Whatever else you say about last night: don't blame ABC News:
The journalist’s job is to make politicians uncomfortable, to explore evasions, contradictions and vulnerabilities ... We may not like it, but issues like Jeremiah Wright, flag lapels and the Tuzla airport will be important in the fall. Remember how George H.W. Bush toured flag factories to expose Michael Dukakis.
So Lee Atwater wins by default? We are losing a war, we have destroyed our fiscal future, the planet is in distress, we have effectively quit the Geneva Conventions, the economy, propped up by massive public and private debt, is teetering ... and we all have to actually defend the fact that this election will be decided on the basis of closet Muslims, flag lapel pins, and '60s terrorists?
Brooks actually gives ABC News an "A" for their questions. The job of debate moderators is to generate an actual discussion about the issues and questions that matter in deciding between two candidates. They make an editorial choice about what those questions are. To focus almost exclusively on idiotic process questions based on the lowest form of political debate imaginable is an editorial choice to run a tabloid freak show. I see no reason to excuse Obama's bad performance. But I cannot fathom why we should exonerate the execrable standards of ABC News at the same time.