Debate: Day after thoughts …

The broad stroke: B-O-R-I-N-G.  Yeah, Obama landed more punches … but he didn’t knock Romney out, didn’t knock him to the canvas, didn’t even give him wobbly knees … won’t stop Romney’s momentum.

My analogy: It was like a basketball game … Romney was sitting on a lead, taking the air out of the ball … Obama was scrambling trying to cause turnovers … whenever Obama fouled, Romney made the free throws … so, Obama won the 4th quarter (i.e. the last debate) … but not the game (the debate series)

Random thoughts:

  1. Wonder what the ratings will be … I was flipping between the debate and Bears-Lions … how many folks were like me?  Or worse, simply switched on MNF or the NLCS game 7 …  I’m into this stuff and I lost interest.
  2. General theme: Middle East is an insolvable mess ..  well-intended support for democracy (i.e. anti-dictators) has backfired … now, an entire region is controlled by out-of-control gangs with weak governments that are either in cahoots or ineffective … if it weren’t for the oil, most people wouldn’t care.
  3. Candi Crowley’s attempt to help Obama backfired … Romney didn’t have to relitigate Libya since it has been on the news for the past week … and since the press is stuck following up on the story … the Libya mess helped Romney by weakening Obama’s foreign policy advantage … now, back to the economy.
  4. I’m struck by how Obama heaped the Libya mess on himself … classic unforced errors – trying to be “too cute by half” … he didn’t have to start saying “al Qaeda is extinguished”, or on the run or whatever … folks would have bought “weakened but still a threat” … and honesty would have worked with Benghazi “Tried to keep Marines out of Libya, thought security was adequate … obviously, it wasn’t … caused a serious tragedy … redouble efforts to make sure it doesn’t happen again” … folks would have bought that, too … anybody with a pulse (don’t even need a brain) knows the area is a mess with a bunch of crazies running around … Instead, Libya became an issue and made Obama look like he was lying – even if he wasn’t.
  5. For me, most interesting was switching back from the Bears game … sometimes with the mute button on … Romney looked fatigued but Presidential … Obama looked ruffled – eyes darting, grimaces, goofy smile … I bet that’s an impression many folks drew.
  6. Based on CNN instpolls, Romney emerged as likeable as Obama (48 to 47) … and, “accepting as commander-in-chief” (60%) … soccer moms didn’t see a war mongering son-of-George Bush.
  7. Obama’s best line (“horses and bayonets”) will, in fact backfire … folks in ship-building areas (Norfolk & Portsmouth Virginia) probably want to keep their jobs alive for awhile … remember, VA is a swing state.
  8. Surprised that Obama kept teeing up economic issues … gave Romney legitimacy to repeat his powerful riff on the economy … didn’t Obama think that Romney would be ready re: the auto bailouts?
  9. Strongest Mitt line might have legs: “Attacking me isn’t an agenda for the future” … gets Obama for not having a plan and plays to the women who reportedly don’t like the negative stuff.
  10. Is “keep on truckin’” something you want to hear a President say in a national debate?

Civility has taken a hit … and debates will never be the same … from now on, they will be cage matches with the crowd screaming for blood.   When channel surfing the other nite, I stopped for a few minutes on C-Span’s replay of the Elder Bush- Dukakis debate … issues were about the same, policy differences were about the same, but demeanor of both guys was, uh, civil and presidential.  Will never happen again.

* * * * *
Great analyst quotesfrom the UK Telegraph

The President wheeled out what must have seemed like a great, pre-planned zinger: “I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works …  Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military’s changed.”

The audience laughed, Obama laughed, It was funny.

But, Twitter immediately lit up with examples of how the US Army does still use horses and bayonets (horses were used during the invasion of Afghanistan).

Romney sucked up Obama’s abuse and retained a rigid poker face all night.

He looked like a Commander in Chief; Obama looked like a lawyer.

Who would you rather vote for?

Romney tried his darnedest to bring everything back to the economy and Obama seemed to say in every answer, “So what we need to do in the Middle East is talk more about how rubbish my opponent is.”

It’s almost lucky that Obama isn’t running unopposed in this election because then he’d have nothing to run on at all.

The real difference was in style. In his closing statement – after Obama was done making the Ace of Spades disappear – Romney channelled Reagan by looking straight into the camera and asserting his faith in America.

It was empty, sugary stuff that will make liberals sick. But it was infinitely preferable to Obama’s constant, nasty attacks. Sometimes in life, the nice guys do win.

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