What was curious about the debates to the author wasn't the arguments, as they need to argue about something pretty much, but the stipulated agreements.
That's good news actually, as to the American Power Elite having a clue, if, they have almost talked themselves into certain ideological boxes that would be catastrophic in character for pretty much everyone, save for the survivors, and even then, there's no guarantees, no matter how many weapons and Krugerands you have.
People's enthusiasm for ending things eludes the author, which really says something as to personal disasters.
As to the implicit agreements in the debate, two stand out.
First, they both agree that there are three facets to dealing with what is a problem, the budget deficit, if of course what weights they would use are different; taxes, spending, and faster growth, the latter possibly stimulated by a simpler tax code, which is why Simpson-Bowles never went away, if ego may require it be called something else.
Just remember that Caesar was necessary because the Roman power elite always wanted credit, a reason to not really abolish Obamacare, if do with it what one would as to cost, but shh, not for the Mass to understand completely.
As to the second implicit agreement of the American Power Elite's contending Factions, that was in the field of Social Security in two senses, first that there is a problem, and second, that the correction has to be phased in, hence both the President and Governor Romney agreeing as to age 45-55 needing to pay more attention to this issue.
Those implicit agreements are important as to still having common ground, necessary to prevent what Madison warned about in Federalist 10 and in the Arrow-Condorcet Paradox as to Faction ending the Republic in a time of relative economic hardship, if it's not 1932 either.
That's pretty good news compared to some scenarios that were plausible in 2008-09.
Thus as to why the debates were good news for the Mass, the American Empire still has a functioning Power Elite capable of putting up candidates who do disagree in important ways, but also live in enough of a topologically connected ideological space to induce choices by the Mass that if not optimal compared to that ever desired because non-existent infinitely lived, all-knowing benevolent dictator, are reasonable for not just the majority, but pretty decent for the vast majority over time.
People overseas will notice that, which is good news in the end as to treading warily around the Eagle's interests, other than those rooting for us to collapse, but then they are pure enemies anyway, and a united Power Elite and Mass cannot be beaten in a thousand wars, noting that it was Faction that caused Athens to lose to Sparta.