So if you were following my tweets and posts last night, you’re aware that I was displeased with the debate in just about every way. Romney lied through his teeth about almost everything and was rude as hell, Obama only landed a few solid blows and was not particularly aggressive and Jim Lehrer, the moderator, was just about completely useless.
So after a crappy night’s sleep and before I start reading all the analysis, here’s my second impression: Romney “won” in the sense that he came off as forceful but that’s it. By now, he is grist for the fact checker mill and they are undoubtedly chewing him to pieces. He actually used the $716 billion dollar Medicare lie that got Ryan into trouble. He claimed Obama massively increased the deficit, one the single most debunked right wing claims and he actually said something to the effect that the top 3% of “small businesses” employ 25% of the American work force. I cannot conceive of the math that would allow for those businesses to be considered “small.” That’s a campaign commercial right there if I’ve ever heard one.
On the other hand, Obama did what he always does, stayed calm. Annoyingly so at times. Yet, somehow, despite Romney talking over Lehrer at every opportunity in the most obnoxious way possible, Obama still spent more time speaking. But that’s Obama. No matter how hard the Drudge Report tries to paint him as “The Angry Negro” he just doesn’t give them the show they want. The unfortunate side effect is that Obama occasionally comes off as dispassionate. The upside is that, after four years, the country knows better. Calm is not the same as passive and Obama has shown, time and again, the kind of level headed thoughtfulness we desperately need. Romney has shown the exact opposite and his bullying manner was on full display.
Just as a side note: Romney ran so hard to the middle last night, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he was savaged in far right blogosphere. He did, after all, fulfill their greatest fear: that Romney is not a “real” conservative and is only telling them what they want to hear.
In the end, this debate is going to have no real effect on the race. Romney needed a decisive win, or rather, Obama needed to completely spaz out. This didn’t happen. Romney will be lacerated by the fact checkers (no doubt they’ll nitpick Obama to seem “fair”) and his rude mannerisms, while a great turn on for the base, probably won’t play well with the moderates and independents.
I guess we’ll find out in a couple of days when the polling comes out but i don’t see this as a major event. Still a couple of debates to go so here’s hoping Romney does what he does best: put his foot in his mouth.