Just a few hours ago, the second presidential debate between President Obama and Former Governor Mitt Romney transpired on national television. Here are a three thoughts I jotted down prior to the debate:
1. There is no doubt in my mind that unless Pres. Obama repeats his performance from the first debate, the entire MSNBC crew will declare him the clear winner - regardless of the substance, or even honesty of the answers.
2. While the audience members who ask the questions are supposedly "undecided" voters, there will be a few questions that will be clearly set up to provide "gotcha" moments for President Obama to attack the Governor. In addition, Moderator Candy Crowley will will show her bias in more subtle ways - be it how often she cuts off Romney, while not affording him the same time to rebut Obama. Sadly, most people will overlook this.
3. Anything close to a draw will cause certain FOX commentators to crow that Romney was the victor, regardless of the actual final tally. However, as opposed to MSNBC, it will not be from their newscasters, but from opinion guys, like Sean Hannity. On MSNBC, ALL of their newscasters are opinion people.
And here are three thoughts I had during the debate:
1. As expected, Obama came out swinging. In fact, at one point, it looked like the two candidates were going to get into a physical altercation. As for style points, having a more animated Obama certainly adds to the debate. However, unlike Romney - who was strong and focused again, just like last time, Obama seemed to speak faster and with a higher octave than normal (especially at first). Considering his last performance, I'm really not surprised.
2. Under no circumstance should the moderator have allowed the question about how is Romney different from George W. Bush (and yes, she had veto power on which questions would be asked). There were two significant issues at play here. Number one, the woman who asked was clearly not an independent, nor would I ever assume she was an undecided voter. The reason this question as so inappropriate was because, for one thing, GWB is not running for President and hasn't in 8 years. The world is a far different place in 2012 (I thought Romney answered as best he could for such an imbecilic question). The other reason is that the question allows the President to once again do what he has done since he started running in 2007 - and that is "blame Bush." Which of course, he did once more tonight.
The only way this question could be fair would have been if the moderator then called on Obama to explain how he's any different from Jimmy Carter. I would have loved to see Romney pull that out of his hat. But my impression was he was trying to be more Presidential and not use the tactics of the left. instead, he simply kept harping on the President's own record, which truly can not be defended.
3. For the first time in memory, we really do have an election between two completely different world views. And the contrast was very clear tonight. Regardless of past success or failure, both candidates showed a passion into their core beliefs. The only time I felt that this was not the case was in regard to the Libya question. Anyone who has followed this story from the beginning knows that Romney was correct. Yes, the President mentioned "acts of terror" but it was in passing regarding all terror acts, not this one. The question is, if he truly meant to include Benghazi in his remarks, why then did he send his UN ambassador Susan Rice to go on Sunday morning talk shows - a few days later - to assure American the attack was directly caused by a spontaneous riot over a YouTube video? In addition, Obama himself appeared before the UN and also said the video was the main cause of what happened (he said it 6 times in his UN speech). However, the idea of it being a terror attack against the US on the anniversary of 9/11/02 never passed his lips. Even 2 weeks later, Obama refused to say it was a terror attack while being "eye candy" on "The View."
In reality, who "won" the debate will be over shadowed by who told what lies. I have to give credit to the President for actually appearing to be interested this time around. After the two debate debacles this administration suffered over the last two weeks, nothing but how he appeared tonight would have been accepted by the left base. I do believe those who support the President will feel this was a good win for him. Those who support Romney will say it was a great win for Romney. Unlike the first debate, neither candidate came out flat and uninspired.
I do believe that the Libya issue is going to be the one that will give Obama the most concern. After the debate, Candy Crowley said on CNN that she was mistaken and Romney was 100% correct regarding his claim that the administration was not consistent, or even truthful in regard to the attack a few weeks ago. I truly believe that this one talking point will be the one most talking heads will focus on over the next week. If so, that portends very poorly on the President, as it was Romney who was correct.
