"With all the goopy economic jargon and high-altitude mathematics in Wednesday night’s presidential debate, the typical viewer was left to scrutinize the superficiality of each candidate: his appearance, movement, cadence and tone. By most of those measures, and if you don’t deduct points for Mitt Romney’s aggravating dismissals of Jim Lehrer’s feeble moderation, the Republican candidate was the winner. But the winner of what? What has this televised tradition become in the era of years-long, spin-cycle campaigning? This was less a lively debate and more a recitation of arithmetical soliloquies that have been performed for months."

Dan Zak in his critique of the debate-viewing experience.

Tags: 2012 debates