The Third Presidential Debate proved a complete yawner, in which Barack Obama snarled and struggled to find opportunities to attack, while Mitt Romney contented himself by competing only in width of smiles, general affability, and presidential demeanor.
It could not have been more obvious that the professionals managing the Romney Campaign were confident that their candidate was winning and possessed strong positive momentum, so Mitt Romney’s debate strategy was simply to show up, and to do as little as possible to disturb outside events unfolding perfectly in his own favor.
Obama sometimes attempted to attack his opponent, and sometimes endeavored to strike triumphant poses of incumbency on his dazzling record of job creation, “saving the auto industry,” and making America safe by personally eliminating Osama bin Ladin.
Romney seemed, by comparison, the real incumbent, happily awaiting his January inauguration, politely going through the motions of indulging his already-defeated opponent in a sham contest involving matters already decided.
Obama occasionally looked mean, and at times seemed both desperate and petty. Romney was the model professional politician, giving away nothing, taking no risks.
Personally, I disliked Romney’s (as Rush would say) strategery intensely. I’d much prefer a candidate whose temperament was keener and less calculating, who could always be counted on to go for it, but we have the candidate we have. Newt Gingrich would have debated Obama into the ground even if he thought he was solidly ahead, but there is something in our national character that inevitably rewards the reserved and calculating schemer who strikes the cautious and conservative note. It’s not for nothing that Romney defeated all those Republican challengers and became the nominee.
He reminds me of Dwight Eisenhower, and like Eisenhower, Mitt Romney appears destined to go all the way. Whatever our reservations, we have to hope devoutly for his success. This country cannot afford another four years of Obama’s destruction of our economy.
The left can enjoy proclaiming that Obama won the third debate. But it was really one of those calculated refusals to engage, resembling Fabius Maximus Cunctator versus Hannibal or Kutuzov versus Napoleon, in which the cunning ultimate victor determinedly declines to permit his opponent to draw him into battle, postponing the final contest to a point which he already knows will be more certainly favorable to himself.
Mitt’s performance may have been less than satisfying but if his ultimate goal is to win the presidential election his “strategery” was very shrewd and required enormous discipline. You were of course not Romney’s intended audience, JDZ, nor were the readers of your blog. His audience was the people who still don’t know who they will vote for in two weeks, and women who know him only from the Obama campaign’s hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of TV ads portraying him as a greedy ruthless heartless warmongering SOB. His performance may have been unsatisfying but it was masterful, and probably just what was needed to put him over the top.
Romney’s strategy seems out of place because we are used to politicians, not CEOs running for office. Trust me. A CEO who acted like Newt Gingrich would get little done and would eventually be fired. Romney has repeated ad nauseum that his experience as governor with a hostile legislature shows he knows how to work in that environment. That’s not a campaign stunt; that’s how someone like him works.
Get ready to be disappointed by President Romney. He’s going to compromise with Democrats. He’s going to produce a tax overhaul that will raise taxes (but not rates) and skew the burden even more to high earners. He’s not going to reduce spending nearly as much as he should. Conservatives are going to be calling him a turncoat. But four years from now, we’ll be a lot better off than if we had reelected the incumbent.
Every time I start to feel disappointment creeping up on me I will remind myself how glad I am that I am not reading about the appointment of the fourth Supreme Court Justice by President-for-Life Obama in the newsletter of the reeducation camp I have been sent to after being sentenced to a life term for failing to register and turn in my firearms and sign the Pledge of Allegiance to Dear Leader Obama.
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