3rd Presidential Debate Review
October 23, 2012 2 Comments
What to make of last nights debate. Romney spent the whole night agreeing with Obama on Syria, Pakistan and Libya. He never attacked Obama on his handling of Libya. But while he seemed to agree with Obama on substantive issues he attacked Obama for his apology tour and his handling of China. Who won? It all depends on how you look at it. Romney agreed with Obama on so many substantive issues you’d think Obama won. But what exactly was Romney’s goal tonight? He wanted to make it clear he wouldn’t take the country to war. He was successful in that. He came off as a potential Commander in Chief. So in that regard Romney looked very good.
But of course foreign policy wasn’t the only issue discussed tonight. The economy was discussed in detail as it is a foreign policy issue. Romney strongly attacked the policies of the past four years, burdening Obama on his record. How can we be strong abroad when the nation is so weak at home? Obama did a terrible job responding on economic issues. He did a terrible job telling us what the future would hold for the country. So in that regard, Romney perhaps came out slightly ahead. Especially in his attacks on China and his defense of his position on the auto bailout.
Let’s talk about semantics. Obama was definitely forceful tonight and there’s no doubt that forceful comes off better than passive, which let’s be honest Romney was when he agreed with Obama. But like with the VP debate, we got to see the candidates reaction to the other guys comments. Obama looked angry, he smirked a number of times. He had some very sarcastic arguments on the military. For some reason we shouldn’t invest in Navy ships because we don’t need bayonets or horses in the military anymore. Incidentally bayonets aren’t an old timey military item, they still use them. Apparently we have something called aircraft carriers, we wouldn’t have known about this but for Obama. That sarcasm wasn’t Presidential.
So on semantics Obama looked angry and sarcastic while Romney appeared Presidential and he appeared like someone who isn’t a wild Bush style cowboy looking for a war. Romney did a good job avoiding that. But let’s look at their closing statements, which I think might determine the winner. Romney asked the country for our vote, Obama did not. That might seem small but it says something about their character. People will notice. So on semantics Romney won, in that regard people who might be leaning towards voting for him are likely to do so now.
Let’s face it, this is not a foreign policy election. As such foreign policy doesn’t matter as much as it did in an election such as 2004. The economy is the #1 issue. As such, Romney needed to look capable on foreign policy which he did. Obama needed to defend his position, which he largely did. But the big issue here is the economy and on the economy it’s becoming abundantly clear to voters that Romney is winning that debate. Voters aren’t particularly interested in Pakistan or Syria, they’re interested in the fact that the economy is in rotten shape.
So who won the debate? My initial thought is that it was a tie because while Romney clearly won on the economy he agreed with a lot of Obama’s foreign policy and he failed to go after the President on Benghazi. But when looking at the whole debate, I think Romney barely squeaked out a victory. Obama looked angry, he didn’t ask us for our vote. Romney looked Presidential, he sounded like a capable Commander in Chief who wasn’t looking to take the country to war. Most importantly he asked for our vote. He’s earned mine and he won the 3rd debate.