Kurt Greenbaum is a controversial journalist of late, though not for this article posing the question “What will determine who wins Wednesday’s Obama-Romney debate?”
I want to examine the criteria he suggests and then offer my own.
- Quotable moment
That’s all he offers because his article is just a tease and promo for getting people to watch the debate and simultaneously comment at his blog site. All hype is not an article but it opens the topic.
The topic is “domestic policy.”
What does that include?
First, did you know that the White House has a Domestic Policy Council? It is presently chaired by a Latino woman. Do you think that “immigration” might be a timely topic?
“Domestic Policy Council
The Domestic Policy Council (DPC) coordinates the domestic policy-making process in the White House and offers advice to the President. The DPC also supervises the execution of domestic policy and represents the President’s priorities to Congress.
Even before the formal creation of the DPC, some form of a domestic policy staff has existed in the White House since the 1960s. President Lyndon B. Johnson assigned a senior-level aide to organize staff and develop domestic policy. In 1970, President Richard M. Nixon issued an executive order that created the Office of Policy Development, a large White House office with jurisdiction over economic and domestic policy. President William J. Clinton split the office, forming the current Domestic Policy Council and the National Economic Council.
Director of Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz
Cecilia Muñoz is the President’s Domestic Policy Advisor and the Director of the Domestic Policy Council, which coordinates the domestic policy-making process in the White House. Previously, Ms. Muñoz served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs.
Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Cecilia served as Senior Vice President for the Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the nation’s largest Latino civil rights organization. She supervised NCLR’s policy staff covering a variety of issues of importance to Latinos, including civil rights, employment, poverty, farmworker issues, education, health, housing, and immigration. Her particular area of expertise is immigration policy, which she covered at NCLR for twenty years.
Ms. Muñoz is the former Chair of the Board of Center for Community Change, and served on the U.S. Programs Board of the Open Society Institute and the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Philanthropies and the National Immigration Forum.
Ms. Muñoz is the daughter of immigrants from Bolivia and was born in Detroit, Michigan. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and her master’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley. In June 2000, she was awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship in recognition of her work on immigration and civil rights. In 2007, she served as the Towsley Foundation Policymaker in Residence at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. She has received numerous other awards and recognitions from various sources, including the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and a variety of local non-profit organizations.”
Now, to determine what “topics” are under the domestic policy umbrella, I looked to see who comprise the “council” and what they represent.
“Structure of the United States Domestic Policy Council (2009)
Chair Barack Obama (President of the United States)
Director Cecilia Munoz (Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy)
Deputy Director Mark Zuckerman (Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy)
Jonathan Greenblatt (Deputy Assistant to the President and Director Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation)
Joseph R. Biden (Vice President of the United States)
Kathleen Sebelius (Secretary of Health and Human Services)
Janet Napolitano (Secretary of Homeland Security)
Hilda Solis (Secretary of Labor)
Eric Shinseki (Secretary of Veterans Affairs)
Ken Salazar (Secretary of the Interior)
Arne Duncan (Secretary of Education)
Shaun Donovan (Secretary of Housing and Urban Development)
Tom Vilsack (Secretary of Agriculture)
Ray LaHood (Secretary of Transportation)
Gary Locke (Secretary of Commerce)
Steven Chu (Secretary of Energy)
Timothy F. Geithner (Secretary of the Treasury)
Lisa P. Jackson (Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency)
Alan Krueger (Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers)
Jeffrey Zients (Director of the Office of Management and Budget)
Lawrence Summers (Assistant to the President for Economic Policy)
Gil Kerlikowske (Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy)”
Whoa, you see the raft of potential topics?
Now, consider the criteria for the actual debate performance. This reference is from a history teacher’s perspective and is just a suggested construct.
For a couple of lawyers from Ivy league schools, debating is duck soup. No teleprompters allowed.
“Criteria for Evaluating Debate Performance
All of the information that you present should be accurate. You should demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of the issue and should discuss all of the points that best support your case. You should not be expected to bring up points that do damage to your case – that is the job of the opposition.
Each member is responsible for giving a well-constructed opening statement of a minute to a minute and a half in length. During the course of the debate you should have facts at your fingertips and counter-arguments ready to go depending on the performance of the opposition. You are permitted to bring into the debate: note cards, outlines, books and any other helpful resource. You should also be prepared to make a closing statement of approximately one minute that emphasizes your most important points.
The arguments you make during the debate should be logical and demonstrate a clear analysis of the issue. Appropriate emphasis should be given to your strongest arguments, but you shouldn’t harp on only a single point for too long. Finally, you should demonstrate that you have heard and understand your opponent arguments by meeting them head on and giving your best counter-arguments.
You should speak confidently and with conviction. In order to do this, you must make eye contact
with the audience and speak clearly.”
The winner Wednesday will accomplish the following:
- Introduce and discuss topics that align with voters’ priorities.
Address subjects with plausible solutions, demonstrate progress, outcomes and measures for achievement.
The winner will soundly rebut all attacks.
The winner will not lose his cool and will be “presidential”
“What Will Determine Who Wins Wednesday’s Obama-Romney Debate?
By Kurt Greenbaum
Will it be a gaffe or a quotable moment that changes the debate? Or will you be looking for something else to determine the winner? What will Obama have to do to win this debate? How about Romney? And will you be watching?