Obama: The Master Debater?

The UK Telegraph’s Tim Stanley thinks Mitt Romney won last night’s debate. I think Romney failed to capitalize on a few opportunities, but that’s just me.

Romney won the third presidential debate – and how he did it was encapsulated in a single exchange. The candidates were discussing military spending and Romney had just accused Obama of making harmful cutbacks. The President wheeled out what must have seemed like a great, pre-planned zinger: “I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works. You mentioned the navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military’s changed.” The audience laughed, Obama laughed, I laughed. It was funny.

But there’s a catch. It’s below the fold.

The zinger didn’t zing, and probably hurt Obama in Virginia.

But here’s why it was also a vote loser. For a start, Twitter immediately lit up with examples of how the US Army does still use horses and bayonets (horses were used during the invasion of Afghanistan). More importantly, this was one example of many in which the President insulted, patronised and mocked his opponent rather than put across a constructive argument. His performance was rude and unpresidential. Obama seemed to have a touch of the Bidens, wriggling about in his chair, waving his hands dismissively and always – always – smirking in Romney’s direction. By contrast, Romney sucked up the abuse and retained a rigid poker face all night. He looked like a Commander in Chief; Obama looked like a lawyer. Who would you rather vote for?

Obama won the 2008 election almost solely upon his likability. Ironically, the likability factor is hurting him this cycle. In the debates – I watched all three – Obama came off as angry, arrogant, and condescending. Many focus groups came to the same conclusion, and I think that is why Romney is now ahead in many of the polls.

Of course, like every election, the Obama-Romney race will come down to battleground states. And with Ohio still leaning toward Obama, I am far from confident we’ll be rid of this man come January.

16 thoughts on “Obama: The Master Debater?

  1. JCM

    Romney did pass on the opportunity to pummel Obama.

    That was intentional. While those of use who are high information voters on the right, and know all the ins and outs of Obama’s miserable foreign policy, and would have been cheering Romney beating Obama over the head with Benghazi and other failures. That wasn’t the plan for Romney.

    We’re already on board, and won’t get off, our Goal is beating Obama in Nov.

    Romney had to do 2 things, woe the remaining undecideds, yes those folks who are dumber than Honey Boo Boo. And not scare anyone off who’s marginal.

    He had to appear reasonable, thoughtful, not rash or reactionary. He had to appear as a Statesman and Presidential.

    Compared to Mr. Petulant and Surly he pulled that off in spades.

    He showed himself to be a viable alternative, and that was the mission last night.

    Mission accomplished.

  2. Robert B.

    I used to live in Louisiana and Florida. In addition to voting in Texas (my home these days), can I register as a democrat in those two states & vote some more?

    (Just kidding!)

  3. Ferrell Gummitt

    So, just for grins and giggles I checked if my dad, whom passed away in September 2011 was still considered an active voter. Well, Lo and Beyond he is.. This never happens in the Land of Lincoln.

    I called the county clerk’s office and asked to have him removed and they took care of it. He voted for Obama in 2008 as did everyone else in my family. If he were still living, he would vote for Obama in 2012. Deceased, he would probably have voted for Obama 7 or 8 times.

    That’s the Chicago Way…

  4. Wyatt Earp Post author

    GPC – We need all the Buckeye votes we can get.

    JCM – Michael Medved was told by a staffer that Mitt was sick as a dog last night, which is why there is the pic of Ann holding him while he shakes hands with the crowd. I mention this because he didn’t publicize it, neither did the campaign. in short, he didn’t want that as an excuse.

    That being said, Mitt didn’t “win” in the traditional sense, but I see your point.

    Fenway – If they’re talking about how to win WITHOUT Ohio, they are in serious trouble. Me? I still think Ohio is going blue, which means my suckass state needs to step up.

    Vicki – I wish they would realize that when the economy fails again, there will be no money for anyone – especially the unions.

    Robert B. – Can’t find the link, but North Carolina reported a plethora of registered 100+ year olds on the books. Maybe in God’s Waiting Room (Florida), but not NC.

    Old NFO – Quit your whining, grab your bayonet, and get on your horse. :)

    Ferrell – I’d recheck that they removed him. Don’t give them an opportunity to commit fraud.

  5. rodney dill

    While Romney may have missed opportunities, its possibly because his team determined there was a bigger downside if he pursued them. I’m sure both sides have teams to come up with the other sides response to any position. If he pushed too hard on Syria or Libya or Iran it could’ve been purported to be how he’d be more hawkish in those areas.

  6. formwiz

    To put it in the military context, Romney was thinking strategically, Barry was (if he was thinking at all) thinking tactically.

    Romney was playing chess, while Barry was sticking his tongue out.

    PS Here in NE OH, a lot more Romney signs, and this is big union country. If Barry can’t hold here, he loses the state and it doesn’t look like he’s holding it.

  7. Jim Scrummy

    Wyatt, I am becoming a tad bit more confident about Ohio, because Ohio tends to follow the national polling, in the end (it’s a late breaking state). VA, my adopted home state is going R/R (along with CO). Barky’s Monday debate didn’t help with VA. Barky’s team is starting to realize that Oiho is slipping, so expect PA to get more attention. Personally, I believe PA is ripe for Romney to take along with NH and IA (helped to convert my bro-in-law to Romney after he went stupid 4 years ago). MI, WI, and even MN may be on the table too? There will be some surprises, possibly out west (OR, WA, NM, and NV, one, maybe two of them will go R/R). About a month ago, I was down in the dumps preparing for 4 more years of Barky. Now, quietly confident, but much work to do.

    1. Jon Brooks

      Keep a sharp eye out for NBPP ..ah.. monitors at a polling place near you. Maybe they’ll have cute little ACORN hats this time?

  8. dan mahler

    I don’t really care who wins in November. I am a staunch conservative but any country that voted in a man like Obama in 2008 is doomed to fail…eventually. We had a chance to turn it around in 2012 but we blew it again by nominating a semi-conservative, flip floping, most liberal state in the nation (MA) governor named Romney. I agree that Romney is the lesser of two evils but I refuse to compromise my conservative principles by voting for Romney.

  9. Wyatt Earp Post author

    Rodney – That’s a fair argument. Win the war, not the battle.

    RAPH – And according to an article out today, Obama knew it was a terror attack on September 11th. The same day he jetted to Vegas.

    Formwiz – If he loses Ohio, he loses the election. That’s why I’m concerned with the Buckeye State.

    Jim – I never in a million years thought PA would go to Romney, but it looks like he has an OUTSIDE chance to take it. Hell, the unknown Senate candidate Tom Smith is within the margin of error to Dem Bob Casey. That’s surreal.

    Dan – I respect your decision. Everyone has to make their own. But I still think a vote not cast for Romney is a vote for Obama. Romney wasn’t my choice in the primary, but he’s proven his mettle to me.

    And more importantly, he seems to be a good man.

Comments are closed.