I didn’t have much to say about Debate I. President Obama was not prepared, neither having done his homework it seemed, nor was he ready for a Romney who simply rewrites his position whenever the political winds seem most helpful. He lost in the public opinion, though he surely won on the facts. But as we increasingly know, facts matter little.
Last night was a different story. The President came prepared to take off the gloves and call a spade a spade. Romney attempted to run over him as he had the first time, pushing aside the moderator and taking that elite-entitled control as the “most important man in the room.” He shockingly silenced the President, announcing, “you’ll get your turn when I’m finished,” and “that was not a question, that was a statement” dismissing the President’s interjection, and talking on.
He time and time interrupted the moderator telling her he wanted to answer the President’s statement, then arguing with her, and finally just saying what he wanted to say in spite of her attempts to keep to the rules. He was the first to violate the agreed upon rules by walking up the President and demanding answers to specific questions–answers he got and probably wished he hadn’t asked for after all.
Funny isn’t it how Vice President Biden was subjected to withering criticism by the Right for being intemperate and rude to the moderator, but oddly they were silent in the face of Romney’s dismissive and rude behavior toward both the President, the Office of the Presidency, and the moderator.
Romney of course, relied on lies once again, claiming that he was not in favor of allowing either legislatures or employers power over the reproductive rights of women. But of course he’s on record as supporting fully the Blunt Amendment which would have authorized just those things. Further his determination to defund Planned Parenthood strikes most seriously at the contraceptive needs of poor women.
In the end, Romney walked into trap after trap. It was as if the President knew that if he dropped these little enticements, Romney could not fail but jump to gobble them up and open himself up to disaster. He did so regarding Detroit and the bailouts, then of course most famously on Libya where he simple didn’t know the facts, and finally he had the stupidity to mention in his closing that he was “for 100% of the people”, giving the President the perfect opening on the 47% argument, and Romney could do nothing but stand there with that weird stance and look.
How will it all play out? It’s anybody’s guess. Romney by rights had no claim to a move up in the polls given that he lied all through the first debate. But he did. He lied a good deal in the second according to the fact checkers so far. Will it matter? Will President Obama’s crisp clean answers coupled with a deadly assault on Romney’s etch-a-sketch political philosophy make any difference?
I truly don’t know. It should. It all should have mattered, but after all, the people watching are high interest people, who have made up their mind, and low-interest voters who are fairly unaware of much that we know to be the truth. It’s a matter how of it “sounds” to them. Will women be offended by how Romney treated the Office of the President and Candy Crowley? Will they be offended about his lies regarding women’s issues? Will they be offended by his assumption that women need flex time because they have “dinners to cook” and his claims that he asked for lists of competent women (apparently he never met any in his long career as a businessman), when in fact the “binder” was prepared in advance to be given to the winning candidate by women’s groups eager to see more women placed in government service. Will people be okay with a man who assures us that the “numbers add up” because I’m a businessman and I know?
Who knows? The election is in the hands of people who don’t care that much. They don’t care enough to know the facts but settle for who sounds good.
I remain cautiously optimistic, but no more than that.
- Obama Is Back! (thedailybeast.com)
- Mitt Romney’s binders full of women just don’t stack up (guardian.co.uk)
- Ladies’ Night (salon.com)
- Obama comes out swinging (salon.com)
- WATCH: Mitt Romney Barrels Over Candy Crowley (huffingtonpost.com)
- Obama Seizes the Upper Hand (thedailybeast.com)
- Mitt Is Not Moderate, But He Does Say Things Like “Binders Full of Women” (blogher.com)
- Obama Bounces Back With Strong Showing in Second Debate (swampland.time.com)