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Obama wins rubber match of three-debate set

(Graphic above from DailyKos; headlines from Newseum.)

By most accounts, including several quickie polls, President Obama got the better of a strangely dovish and agreeable Mitt Romney in last night’s debate on foreign policy.

Romney seems to have been told by his handlers that the bellicose foreign-policy stance he had assumed during the Republican primaries isn’t going to cut it with most women in a tight presidential race. And, of course, women comprise the majority of the electorate.

But to present this new persona, Mitt had to perform another of his patented flip-flops. He had to abandon several positions he previously had held. He had to agree with Obama on certain matters.

This strategy naturally ran the risk of casting Romney as a man of no firm principles, a man of pure opportunism. The Chicago Sun-Times had good cause to editorially ask: “Where was this man all along? And when he gets religion so late in the game, can he be believed?”

E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post put it THIS WAY:

The cost of creating this reassuring presence, however, was that doing so reinforced Obama’s attack line on Romney as an unprincipled politician. Romney’s stands on issues seem related almost entirely to the political calendar: Veer as far right as necessary in the primaries, then slam on the breaks, turn right around, and head in an entirely new direction – all in pursuit of those moderate suburban moms whom strategists on both sides see as central to the election’s outcome.

Obama seemed confused in the first debate by the New Romney (or, depending on how you want to count these things, the New New Romney). He wasn’t this time. “I’m glad Gov. Romney agrees with the steps we’re taking,” Obama said at one point, and then catalogued how it has not always been thus. Obama was particularly tough after Romney praised the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Obama noted that Romney had once said, “We shouldn’t move heaven and earth to get one man,” thereby using one foreign policy matter with which all Americans are familiar to illustrate Romney’s habit of altering his positions when doing so is convenient. In a foreign policy debate especially, a Democrat wants to convey toughness. That’s what Obama’s demeanor did.

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8 Comments

  1. There are several items that are peculiar about this debate & pundit analysis:

    – Liberals like to refer to Iran & Afghanistan as “The Bush Wars.” Yet, Obama increased the troop levels in Afghanistan twice, and more troops died in Afghanistan under 4 years of Obama than 7 years of Bush.

    – Washington Post is referring to Romney as a “peacenik” as if this is a bad thing. So Bush is a war monger, so he sucks, and Romney is a peacenik, so he also sucks. Its liberals that are all over the map, not Romney.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/peacenik-mitt-gets-pummeled/2012/10/22/8c74308c-1cba-11e2-9cd5-b55c38388962_blog.html

    – Everyone on both sides seems to be okay with using drones to enter any country we want to do whatever damage we want and kill whomever we want at any time we want. How long before one of these rouge terrorist groups decide to do the same thing to us? Are we really setting the right precedent here?

  2. Luke Fredrickson

    Yeah Nef, those rouge terrorists are the most dangerous of all terrorists. Hiding their evil intentions under the cover of cosmetics…

    http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/books/blog/sarah%20palin%20going-rouge.jpg

  3. Willard wants world peace and so do the contestants in the Miss America pageant. Thank you but not exactly the kind of foreign policy strength we’re looking for at this time.

  4. Luke – Have to give you credit. Well played.

  5. A lot of voters were watching last night and asking themselves which candidate would do a better job across the negotiating table from Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran. (Or the U.S. Congress, for that matter.)

    And judging by the news reports this morning, a lot of voters are coming to the same conclusion: Romney. Obama was petty and petulant last night.

    The liberals can try to change the subject by focusing on misspelled words and the Miss America pageant and the geography of Iran’s neighboring countries, but Erick Erickson gets the prize for summing up Obama’s situation best: “Mene, mene, tekel, parsin.”

    This morning from Rasmussen: Romney 50% and Obama 46%. And this is based on polling that preceded last night’s debate.

  6. Thanks for the bubble report Dan. The extremist will vote for Willard even if he wants to build colonies on the planet Kolob and prevent Mars from obtaining nuclear weapons. He was clearly out of his league last night trying to keep up with Obama’s vast knowledge of foreign affairs and his accomplishments to date. Willard’s geography moment was only equal to Gerald Ford’s Poland gaffe. Sorry but most don’t want Willard and his assistant who’s still trying to figure out horses and bayonets across the table from any country.

  7. Jonathan Saunders

    President Obama’s debate win was truly impressive and now makes three out of four debate wins for Obama/Biden. People seem to finally be realizing that Mitt Romney and the GOP have based an enormous amount of their election strategy on lies, hated and deceit. From the 72 million Americans that will be left without any health insurance, whatsoever, by year 2020, under Romney’s plan (determined by two independent, non-partisan research studies available to the public), to women and minorities being drastically stripped of their equal rights because of his refusal to support initiatives like the Lily Ledbetter Act which enables women to be paid the same as men provided they do the same work (the first act passed by President Obama) or Hospital Visitation Rights which allows gay people the same visitation rights as straight people when a loved one is in hospital, Americans are seeing Mitt Romney for who he really is. From the West Coast to the East Coast and all of our our great country in between, we Americans are seeing from these debates that a Romney/Ryan plan will leave the middle class being burdened with much higher taxes while the wealthiest Americans pay less in tax because “it will help inspire job hiring” which evidence showed us in the Bush years, does not happen. Out of four debates neither Romney or Ryan could specify their “tax plan” despite being given numerous opportunities. That is not honest. That is not American. That is not integrity and that is certainly not Christian. Mitt Romney also has the highest disapproval rating, of all time, of any Presidential candidate, ever. Higher than Bush. We must understand this. The entire world hates the guy. We must be proud to be Americans. We must have a President who represents all of America and that we can be proud of. We are coming out of one of the most difficult economic times in our history in large part because of two wars we are finally ending. We are bringing our brothers and sisters home. But we cannot go backward. We must go forward. We are Americans. And we will prevail.

  8. RedRover

    On the day after both O-Bomb-a and Romnesia pledged their undying support for Israel, a poll of the voters in that so-called democracy revealed their strong support for continuing and expanding their country’s apartheid policies:

    Israeli poll finds majority in favour of ‘apartheid’ policies
    Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem
    guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 23 October 2012 07.59 EDT

    Two-thirds say Palestinians should not be allowed to vote if West Bank was annexed, while three in four favour segregated roads

    More than two-thirds of Israeli Jews say that 2.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank should be denied the right to vote if the area was annexed by Israel, in effect endorsing an apartheid state, according to an opinion poll reported in Haaretz.

    Three out of four are in favour of segregated roads for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank, and 58% believe Israel already practises apartheid against Palestinians, the poll found.

    A third want Arab citizens within Israel to be banned from voting in elections to the country’s parliament. Almost six out of 10 say Jews should be given preference to Arabs in government jobs, 49% say Jewish citizens should be treated better than Arabs, 42% would not want to live in the same building as Arabs and the same number do not want their children going to school with Arabs.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/23/israeli-poll-majority-apartheid-policies/print

    Laugh about it, shout about it,
    When you’ve got to choose,
    Every way you look at it, you lose.
    — Simon and Garfunkel, “Mrs. Robinson”, Bookends (1968)

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