Last night, sitting President Barack Obama and presidential hopeful Mitt Romney took to the stage for the first presidential debate of 2012.
And Mitt Romney came out swinging.
There was no John McCain deference (i.e. groveling) given, no bending over and taking it. Mitt Romney stood out as a fighter and a leader, his points firm but well-mannered, stately yet entertaining, with zingers like:
- “I have five boys. I’m used to someone saying something that’s not true over and over again and hoping I’ll believe it.”
- “Mr. President, as President, you’re entitled to your own airplane and your own house, but not to your own facts.”
- “You have been president for four years.”
That last one was because Obama more than once talked about societal inequalities as if he didn’t have anything to do with them – as if he’s running for office for the first time instead of sitting in the seat of power trying his best to dictate this nation since 2009.
Anybody watching with any intellectual integrity had to have recognized that Obama lied “over and over again… hoping” that the American people would “believe it.” Yet considering how devoid of intellectual integrity his following is, I can’t understand why last night upset them so.
Sure, Romney came across as a man you wouldn’t really mind running the country, but Obama played his normal cards of misdirection and deceits, which usually besots his base. Not this time though, as some of his most avid supporters have become some of his harshest critics.
Chris Matthews lamented: “I don't know what he was doing out there. He had his head down, he was enduring the debate rather than fighting it. Romney, on the other hand, came in with a campaign. He had a plan, he was going to dominate the time, he was going to be aggressive, he was going to push the moderator around, which he did effectively, he was going to relish the evening, enjoying it.”
And the Daily Beast’s Andrew Sullivan was equally harsh: “Look: you know how much I love the guy, and you know how much of a high information viewer I am, and I can see the logic of some of Obama's meandering, weak, professorial arguments. But this was a disaster for the president for the key people he needs to reach, and his effete, wonkish lectures may have jolted a lot of independents into giving Romney a second look.”
Again, that’s really nothing new. But if last night’s debates depressed Democrats further than they already are, then I’m not going to argue.