I didn’t get to watch/listen to the entire debate because I had to work, but I did poke in and observe when I could. Here are a couple of quick observations, thoughts I had.
- Mitt Romney’s strategy seems to be “I’m really Barack Obama.” Everything I heard him say seemed to come down to “I totally disagree with the president, and that’s why I’m going to stand here promising to do exactly the same things that he has been trying to do for four years but has been largely stonewalled by Congress, and therefore he’s wrong and I’m right.”
- Obama didn’t seem to have brought his “A” game, honestly. I certainly didn’t want to hear about how he’s going to lower corporate taxes, and his delivery seemed too detached and impersonal during the moments I heard him.
- I heard Romney repeat several lies and/or distortions – how the Obama plan will kill Medicare even though his own plan has the same cuts, how even though he’s said repeatedly that he plans to cut $5Bn in taxes on the upper crust now that’s not his plan at all, pulling the “anybody can have a study” crap without mentioning that the President’s information was from a professional, non-partisan report and his own was from a report commissioned with the intent to find a predetermined set of answers that aren’t necessarily supported by facts, etc.
- I heard a whole lot of pandering and nonsense from Romney that goes directly against every aspect of his campaign to date. Suddenly he’s Mr. Champion Of The Middle Class, oh, he knows how people are hurting…bitch, please. You don’t know anything about hurting, you’ve never seen hurting, you can’t relate to hurting, you wouldn’t recognize it if it slapped you in the mouth.
- I love – by which I mean detest – the attempt at turning the reality that supply-side economics does not work and never has into a “trickle-down government” narrative. A crock on its face.
- Nothing that I saw personally amounted to an “A-ha!” moment or any huge mistake on the part of either candidate.
- Jim Lehrer lost some respect from me tonight. He was far too accommodating to both candidates in terms of allowing them to run on beyond allotted time.
- My guess, before reading anyone else’s feedback or thoughts or spin: Since Romney didn’t fall flat on his face and Obama didn’t get off any big “applause lines,” the pundits will call it a Romney victory. In the sense – and only in the sense – that it should have been an Obama steamroller, I’d probably agree. Outside of the expectations, I’d call it a marginal victory for Obama; Romney still has no detailed plan of action, no concrete proposals, nothing but repeating the same old pandering talking points about how he’s right and Obama’s wrong because he agrees with Obama on everything and that’s why Obama sucks. The underlying strategy from the Romney camp still seems to be “I’m just like him, except I’m not black, so vote for me.”
I’ll watch the full debate at some point over the next couple of days when I get time, and if I see anything that changes the above impressions I’ll address it then.