The Presidential Debates – You Make the Call NOT the NFL Replacement Refs

Welcome to the first edition of a blog from a full service integrated communications firm located in Fort Lauderdale and Chicago, with a Tallahassee office soon to be opened. We will analyze the news and cultural trends from a fresh, informed and at times provocative viewpoint.


With more than 63 million viewers tuned in to the first 2012 presidential debate, much punditry has been dedicated to not only the performance of Obama and Romney, the two men who would be King, but also on the role of moderator Jim Lehrer.  Lehrer, a PBS journalist considered the dean of debate moderators, was entrusted with the job of referee for round one, a heavyweight best of three matches for the four-year title of the leader of the free world.

The consensus of the chattering class: He got steamrolled by the candidates—hardly able to get a word in edgewise. Lehrer did get the debate started on time but that was about it.

He was nervous—almost lost in the melee. Sound familiar to a recent controversy? He seemed to be like an NFL replacement ref—befuddled, losing control and out of his element.

In a debate this important does a moderator really moderate? Do rules in a debate mean anything?  The famous Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 had a timekeeper, but not a set of rules.

Did Lehrer miss any critical calls that helped determine the outcome of the debate, as did the replacement referees who missed calls and cost the Green Bay Packers a game?

The thing about debate winners and losers is the “my guy always wins in the morning after analysis” by campaigners and spinsters alike. This time there was no disagreement. Both sides said Romney slaughtered the president.

The Wall Street Journal had it right in a late-night blog after the debate:

“It seems Romney did as much as he could hope to do in this first debate. The big question, though, is whether it was enough to claw his way back into a race that looked pretty bad for him just last week.”

The most important result of the debate will be what the voters thought and what they tell the pollsters.

As viewers and voters we sometimes get to peer behind the curtain into the soul of candidate and learn an unfiltered lesson about their character.

You recall the IBM TV commercial campaign featured prominently on network sport programming titled IBM’s You Make The Call highlighting a dramatic sports re-play that was not a clear call for the umpire or line judge on your TV screen.  This election, with our never-ending, customized wireless streams of information is a great time for viewers and would be voters to make the call yourself.

In today’s televised presidential debates the modern day pundit, armed with an Apple iPad and a full social media arsenal will chime in and add to the noise of the proclaimed winners losers.  Listen to your own internal blog and march to your own drummer because when NBC’s Brian Williams or MSNBC’s Chris Matthews tells the world who won — most have not yet voted therefore no candidate has won or lost until the polls close on election day.

And if you’ve lost faith in the entire process, which is at times understandable, and you think your vote doesn’t matter remember that in the 2000 election we did not know who was president on election night.

It would be nearly 40 days and a winning margin of 537 votes in Florida to determine the winner.

So in the spirit of Will Ferrell, You Stay Classy America and keep tuning into our time honored tradition of presidential debates and know why you vote the way you do vote.

As a voter don’t “Miss The Call” by being influenced by smooth TV talkers, polls and professional prognosticators. Participate in the process and make your decision part of your story.


  1. Unbelievable!!!

  2. Great point of view. Appreciate the opportunity to gain perspective!

  3. I agree – Stay Classy America!

  4. a unusual perspective on the debates. looking forward to more stirrin’ and shaken