I have to admit, after the first debate I was in the, “Where was my President?” camp. I shook my head, gritted my teeth and yelled at the TV. Turning it off in disgust I marched, like a petulant child, straight to bed. I’m still searching for the remote I threw.
I’d never seen such a performance. The President was not the inspiring candidate of hope and change I had come to expect. He was an apologetic political science professor who appeared to simply be enduring the evening.
Romney was relentless. He dictated the tonality of the debate and churned out one point after another, making his case with relative ease and appearing eminently reasonable on every position. What I didn’t know, what the 50 million other people watching at home didn’t know, was that while the President was playing defense, Mitt Romney was lying his ass off. And while he may have gotten away with it on stage, he won’t be able to escape it in the court of public scrutiny.
How many lies did Mitt Romney tell on that stage? I’m not sure exactly, but I’m guessing it was about 90 minutes worth.
“If you want to be president, you owe the American people the truth,” Mr. Obama said at a campaign rally in Madison, Wisconsin a day after the debate. And I agree.
Mitt Romney’s “secret” plan DOES raise taxes on the middle class. Closing the loopholes he’s proposing doesn’t allow him any other options. He DOES favor a $5 trillion tax cut. He lied about Obama doubling the deficit. And Romney lied yet again about Obama taking $716 billion from Medicare in order to fund heath care. And finally, Romney claimed, “You never balance a budget by raising taxes.” I guess he forgot President Clinton did.
We are in an age, like it or not, where the appearance of being more important than you are is perceived as being more vital than what you’re actually saying. Mitt Romney was successful at doing that.
After the debate, Independent voters across the country felt they were willing to give Mitt a “second look.” So let’s do that, because one stylistically well performed debate doesn’t erase his 47% comments – or his track record of Bain Capital – or his failure to release his tax returns – or his stance against gay marriage – or his desire to overturn Roe V. Wade – or his willingness to give tax breaks to the wealthiest people in the country – or to screw the elderly with a Medicare voucher system – or to tax the middle class…because that’s the only way to pay for a budget plan he apparently put together with a broken abacas and a few crayons.
Still believe Mitt Romney? Tell me, then, what is his plan, exactly, on health care? I didn’t hear it. Neither did you. What is his plan, again, to put people back work? Did you catch it at the debate? No, I didn’t think so. Why? My guess, and I’m just taking a stab at it here…it’s because he doesn’t have one!
Mitt’s Romney’s debate performance may have been a victory for him, but a win in a battle doesn’t mean you’ve prevailed in the war. Will the race tighten? Yes. Will Obama’s lead in the swing states drop a point or two? Sure. But that’s all. Ohio will still go blue. And with that, the president’s electoral map now sits at 265 – only 5 away from another term. Mitt’s performance may have turned what was once a crowded path to Washington, into a less bumpy road for him to travel, but it will never be an entirely clear path. If this had been a month earlier, Obama’s lackluster performance might have made a real difference. But it’s too little too late for Governor Romney. Obama’s lead is too great. The gap is too wide to close.
If Romney is going to win, he has to turn 9 swing states red: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. Even Romney’s lousy math skills can’t escape the fact he’s trailing badly in all those states, but two.
Unless Jimmy Hoffa is found buried under the White House lawn, Mr. Obama will be a two-term President.
Still think this debate turned the tides in Mr. Romney’s favor? Consider this: Going into their first debate, George Bush lost to John Kerry. Ronald Reagan lost to Walter Mondale. And Reagan didn’t just lose…he lost so badly the Republican Party outright questioned if Reagan might be too old for the job.
Today’s news from the Labor Department, that the economy added 114,000 jobs last month is welcome news for a President working to get back on message. Even better news, the unemployment rate dropped below 8.0% for the first time in four years.
I was reminded recently, about loyalty and love. You don’t abandon the one you love because they had a bad night. You stay loyal. You help them get up. You encourage them to have a better today – tomorrow, and everyday after. I won’t abandon my president. And I’m ashamed the mere thought even crossed my mind. I should have known better. And if you felt like me, you should have, too.