The first and most crucial presidential debate has come and gone. The contest has been dissected within an inch of its life. Regardless of the thoroughness of the coverage, both accurate and ludicrous, one or two points have not received enough attention.
Some ground, already ably covered, deserves to be crowed over again: Governor Romney was informed, cogent, crisp, and authoritative throughout the debate. He offered viewers, some hearing Governor Romney’s position for the first time, a clear alternative to the hackneyed, empty, pie-in-the-sky talking points of the White House’s current occupant. Governor Romney was not only confident, he was accessible and completely at ease. Dare I say, Presidential?
Despite this there have been immediate attempts from the left to spin the results away from Governor Romney’s decisive win. A favorite excuse for the president’s moribund performance was offered up by Al Gore. The former vice president said that the blame for the president’s flop rests with Denver's high altitude.
Another was that the president is “out of practice” with respect to debates. Only hard core acolytes, exemplified by the likes of Stephanie Cutter, Nancy Pelosi, and Eva Longeria have had the sheer nerve to insist that the president won. No matter how hard the left tries to convince us that the debate was (1) “unfair”; (2) Governor Romney “wasn’t nice” (a DNC ad I fervently hope airs); (3) Romney's answers were “full of lies” (Proof? Proof? No, we’ll just say it…a lot), and (4) the debate was not a game changer.
ABC and the Associated Press have canceled, for the first time in five presidential elections, exit polls in 19 states. California, a state that is as blue as they come, is now possibly up for grabs. That is pretty damning evidence that despite desperate Democrat claims to the contrary, a game-changer is indeed, well underway.
With apologies to a frantic, bitter main stream media, it appears that there really is something to be seen here. And somewhere north of 67 million people saw it. This, despite competition from the New York Yankees, playing for and clinching the title on the east coast (and winning big time by the way) and the Oakland A’s doing the same on the west coast.
The overwhelming, bi-partisan recognition of Governor Romney’s mastery can’t be walked back. So the hoary Democrat play-book was yanked out again. Intransigent Democrat elected officials addressed voters and lied outright about the debate ignoring that it was captured on tape. We're being told that The One was really comatose because Governor Romney’s “lies” were so “overwhelming and frequent.” Unfortunately, the president wasn’t overcome by his opponent’s “lies”; he was gob-smacked by his opponent’s aptitude.
As Governor Romney put it to the president far more elegantly during the debate, “You are entitled to your own plane and your own house…but you aren’t entitled to your own facts.” Just so. We can expect more and worse from now at least until Election Day.
Much was made of Mr. Romney looking and speaking directly to the president while the president refused to address Mr. Romney directly most of the time. He looked away, looked down, he smirked, he wrote notes. Most ascribe this behavior to the president’s discomfort with how the debate was unfolding. Another possibility should be considered -- the depth of the president’s narcissism. This is the behavior of a man seeking to show contempt for his opponent. It’s the body language of a liar.
Governor Romney’s factual strikes were ineffectually countered. The president’s final ploy was to keep repeating that Governor Romney talked about his goals but never outlined how he would achieve them. This should have been the most significant point of the debate. Governor Romney gave a brilliant response to these accusations. He pointed out that as a governor he’d learned that he could achieve nothing by fiat. “My way or the highway” simply could not work. He addressed the “omission” of how to get to his objectives by reminding the president that a president is an executive; the executive sets a direction and has the legislature come up with specifics. The executive and legislature meet regularly to shape the path. In the last 48 hours only one person mentioned this exchange. Senator Marco Rubio.
This point defines the very core of America’s choice in this election; the difference between a man with respect for the separation of powers and a man who practices an imperial presidency. At one point in the debate Governor Romney pointed behind himself and drew attention to the Constitution of the United States decorating the back drop behind him. He urged that the Constitution not be ignored or discarded. The president, on the other hand, has imposed 139 executive orders in his three-plus year tenure.
Governor Romney has set himself a very high standard in the first debate. In direct contradiction to what Republicans are always being accused of, it is Democrats who are howling for “red meat”, urging the president to go for blood. It’s coming. He has nothing else to offer. So, here is our choice: A principled, capable executive, a man who wants to be president or a man with a failed record, someone who wants to be known as the president?