The moderator announced that the debate was being viewed around the planet by international Spanish channels, as well as an Italian and Portuguese channels. I am not sure just what that means nor do I know how to interpret it, other than possibly the fact that 6.99 billion people on this planet were doing something else.
So what happened? Very little, as you would expect. Most people at this stage in the game have a fairly good idea of whom they are going to vote for. So unless one of them makes a huge blunder and promises to raise taxes 35% and cut out all state funding for children’s education and national health, very little comes of these events. It’s like an intense chess game where you want to make as few mistakes as possible. Since, Rajoy is favored to win the election, it was his objective not to trip up and give the general public a reason to change their mind. That was why he said as little as possible and did a mighty good job of it. The only thing was, I was kind of hooing he would tell us a little about his political program, because that was why I was watching, but he didn’t want to oblige. His strategy of deflection was so extreme that it bordered on the absurd. Rubalcaba would say something like, “Would you please tell us once and for all what your favorite color is?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know my favorite. Just wouldn’t you! I’m not going to tell you my favorite color because I’ve already told everyone my favorite color. I will tell you my favorite but not the way you want me too. And that’s because for the past right years, you’ve let this country go down the toliet, and it’s your fault that we’re in the mess that we’re in…” and he would go on for another six minutes ripping the Socialist party apart and we would never learn about his favorite color.
The same went for other issues like medical care, unemployent support, welfare, etc. Rajoy was just not up for informing. Rubalcaba, whose got a major catch-up task before him, his party trails by some 15 points, was on the attack from minute one. Sometimes he had some good points, but other times he stumbled.
The debate ended and everyone pretty much went home satisfied that their side had won. A kind of stalemate. Finding a solid political analysis was not easy since most speakers were openly partisan. One channel did the intellgient thing inviting leaders of each party to give their impression and the opinions were obvious. My first impression was the Rubalcaba had a bit of the edge, since Rajoy barely told us about anything, but the Socialist candidate hardly convinced the viewership either. Surprising, the left-leaning El País newspaper felt that Rajoy handled the debate better. That’s saying a lot coming from a paper which rarely has a kind word for the Partido Popular. Rubalcaba had to strike hard, but he didn’t have much of an effect.