First debate reactions: non-live viewer
Just watched the debate. Not sure why people are saying Romney won so convincingly. Obama, with few exceptions, bullshitted his way through things just fine. And Romney too often sounded like a me-too statist.
Objectively, Romney won on the points and particulars, and he had several strong moments. Clearly, he’s not the leftist Obama is — though he’s still a statist. That’s a net positive, should he win election. Strategically, though, I’m not sure that Romney’s victory on points matters all that much in the long term. Obama hit education hard and tried to win women. He made the emotional case for government compassion against the self interest of private sector profit motive. And he hid, for the most part, his most overt Marxist tendencies in platitudes developed by Marxists to appeal to capitalists, while Romney, save his closing remarks, was less insistent about conservatism than he should have been (although making the “moral” argument for the problem with debt and deficit was, I hope, effective). On the plus side, Obama lacked the spark that made him so cult-friendly four years ago. In fact, I found the spirit of Sarah Palin much more vibrant in that room tonight than the Hope and Change of 2008 Obama.
Still, I fear we’re overstating Romney’s “win.” And I say this as someone trying to look at the debate from the layman’s perspective (Obama’s audience) rather than from the perspective of those who follow politics closely.
Of course, I’m hammered right now, and I’m also cynical, so take this for what it’s worth.
My concerns: There was no clinching soundbite, no Reagan/Mondale moment. And so I doubt very much the needle moves, because as I said before, I doubt there are very many undecideds who remain. The country is divided between those who accept the socialist paradigm and those who embrace free market capitalism.
And Ann Althouse.
It will remain so after this debate. Just my rum-soaked opinion. YMMV.
I don’t mention this to try to be controversial or iconoclastic. I say this because, having heard early reviews before watching the debate, I think the strength of Romney’s performance has been overstated in its overall likely effect — or, perhaps more fairly, the weakness of Obama’s performance has been overstated under those same conditions.
One thing I will say aggressively in Romney’s favor: he didn’t seem at all scared of Obama or the Obama mystique. This is a big step up from McCain, and will have some effect on the perception of the candidates — though at least initially, the disappointment seems to be coming mostly from the cult members who are beginning to realize they got taken.
And maybe Ann Althouse.
Flame away. Like I said: I’m drunk as a Kennedy squatting in a Chris Matthews gin pool wearing a thong made from frozen black russians. And carrying a silly straw. I can take it.
Also, I’m an optimist who draws solace from his affected pessimism. It’s a defense mechanism. So keep that in mind, as well.