The media has come out in a surprising and homogeneous cry that Romney won the first 2012 presidential debate in decisive fashion.
I was less impressed with the contrast in performance, but I suppose I’ll take it. Undoubtedly Romney seemed more relaxed, assertive and better informed. He also made a bit more sense. So I would be in agreement that Romney squeezed out a small victory, mostly by the advantage of being slightly more correct, but my thinking was actually that his chance to completely dominate the debate and deliver knock-out blows was lost. In fact, Obama did quite a bit better than I expected and Romney did quite a bit worse than I hoped.
So the question remaining is why the massively pro-Obama media came out out so massively disappointed by their man, and why they preached so uniformly that Romney delivered a decisive victory performance. The answer is composed of a few factors, more or less in order of importance:
- Expectations. Though to the informed crowd, it is well known that Obama is a poor debater, rather hopeless without a teleprompter, and not a particularly intelligent individual, the constant media worship he has received has led most people to forget this. Not least of these apparently, is the very media pundits that do the daily worship. The constant praise they dish out and he receives, actually rose expectations dramatically. Obama is so brilliant, so eloquent and articulate… how is “stiff” ole poor Romney going to deal with him. After all, Obama is not only brilliant, but “in touch” and “hip” etc.
At the same time, the media has lowered the expectations of Romney’s performance by constantly reminding everyone that he is awkward, stiff and a highly scripted speaker. Those of us who remember the 2008 debates, know where our familiarity with Obama’s lack of teleprompter-less speaking ability comes from. While President, he had the luxury of avoiding such encounters mostly, but Obama was able to squeeze by during the last debates by facing an older gentleman (John McCain) who was determined (or convinced) to not go on the offensive. Obama’s energy and youth were able to carry him through (though he did not “win” those debates either by any measure).
Having helped spin the tail of Obama’s superiority, the media had no choice on Thursday but admit that he fell short of what he “could do”. It was in fact, about the best performance he can give.
- Obama veered to the Right. In attempting to catch the centrist swing vote, and aware of the failures (or at least unpopularity) of his more leftist tendencies Obama attempted to seem more “right wing”. He constantly praised freedom, the free market and tried to find common ground with Romney. For the leftist media, this was not only a betrayal, but seemed weak and defensive.
- While Obama veered to the right, Romney in turn veered sharply to the left. It was quite a different Romney than we heard at the GOP primaries, answering charges that he was not a true conservative. Like Gingrich, Santorum and others charged (including myself), he would do a sharp turn to the left in the general election and would face charges that his Mass. Healthcare plan (Romneycare) was essentially the same as Obamacare. This in fact, even brought him praise by Obama. So, in a debate between two liberals, the one who spoke better was Romney, and hence he is the media’s proclaimed winner. Had he stuck to a more conservative line, they would have liked him less and declared him the loser. I however, would have been more impressed. If this is the strategy that gets Romney elected, then so be it, but it leaves one unsure of his true beliefs.
Regardless of people’s’ skewed expectations of both Romney and Obama, they did not affect reality. In reality, Obama is not an impressive man, at least not at the Presidential level. His record was close to nil before being President (other than riding government assistance and affirmative action to Harvard Law and subsequently becoming a “community organizer”), and now that he has been President, his 4-year record is dismal.
Mitt Romney on the other hand, is a man who spent a a quarter century in a highly successful business career, amassed a wealth of knowledge in various fields relating to the many business he was involved with, ran a successful Olympics that had been on the brink, and thereafter was a popular and successful governor of Massachusetts. He has also been preparing himself for the presidency for many years and has gone through two elections facing tough and intelligent Republican challengers. Obviously this is a well-traveled worldly man with some knowledge, confidence, experience and a tried and tested executive. Mitt Romney is used to being in charge, and also used to getting along and working with others he may not like or agree with. He had to do that in business, and had to do that as Governor of a very Democratic state..
Obama on the other hand, has never done any of that. He spent his pre-Presidential days comfortably confined within the company of his radical leftist buddies, academics, students, “community organizers”, the corrupt Democratic Chicago political machine and some thugs.
To compare Romney and Obama in character, experience and worth as a chief executive is an exercise in futility. It is seen in this light that I believe Romney’s performance was lackluster. The debate kept drifting to two candidates promising what they would do IF they were President, and each trying to be more sincere than the other. It is as if Romney and thus all viewers forgot that Obama IS President. His record over the last 4 years is his Achilles heel. From foreign relations, to jobs and the economy, Obama’s Presidency is a disaster. Romney did not take full advantage of this. Every time Obama said that if President, he WOULD do “this”… Romney could have reminded everyone that he IS President and he actually did THAT. The only positive act Barak can point to was the killing of Bin Laden, and even that one is open to criticism.
