Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Obama / Romney II

I've been buried in work and have had little time to comment on the upcoming (now past) second Presidential debate.  Actually, it turned out pretty much as I expected.  Romney held his ground against an opponent who actually showed up this time.  President Obama was visually (if not factually) more aggressive than the first go round.  Candy Crowley behaved pretty much as objective as anyone could reasonably expect from a CNN correspondent.

A few brief observations:

Despite Obama's improved overall performance, he came across more indignant than ever.  I was pleased with the President's comments on the Second Amendment and I hope he was sincere when he made them, his education ramblings thereafter notwithstanding.  I wish Romney would have pointed out that we don't need tighter gun laws.  We need to enforce the ones already on the books.  After all, if drivers speed through a 55MPH zone at 75MPH, lowering the speed limit to 45MPH is not going to slow these drivers down.  But I digress.

Romney missed several opportunities to spank the President with factual responses to nebulous comments.  He took a play out of George W. Bush's playbook in his handling of President Obama's constant interrupting when he told him that his insistence that the President stop interrupting him was a statement, not a request.

Crowley was probably the worst moderator in the history of Presidential debates.  A moderator should never stand up for either debater. Their job is to be as ineffectual as possible to the outcome of the debate.  Crowley's interjections and cut-offs were blatant.  I believe her selection of the questions submitted by the attendees was reasonable, with the exception of the ones on women's salaries and a comparison of Romney to George W. Bush.  While the glass ceiling is always an issue for women, it isn't exactly a standout issue in this election.  Having Romney answer a question on the differences between he and President Bush held no consequence for President Obama.  It basically gave him two minutes to pontificate in a response and not be challenged for not answering the question - since the question had nothing to do with him.  This was a conscious choice on Crowley's part.  I thought the question Crowley held for the end was a good choice.  Allowing each candidate to speak for two minutes to dispel misunderstandings about them provided a nice finish.

The media calls it a win for President Obama and given his past performance, they may be right.  After all, any performance remotely lucid on the President's part was all an adoring mainstream media needed to make that call.  I think that had Romney been allowed to finish some of his comments, the mainstream media would have been forced to settle for a draw, lest they be exposed (again) for their liberal bias.  The President was given four more minutes than Romney was, but without a teleprompter, that time was pretty much useless.  I would like to see the numbers on how many times Romney was interrupted not just by the President, but by Candy Crowley.

The final debate will focus on foreign policy.  Given Romney's knowledge of foreign affairs and the President's inability (or unwillingness) to accurately address the question on his administration's handling of the Libya terrorist attack, the Obama will most certainly have his hands full.  I just hope Romney makes it interesting and seizes the opportunity.