Whenever I’ve heard some Republican or another say that Mitt Romney would make a great president, I always have the same question: Based on exactly what? It is an explanation that has never been forthcoming from anyone on the GOP side, as though just saying it somehow elevates the statement above what it obviously is, the usual rhetoric without any basis in fact.
I had the same question in mind last night as I listened to the pundits and media bobbleheads declaring Romney’s debate performance as a clear “win”. And again I ask the question: Based on exactly what?
Allow me to digress for a moment, and say that I knew long before the debate ever started that it would be hailed as a spectacular win for The Mittster – not because anyone expected the gaffe-prone idiot to rise to the occasion and dazzle the audience, but because the news media needs this to be a horserace. Viewers don’t tune in to keep abreast of a race that already has a clear winner weeks, even months, before the final lap around the track. It was a foregone conclusion that even if Romney had pulled out his dick and pissed on the podium, the bobbleheads would have raved about his innovative style and ability to use a bodily function in order to make a point.
That being said, I again ask the question: Romney “won” the debate based on exactly what?
Admittedly, I may be old fashioned and, as a result, just not hip to the idea that a candidate repeating things that have already been proven to be misrepresentations, distortions, exaggerations, and/or out-and-out lies are now to be chalked up in the “win” column. And yet, that is exactly what we witnessed last night.
While the bobbleheads and their colleagues, the MSM, high-fived each other, there were a few comments about the fact-checkers who would be weighing in within the hour. But no heed was given to that ominous warning; no one was going to allow pesky things like facts ruin their evening – not the bobbleheads who need the ratings, nor the GOPers who were desperate for anything that might keep their nag from being dragged off to the glue factory before the last campaign contribution had been squeezed from the wallets of the now somewhat placated, albeit totally bamboozled, fans.
I couldn’t help but imagine a group of sportscasters – who tend to have more scruples than political pundits and news network politicos – declaring that although Team A’s behavior in their winning World Series game was about to be scrutinized by professionals who had reason to believe they had bribed the umpires and cheated to win, the “win” was still the important thing – and if Team A was found to be guilty of rigging the game, that was too unimportant to be considered.
What I saw last night was a President who had prepared for an honest debate on the issues. But there was no debate. One cannot debate lies and misrepresentations. One can’t argue about whose plans for the country are more sound, when their opponent is simply pulling “facts” out of their own ass.
Most importantly, no serious politician should be expected to score points based on whose lies are better told than his opponent’s.
But that’s exactly what Obama was expected to do, to counter non-facts presented as though they were the truth, to take seriously a man who changed his former positions and proffered them as long-held policies. And the MSM was more than anxious to hang the Winner’s Wreath around the neck of the man who, in their estimation, lied like a true champ.
Much has been said among Democrats today about how Obama should have simply called Romney a liar to his face. And admittedly, part of me would have been thrilled if he had. But having seen Obama in action over the past four years, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. And in the end, I was grateful for the fact that he isn’t the loud-mouthed street-scrapper I am, but a president worthy of the title.
Obama has too much self-respect to wallow in the mud with a lying pig, and too much respect for the office he holds to sully it by engaging in name-calling – as appropriate as the name “lying pig” might be.
What I took away from last night’s performance was a renewed admiration for a man who honors his position by keeping it uppermost in his mind, and conducting himself accordingly. Despite being continually baited into the mud pit, Obama was steadfast in his refusal to get just as dirty as his opponent. He stuck to the truth and the facts – apparently to the dismay of those who thought, even momentarily, that a good roll in the shit was called for.
And what of the Romney supporters? What could they have possibly taken away from their candidate’s performance? It can only be the fact that Mitt lies with the best of ‘em – which is something Republicans admire far more than the truth.
Well, the fact-checkers have been busy since last night’s debate. This morning I woke up to on-line news items (the only ones I’ve come to trust) about exactly how many lies Romney told, how many misrepresentations he made, how many facts and figures he had deliberately skewed, et cetera.
Color me not surprised. And color my friends in the Republican camp, along with their MSM cohorts, totally unperturbed. Once declared, a win is win – and even if it was all based on smoke and mirrors, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the snake oil being sold won’t actually cure your grandma’s rheumatiz, get your Uncle Egbert off the booze, or create twelve million jobs overnight.
Still a man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest. And never was it more evident than last night.
Needless to say, the Mitt adorers know no more today than they did yesterday about how he intends to accomplish all he has repeatedly promised. No specifics, no numbers, no details – just the same old/same old “elect me first, and then we’ll discuss it” obfuscation that a well-practiced flim-flam man extols before the satisfaction guaranteed or your money happily refunded label falls off the bottle of cat piss he’s passed off as a cure-all for all that ails a troubled populace.
I’ve seen a lot of Where was Obama? comments today. I can’t help but wonder where those who pose the question have been for the past four years. Well, he was right there, not acting presidential, but being presidential – the very personification of a man who, by virtue of his own principles and those rightly attributable to the office he holds, was not about to engage in a game of I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I. He instead engaged his real audience, the voters interested in the truth rather than the bullshit being tossed around on stage by an idiot too politically ambitious to be honest, and too self-absorbed to believe that something as expendable as the truth should stand in his way.
The fact of the matter is that Romney is still the ultimate loser in this race. And the bobbleheads calling his debate performance a game-changer won’t alter the fact that the game has not been changed. Nor will it be in days to come.
It should be mentioned that just as Clint Eastwood’s conversation with an empty chair dominated the political conversation the day after Mitt’s all-important convention speech, it was Romney’s threat to cut Big Bird’s career short that dominated the discussion today.
When you’re running for the highest office in the land, the most powerful position on the face of the earth, and what sticks with the voters is your War on Sesame Street, you’ve got to figure that your grand-slam debate performance was nothing more than a flash in Oscar’s garbage can – only far less important in the great scheme of things.
And so it was.