10/17/2012 11:41 am ET Updated Dec 17, 2012

Is a Political Campaign a Boxing Match?

Is a political campaign a boxing match? Is a debate between candidates a prize fight in which points are scored and knockdowns and knockouts determine the outcome? The venerable old Mother Jones scored a knockout against other news media, inadvertently providing President Obama with a knockout punch he didn't even administer before any of the debates actually began. The reporting of the 47% quote which still haunts Romney's campaign was what might be called a knockout by proxy. It's something which the challenger is still reeling from. The operant tag lines from last night's debate were "an act of terror," "binders full of women" and "it's not as big as yours."

Obama scored a knockdown with the ref Candy Crowley starting the equivalent of ten count as she affirmed the truth of the fact that Obama had used the expression "acts of terror" in a speech in the Rose Garden on the day after the Benghazi attack. Romney shot himself in the foot with his binders remark and Obama sucker punched the challenger with the "it's not as big a yours" rejoinder after Romney suggested his opponent vet his own pension plan for China investments. Romney worked an effective combination with jobs and domestic energy and Obama counterpunched with healthcare and immigration.

Abortion and the threat of a conservative Supreme Court, which could repeal Roe v. Wade, are the solid right that threatens to give the incumbent the fight -- depending on the judges (a.k.a the women's vote). But there is something unsettling in all posturing and promotion. Besides abortion, both candidates agree on lessening the deficit, on creating jobs, on the need for the wealthiest nation on earth providing health care for its citizens and on the threat of rogue powers like Iran. Which makes one question why, when opposing parties turn out to share common ground, campaigns and politics in general must be like a boxing match. Is the answer that it's all a tempest in a teapot, "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing" and that with the attention span of the electorate tending to be short, conflict is more entertaining than a bipartisan resolution of issues.

{This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.}