Attention Deficit Syndrome

If you stayed up to watch the final presidential debate you saw both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney try and convince the viewers that they have what it takes to be Commander in Chief and advance the national interests and the national security of the United States. But the key point here is whether you stayed up after a long Monday at work, or if you were watching did you really focus on the debating skills and message of each candidate? There is no doubt that we have now crossed over into the realm of election overkill and into the kingdom of ” I Can’t Wait Till This is All Over.”

It may not matter much that President Obama likely scored more debating points than Governor Romney in this foreign policy debate ( which was only partially about foreign policy and more like a rehash of the domestic debates). Both can claim that they possess the stuff of presidential leadership, both got their message across, and both seemed to agree on major issues, which may send a signal to friend and foe out there in the world that  US foreign policy will not change dramatically after the election. Winning a debate at this stage, especially a debate on foreign policy probably doesn’t mean that much in polling numbers or in the decision of those early voters.

Americans are now suffering from a kind of political attention deficit syndrome as this long march to the White House has exhausted them and reinforced their view that we need to become Canada where the election is six weeks and costs chump change. In the last two weeks before the election, the race for the presidency will not be national but basically a fight to convince the voters in Ohio to pull the voting booth lever for Obama or Romney. The rest of America will become a mere curiosity as they deal with their attention deficit syndrome.

It is kind of interesting that in a country which is acknowledged as the premier superpower and the most important nation in the world, many Americans sat bleary-eyed watching a debate over issues that are not in their comfort zone. If anything was accomplished in the final debate it was that both the President and Governor Romney gallantly tried to convince viewers that they have what it takes to keep the United States # 1.  But that perception only matters if the viewers were not suffering from the political strain of ADS.


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