Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Laugh about it, shout about it -- final 2012 edition

By Mustang Bobby

This will be remembered as the Horses and Bayonets debate, joining Big Bird and binders full of women in the hallowed hall of debate memes. Oh, and teachers. I love teachers!

As I said in my post before the debate, President Obama had an automatic advantage going into this debate simply because he's the president and foreign policy is something he has to deal with every day. He doesn't get to change his views based on which base he's trying to appeal to for re-election; he has to deal with the realities as they come in. On just about every topic, he had the upper hand, from Libya to the economic impact of our dealings with China, and he clearly knew exactly what he was talking about.

Mitt Romney could have blown this debate clear out of the water, and it was surely to his credit that he didn't, but he got awfully close on a couple of occasions, and it was obvious, thanks to the split screen and the bright lights, that he was uncomfortable, even anxious for the ordeal to be over. Maybe that's why he ended up agreeing with Mr. Obama on so many points where he used to — as recently as this weekend — vehemently disagree with him. Maybe he thought that if he just said "Hey, I'm with you" on Syria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, it would all be over sooner and he could go root for the Cardinals to beat the Giants. (Oops.)

If Mr. Romney were a man of principle, he would have been able to come up with a convincing counter-argument for every one of Mr. Obama's foreign policies, including drone attacks and our relationship with Israel. I am sure there are plenty of neocon and Bushite talking points that he could have used. But either he couldn't remember them or he doesn't really believe them, because he seemed to throw in the towel and revert to his stump-speech sound bites, including a clumsy turn to domestic policy points that he fumbled in the last debate. His strategy seemed to be that if he got stuck, return home to your stock answers and try for a mulligan on where he felt safe: the debate points in Denver.

But Mr. Obama was ready for him, wasn't about to let him retreat or repeat, and let Mr. Romney show that he's neither got the foreign policy background or the principles to win the arguments. "Hamana hamana" is not an effective foreign policy, although I think his closing argument tribute to the late George McGovern — "I am a man of peace" — was a nice touch. (That damp thud you heard was John Bolton's head exploding.)

This was a clear win for Barack Obama, even if it wasn't a complete shutout; I'll give Mitt Romney a run for not dripping sweat all over moderator Bob Schieffer. But there was no doubt in anyone's mind that the president knew his stuff. The only consistency in Mr. Romney's record is that he was constantly changing his point of view. But I am glad to know that he loves teachers. Or at least he did last night.

I don’t know if we'll see a massive shift in the polls for Mr. Obama, but I do think that this will solidify his narrow lead, and I hope it is enough to keep him there. 

(Cross-posted at Bark Bark Woof Woof.)

Labels: , , , ,

Bookmark and Share


Post a Comment

<< Home