Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Election 2012, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Military, National Security | Tags: Addressing Terrorism, American Foreign Policy, The Commander In Chief Test
Last night Bob Schieffer did a fine job of moderating and keeping the focus on the candidates. Governor Romney came to the debate, opting for a strategy that demonstrated his familiarity with the problems of the world, his ability to focus on what is important, and remaining cool and confident.
Many of his supporters, incensed by the scandal of the administration’s bungling of the Benghazi attack, expected the governor to take him on, and were disappointed. Romney was absolutely clear on what it was all about. A successful foreign policy depends on a strong America, and a strong America depends on a strong economy.
The Obama campaign had made a great effort to portray Mitt Romney as an out-of-touch rich businessman who got rich by nefarious means, attempting to describe Bain Capital as some kind of corporate raider, and Romney as callous and uncaring. It’s true, he is rich. But the first debate where Obama seemed unprepared, contemptuous and snarky revealed a Mitt Romney who was completely different from the Obama team’s portrayal. Here was a businessman who believed his success at reviving and growing businesses, rescuing the Salt Lake Winter Olympics from scandal and financial crisis, and as a successful governor gave him the tools to successfully tackle an economy far too long in recession.
1. Obama has done a bad job of being president. The economy he inherited was indeed in deep trouble, but the recession he “inherited” from George W. Bush ended (officially) in June 2009. He simply did not have the skill set to address it, and had the wrong ideas about what to do. He also inherited a dangerous world, and failed to understand how to make it safe. The country is far from better off after four years. A president who cannot say the word “terrorism” does not clearly understand today’s world.
2. Mitt Romney, in person, was obviously not the scary fellow portrayed by the Obama campaign. He was a successful businessman who had learned a lot of lessons in 25 years of growing companies and creating jobs, and has sound ideas about how to restore the economy and create jobs. America has enormous wealth in energy, and out abundant supplies of cheap natural gas can fuel a resurgent economy. People saw a Romney that was not only what he appeared to be, but clearly someone who could do the job.
Obama clearly failed the first debate. Even the most ardent Obama supporters were dismayed. So in the second debate, the unfortunate Townhall format, Obama came back ready for battle, angry, snarky, aggressive, belligerent, with an attack still based on Democrat campaign ads that portray that out-of-touch rich fellow. Romney seemed presidential, focused, in command of facts and figures.
Last night, if Governor Romney seemed restrained, controlled and presidential, Obama seemed like the desperate challenger. He gazed steadily at Romney with what twitterers called “the death stare” and was snarky and condescending. The exchange about the Navy was telling. Obama tried to claim that the military doesn’t want or need the men and equipment that he is trying to eliminate. This is a flat-out lie. The Military is screaming bloody murder to the extent they can while still respecting the authority of the Commander in Chief.
Romney responded that Obama’s cuts to the Navy would take the Navy back to its state in 1916. Obama responded that the nature of the military had changed and we now had ships with flat surfaces that planes land on, and other kinds of ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines, and furthermore perhaps Romney didn’t realize that the military didn’t depend on horses and bayonets any more. Um, the Navy doesn’t call them ships, they call them boats, and the military in Afghanistan has depended on horses, and every Marine gets extensive training in bayonet use, because they are still needed in close combat. This was supposedly a good line for Obama according to his supporters who are a little fuzzy on things military, but it infuriated members of the military and veterans who were appalled by presidential misinformation.
Romney did tackle Obama on his “Apology Tour,” to which Obama responded that reporters would tell him that there was no apology. Well, yes the compliant media perhaps would. Obama’s apology for “dictating to other nations” drew the response from Governor Romney that “America does not dictate to other nations; America has freed other nations from dictators.”
Romney may not have been aggressive in the final debate, but he was presidential, clear and absolutely focused. He passed the Commander in Chief test.