LOS ANGELES, October 23, 2012 – The third and final 2012 presidential debate from Boca Raton, Florida, will quickly be forgotten. For those who watched Monday Night Football instead, the Chicago Bears defeated the Detroit Lions 13-7 in a game that also will not be remembered in a few days.
Both events contained little action without a season ending knockout.
Praise is rightly given to debate moderator Bob Schieffer. He is politically liberal, but played it straight down the line in this debate. Like Jim Lehrer, Mr. Schieffer was ultra-professional, offering substance to the event.
The format for the Foreign Policy debate had the men sitting at the table, which usually forces candidates to cut down on the bombast and have a serious discussion. The problem with both the debate and the football game is that all the buildup and substance cannot compensate sufficiently for bad actors that just do not want to get serious.
The game was boring because the teams played badly when it counted. The debate was lacking because President Obama is incapable and unwilling to engage in a mature discussion on an adult level. He treats debates like school playground “rankout” contests.
President Obama is seemingly unable to hide his disdain for Governor Mitt Romney as an opponent, or for his ideas. While Mr. Obama managed to go without mentioning Big Bird or “binders full of women,” he still managed to ramble about how every problem in life can be solved with “investing in education” and hiring more teachers.
President Obama was on the attack, lecturing Mr. Romney on all that he did not know because that is hw Mr. Obama is. Obama’s harsh criticism was replete with sarcasm. On more than one occasion Mr. Romney pointed out that personal attacks against him were no substitute for a plan to govern.
If Mr. Obama has an agenda for a second term, he is not saying what it is.
The biggest surprise of the debate was that Mr. Romney did not verbally beat the daylights out of Mr. Obama over the Benghazi debacle. Perhaps Mr. Romney felt that since the polls were moving in his direction, a “play it safe” strategy of running out the clock would work best.
This failed for Mr. Obama in the first debate, but either way Mr. Romney completely allowed Mr. Obama to skate on Libya.
Mr. Romney also surprised many Neocons regarding United States foreign policy by saying “We can’t kill our way out of this mess.” He did accurately contradict Mr. Obama by noting that “Al Qaeda is not on the run.”
Regarding Libya, Mr. Obama oddly stated “We did everything we could to secure the area,” as if trying is good enough.
Governor Romney was willing to mention Radical Islamic extremism. Mr. Obama will never do this.
Mr. Obama was downrightr condescending on several occasions. “I am glad you recognize that Al Qaeda is a threat.” He then became a bad Saturday Night Live parody by telling Romney that “the 1980s want their foreign policy back.”
President Obama seemed to chide Romney for his foreign policy from the 1980s, social policies of the 1950s, and economic policies of the 1920s. Perhaps Mr. Obama should open a history book and realize that in most cases those were times in American life where people were happy, peaceful, and successful.
Obama said that every time Romney offers an opinion, he is wrong and confusing, but Mr. Obama never said why and how. His performance was nothing less than a series of sound bites and bumper stickers.
Bob Schieffer accurately pointed out that it has been over a year since Obama told Assad he had to go. He asked if we should reassess in Syria. This is where Mr. Obama morphed into his alter ego “Platitude man,” saying we are “working with the international community.”
This is a fancy way of saying that merely having a meeting in itself is a complete success, regardless of whether anything comes out of the community.
“I am confident that Assad’s days are numbered,” President Obama said not last night, but one year ago, when Mr. Assad was supposedly down to his last 36 hours. The issue continues to be not what Mr. Obama believes, but what he would actually do.
Mr. Romney pointed out that we’ve watched the President say the United Nations should ‘deal with it.’ Then Kofi Annan had his turn. Then the United Nations did their part to fail to do their part. At some point actual results have to matter. As of now there are none.
Mr. Obama spoke an untruth when he said that “We in Libya immediately stopped the massacre.” No. There was nothing immediate about the inaction that allowed Ghaddafi to stay in power an extra six months and murder many more people while America and the world dithered.
“We acted in a careful, thoughtful, way.” No. We were timid, and many people suffered needless deaths.
Mr. Obama piously stated that Egypt has to protect religious minorities, respect the rights of women, and honor the treaty with Israel.
He had nothing to say about reporter Lara Logan’s blistering comments about his Middle East policies. Ms. Logan was beaten and raped by Egyptians who chanted “Jew” at her. She is not Jewish, but a President supporting human and female rights should see how the Egyptians treated her.
Mr. Romney should have mentioned this.
Mr. Obama’s biggest mistake came when he reflected his viewpoint that shows why his foreign policy is in ashes to begin with. He pointed out that “their” aspirations are similar to what we want for our kids here.
This is absolute nonsense.
Americans want to live in peace and be able to prosper, to still fight for that American dream.
Islamists want to establish a global caliphate and subject the entire Western world to Islamic law. They are not the same as us, and his stubborn unwillingness to separate civilization from barbarism is why America’s enemies are ever more emboldened.
Romney pointed out that “Nowhere in the world is our influence stronger than it was four years earlier.”
Romney was at his best when Schieffer asked him about what America’s role in the world should be. He cited free enterprise, human rights, human dignity, and free elections. “America must lead.” He criticized President Obama for cutting our military budget, tension with Israel, undermining Poland, and refusing to support the 2009 Green Revolution in Iran.
This is surprising given Mr. Obama’s obsession with everything green.
Mr. Obama claimed that “The world is stronger now than when we came into office.” His evidence of this is that he says so. The evidence against this is the actual world we live in.
