Debates rarely produce a clear winner. After the debate there’s a fight between partisans, with most arguing that their candidate “won”… or at least didn’t lose.
Thursday night is the first debate between Prof. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Scott Brown, and if you take exception to my calling the Democrat “Prof.” or mentioning the Republican incumbent second instead of first, you are ready to grumble… I mean, rumble.
If you would like to more objectively evaluate how the candidates perform — perhaps imagining that you are an undecided voter — try this do-it-yourself debate scorecard.
After the debate, rate each candidate from 1 to 10 on these 10 criteria, then add them and see if the higher number corresponds with your overall impression of who “won.”
PERSONALITY: Who did you like in terms of sincerity, affability and charm?
CHARACTER: Who seemed honest and trustworthy?
INTELLIGENCE: Who was reassuringly smart — in knowledge, savvy, wisdom?
APPEARANCE: Who projected a good image?
RHETORIC: Who had memorable lines – clever, convincing soundbites?
ISSUES: Who made the most effective arguments about policy?
MESSAGE: Who had a compelling, consistent theme?
MASSACHUSETTS: Who seemed most dedicated to serving the people of this state?
LEADERSHIP: Who had the aura, stature and inspiration of a genuine leader?
PERFORMANCE: Who beat your expectations?
Sometimes a “winner” isn’t apparent for a day or two. Indeed, the winner is often the candidate who wins the battle of soundbites in news coverage… because those can sway the biggest audience of all: people who didn’t watch the debate.