The criticism of course, is the administration’s effort to try to politicize that achievement, especially when Obama had so little to do with it, nothing more than a reluctant “OK” when had no other choice. Which US President was going to be told that Bin Laden had been found and reply with “Ok cool, let him hang out there”? The chain of events leading to his being found was of course years in the making and founded on work done under the Bush Administration. The only effect Obama had on the operation is of dubious wisdom… he ordered Bin Laden killed and not captured alive under any circumstance. This had to do with Obama’s political fears of housing Bin Laden in the Guantanamo he promised to close, and either trying him in a military tribunal he promised to end, or in a civilian court that threatened national security classified information and a non-guilty verdict for Bin Laden due to the nature of the evidence, lack thereof and technicalities of civilian rights afforded to US citizens that obviously could not be afforded to Bin Laden. While Bush was president, Obama railed at the undemocratic nature of trying terrorists in military tribunals, he declared they were tarnishing the good name of the United States and were an affront to justice. Apparently, he believes summary executions to be much fairer.
The GOP was quick to give credit (even more than was due) when that operation succeeded This was a victory for America as a whole and not a time for political games, and yet Obama has seized it as his own. He claims victory for a war in Iraq he demanded be lost for 6 years. In any event, his record is dismal and grasps desperately at only a few isolated successful events, ALL started or carried out by the Bush administration.
- TARP succeeded in avoiding a US and/or Global Financial collapse. It was also fully repaid by the private companies with interest (TARP was passed with those exact goals and expectations under Bush).
- Bin Laden was killed. In an operation that began under a Bush led military and CIA, and continued by a Bush-promoted General David Petraeus and Bush appointee Defense Minister Robert Gates.
- US troops in Iraq were brought home, war ended. This occurred in precisely the manner and timetable Bush set up after the famous troop “Surge” which broke the back of the Iraqi insurgency, and after the execution of a treaty signed by Mr. Bush and Iraq’s new government before his term ended. Iraq’s future is now in its own hands, but was left stable and free by George W Bush who ignored the repeated calls from Obama (and almost everyone else) to withdraw in defeat. Unfortunately Obama was still able to reap some measure of defeat from the otherwise victorious and costly campaign by failing to renew a strategic treaty with the Iraqis as Bush had done. This of course leaves them open for Iranian control and influence.
On the other hand in Afghanistan, Obama pursed half measures and an incompetent and unoriginal “surge” of his own in quite different circumstances which accomplished little other than casualties. He now is poised to bring the troops home from Afghanistan with the Taliban in control of large swaths of the country (and neighboring Pakistan) and ready to seize the rest when the US withdraws.
From failing to stop Iran’s drive to obtain nuclear weapons, betrayal of allies and appeasement of enemies, failure in Afghanistan, the proliferation of Islamist governments and violence throughout the Middle-East, failure to exact any benefit from Russia while bowing to their demands and losing Eastern Europe to the Kremlin, to Operation “Fast and the Furious”, the embarrassing management of the BP Horizon disaster, shutting down California’s agriculture, the downgrading of America’s once stellar credit rating, soaring energy and food prices, unheard of deficits, chronic high underemployment, falling housing prices and a consistently terrible economy, Obama’s term is a textbook-perfect guide on how not to rule. One would think Romney could have “wiped the floor with him” in any debate. Instead, the two candidates mostly competed to see who was more “center-left”.
Though the mainstream media admitted defeat and disappointment, (though Al Gore aka Ozoneman aka Superman did claim it was the altitude in Denver that must have affected Obama), this did not stop them from doing massive damage control in the aftermath by their ubiquitous ”Fact Checks . Since Obama is so wonderful, they must admit he performed below par for some reason (be it the altitude or not), but they can then help by claiming Romney’s points to be incorrect and/or lies. This in part helps excuse why Obama was less than stellar, he was confused by the onslaught of misleading facts thrown at him. Of course, Obama himself was unable to point to any inaccuracy Romney may have made during the debate (while Romney did do the opposite quite a bit), but his spin-doctors and their media pals are now busy telling their tales.
It is amusing that it is understood that one of the candidates simply stating some fact during the debate is not necessarily true, but that when any other person not running for President simply agrees or disagrees in a “Fact Check” article he writes, it is automatically true. That man, believe it or not is also a mere mortal and can be just as right or wrong as the candidates (if not more so).
It is with this in mind that we now will dig deeper than the rest, and Fact Check the “Fact Checks”.
Should you believe what we post here at face value? Of course, the Lighthouse Keeper is always right.