipartisanship,' which calls for a two-way street. That is something that can only be attainted when both parties agree to find middle ground and develop concrete plans. Yet, based on the tone of this debate, it doesn't seem imminent.

This debate foreshadows the lack of progress that will be made in Washington if both parties continue in the manner that was seen in Wednesday's debate.

The viewers can do nothing more than wait anxiously for the next presidential debate on October 16. We hope that Romney will return with more specific and honest policies, and that Obama will return with more passion and aggression.