And so, dear readers, I give you what’ll probably be my last Debate Spotlight for three and a half years (assuming, of course, I survive that long— if Obama wins, there’s a good chance I won’t…). Mitt Romney and Barack Obama squared off in their final debate— and I must and shall provide a counterweight to those who would applaud Obama for cutting defense while sneering at Romney for supporting The-Military-Industrial-Complex-Whatever-The-Heck-That-Means.
Let’s focus on that moment for a bit— the “We use submarines now, maybe you’ve heard of them, Mitt” incident. That exchange, I feel, more than anything else defined that fateful Monday night. Our president gave a spiteful, snide, and frankly childish jibe that did not help his image as a responsible guy, much less a man worthy of the position of chief diplomat. Perhaps his campaign was under the all-too-mistaken impression that Joe Biden had won his VP debate with obnoxious nonsense like that. I don’t know. What I do know is… Mitt Romney was the adult in the room. Obama at times acted desperate, trying to jump in, with “Now, uh, eh-eh-eh—” and the like. Again, shades of Biden.
But unlike Paul Ryan, Mitt stood firm, staring the president down— calm, cool, and collected. Naturally, in the days following, he’s closed the gender gap. Apparently, the ladies did not take kindly to Obama’s hostility, preferring Romney’s reserved, professional manner.
“Reserved” is right. As a self-proclaimed Right-winger, I was a little frustrated with the governor, that night, for letting Obama off the hook over such things as Libya. But, as both Rush Limbaugh and Charles Krauthammer pointed out… there was method to the madness. Were Mitt’s methods unsound? Consider:
Governor Romney knew full well that he’d had the “red meat” lovers (like me) already in his corner. We’d vote for him, regardless— and he gave us what we needed, when we needed it. That was the first debate, and to a certain extent, the second one. He’s got the momentum, and it’s not reversing any time soon. We’re as enthused as we’ll ever be.
No… what he needed to do was reach out to those folks who are, amusingly enough, still undecided. Well— perhaps that’s unfair. After all, quite a few voters don’t watch Fox News— and as such, know precious little about the Benghazi scandal… and even less about the cover-up that’s still going on. Those who do know enough about it to keep up had already made up their minds. Meanwhile, what Obama did need to be called out on, Mitt called him out on— the apology tour of ’09, and so on—
“Hey—HEY! Didn’t you HEAR all the fact-checkers? Obama NEVER used the word “apologize”! IT WASN’T AN APOLOGY TOUR!”
Pipe down, Chris Matthews. Sheesh, still recovering from the shock of Debate #1… Mr. Tingles is now going around, snidely dismissing a fellow trying to explain Obama’s dishonesty over the stupid anti-Islam video, smugly walking away (or was it panic?) with a big, “Yeah, it was about the video— read the newspaper! Everybody knows it’s about the video!”
Anyway— as Romney pointed out, never using the specific words “sorry” or “apologize” (which seems to be the criteria for these overrated “fact-checkers”) does not cover up for the president constantly putting down his own country for being “arrogant”, for “dictating” to others, for “causing hostility”— you know… “imperialism”. To be blunt— such a “Blame America First” attitude is not appreciated by the average American, no matter what the Ron Paul Revolutionaries claim. (And that’s saying nothing about Obama “confirming” that we engaged in torture. Again, he denounced his own country.)
So, in the end, Romney strove to make the last debate one of ideas— laying out clearly and succinctly the foreign policy Obama apparently wishes he had, if the president’s constant claims that “He’s saying he’d do nothing different from what I’ve been doing!” are any indication.
Mitt looked like a statesman, that last debate— and turning the subject to the economy about three-fourths of the way in was a stroke of rhetorical genius. As James Carville once said, “It’s the economy, stupid”— and the economy is the governor’s strong point. Still… he proved himself the president’s equal in matters of foreign policy— experience or no experience. And for the remaining undecided voters, that, I’m quite confident, was enough.