There was, by my estimation, one major gaffe. President Obama claiming that the reason gas prices are now so high, as opposed to when he entered the office, was due to the economy tanking in '08, is ludicrous at it's face. Low gas prices are a lagging indicator of growing economy, not a one that's slowing. To me, this shows the complete lack of understanding how the economy really works.
My take from this debate is that on style and points, it was a slight won for Governor Romney. It would have been a bigger win had Romney been allowed to follow his answers after each Obama attack. However, the moderator allowed the President close to 10% more time than she did the governor. Like what happened at the Vice-Presidential debate, the Republican was often cut off by the moderator, while the President was not (with one exception at the end).
For the most part, I thought the questions were fair (except the GWB one) and I had no issues with Crawley's follow-up questions. In terms of voting, I've pretty much made clear which candidate I prefer and I am trying to be as honest and consistent as possible in this post. I do fully understand that it is vastly more difficult to debate as an incumbent, especially when your four record is not very favorable. The Governor did the right thing by constantly explain what he would do as President, as well as hammer Obama on what he has failed to do over the past 4 years.
On the other hand, Obama used a brilliant strategy of using Romney's words in the Republican debates against him. Of course, in the primaries, Romney had to appeal to the base constituencies in order to even get the nomination. But the best thing he did for his party was naming Paul Ryan his running mate, Once he did that, he secured the backing of the Republican Party. Where Obama is failing is he has been trying to paint Romney as a stereotypical, right-wing ideologue. But after these two debates, countless Americans aren't buying it. Yes, Mr. Romney is but stiff and Mr. Obama ais as cool as the other side of the pillow. But these are very serious times and because these two are so fundamentally different, there is a clear choice for the election.
Do we want someone who has been successful in all his endeavors on a grand scale, who has a true understanding of how our economy works and who speaks of American exceptionalism like he means it? Do we elect someone who's experience in government was to get along with the opposition to work for the betterment of the country? Someone who has and knows how to balance a budget and more importantly, understands the severity and responsibilities of the office in which has been given responsibility for?
Or do we elect someone who has - from day one - blamed his predecessor for doing many of the same things he is doing now? Yes, the nation was in a major financial mess when he became the President. But over 4 years, he has not only not made it better, but has in fact, made things progressively worse. The president offered hope for rebuilding our future according to his fundamental way of thinking. He surrounded himself with far left ideologues who admitted to following the teachings Chairman Mao and other anti-American figures. He has pushed Keynesian economics that have never worked on a grand scale in the history of the world.
President Obama likes to say "we should not go back to what got us in this mess in the first place." Sadly, he fails to acknowledge the fundamental facts as to why we were in this situation at all. This post is not the forum tonight to review those facts, as I have discussed them in detail over the course of the past 4 years. In addition - and this can not be stressed enough - the President has had four years, including two with a majority-proof House and Senate, to do the things he has wanted to do. Now it's four years later and what have the results been? Unemployment is up, we now have a $16 trillion deficit, we have a bureaucratic disaster called "ObamaCare" that will easily destroy whatever financial recovery we can muster. We have a foreign policy that is the laughingstock of the world - only it's our sworn enemies who are laughing, while our friends are dismissed. we have a joke of an immigration solution, where the individual states have been sued by the federal government for doing the job the feds are not doing. We have 47 million people now on food stamps and 23 million people out of work - plus G0d knows how many people have simply stopped looking for work. We have a man as President who refuses to meet face to face with world leaders - even if he speaks to them by phone, the seriousness of the situation requires a certain amount of respect - wile instead jettisons off to a Las Vegas fundraiser and an appearance on a late night television program.
I've heard the excuses from the Obama people, about how he is in special touch with the leaders by phone and how it would have been unacceptable to cancel his Vegas fundraiser. To which I say "BULLSHIT!" A leader leads. A leader wants the ball late in the 4th quarter in a close game. A true leader would have told his guests and hosts that because of the tragedy in Libya, going to a fundraiser and having a celebration is poor taste and also sends the message of priorities, which this President so clearly lacks.
The two questions you should be asking are what has President Obama really done that would deserve him an other four years? And what will happen in four years after we've had a repeat of these past four?