“Our alliances have never been stronger,” and his evidence is that he “says so.” Contradictory evidence is the real world we live in.
He then again meandered back to a better education system, worker retraining, and green technology. This would be almost comical if the world was not in such dire straits. Naturally Mr. Obama returned to his self-immolation cry of bashing the “wealthy.”
Much to Mr. Schieffer’s frustration, Mr. Obama took us back to the need for education and teachers to which Mr. Romney parried that he favored schools that put kids, teachers and parents first and unions behind.
Schieffer asked how to get to a fiscally sustainable situation. Mr. Romney offered actual policy details. He would cut 5% of the budget excluding military spending. He would also get rid of Obamacare because we can’t afford it. He would give Medicaid to the states. States can run things more efficiently than the federal government.
Obama snarkily responded to Governor Romney’s remarks that “He should have answered the first question,” and that “His math does not add up,” neither of which made much sense, particularly since this is from the man who added six trillion in new debt and calls it a win. We don’t need his math.
Mr. Obama actually had the audacity to say that we need to think about cybersecurity, and space. The space program has been gutted under Mr. Obama, though its demise started presidencies ago.
A strong statement by Mr. Romney is that “I have balanced budgets for 25 years,” which from business to the Olympics, he has. Mr. Obama actually had the gall to avoid budgetary responsibility in a way that was brazen even for him. Sequestration defense cuts were “not me, that is Congress.”
This is misleading at beast. The President signed on to the deal. He then said regarding sequestration that “It will not happen.” Of course it will because unless Mr. Obama backs down and totally caves, he will allow any defense cuts to go forward as long as the rich get bludgeoned in the name of “fairness.”
Mr. Obama then went back into bully mode by snarking that “Romney has not spent enough time figuring out how our military works.” He showed his worst side by saying “We have fewer horses and bayonets.”
He kept the insults going by saying that “We have these things called aircraft carriers,” and ships that go under water, “nuclear submarines,” and that “This is not a game of battleship.”
During tonight’s final presidential debate, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama sparred over the likely defense budget sequestration scheduled to happen later this year.
Between the second and third debates and the Vice Presidential debate, the Obama-Biden team was obviously told by some expert that hurling invective is the same as advancing an agenda. They forgot that while MSNBC loves seeing liberal Democrats treat conservative Republicans as sub-human, mainstream Americans want ideas and solutions, not divisiveness and snarkiness.
On Iran and Israel, Mr. Obama favors doing absolutely nothing, or as he and many others call it, enforcing “sanctions.” He says sanctions work simply because he says they work.
Again, the evidence suggests otherwise.
While Governor Romney did not advocate military action, he at least was willing to do more than the same tired sanctions that have accomplished nothing. He would indict Ahmadeinjad under the Genocide Convention, and make their diplomats world pariahs like South African diplomats were during Apartheid.
When Schieffer cited news reports of a pending deal with Iran, Obama got defensive and said that “the newspaper reports are not true.”
“We will not allow Iran to perpetually engage in negotiations that go nowhere.”
Of course he will. That is exactly what these negotiations do, and Iran knows this.
Romney said that “Iran sees weakness in this administration.”
Obama responded in his typical fashion. “Nothing Governor Romney said about me is true.” “I am not apologizing.” “Every fact checker has said it’s not true.”
Every fact checker? Really?
President Obama claims that he authorized the “toughest sanctions ever.”
This is a fancy way of saying he wagged his finger more sternly then any other finger wagger in history. Sanctions hurt the people, not the governments oppressing their own people. Sanctions are a bottom to top enforcer. By making the people miserable, they will demand, often while being shot at, that their government do as we say.
The bully Obama returned again with a non-sequiter. He accused Romney of investing in a Chinese company that did business with Iran.
Obama blustered that “Iran is now weakened.” Romney replied that the world is four years closer to a nuclear Iran. We should not have wasted these four years.
Romney accurately pointed out that upon being elected, President Obama flew to other nations, but “you skipped Israel.” As for Israel’s enemies, “they noticed.”
Romney’s best line of the night was a devastating criticism that was based in policy, not personal attacks, when saying “You said America had been dismissive, derisive, and dictated. We have not dictated to other nations, we have freed other nations from dictators.”
Obama again had to get in the gutter. “I went to Yad Vashem.” “I did not take donors and fundraisers to Israel.”
Mr Obama asked “Who is going to be credible to all parties involved?”
At that moment people could be forgiven for thinking Mr. Obama had just endorsed Mr. Romney.
“Under me, America has stood on the right side of history,” President Obama says. Only an academic college professor could say something so pompous without anything behind it but his own opinion.
Romney then went straight after failed Obama policies. “Let’s talk about how things are going so well,” with a litany of failures in that the Middle East is a rising tide of chaos, violence, and tumult. The trade deficit is growing larger every year. Russia is not following Nunn-Lugar anywhere.
Romney sees our influence receding, not growing. This is because of Obama’s economic and foreign policies, including turmoil with Israel. Not well publicized is that Democratic Senators sent President Obama a letter begging him to reduce tensions with Israel.
Romney shined when Schieffer asked if America should “divorce Pakistan.”
Romney replied “No, they have nuclear weapons.” He mentioned that Pashtuns will come rushing back into Afghanistan once we leave and that support to Pakistan should be tied to progress.
Romney agreed with the Obama approach on using drones, and that “any and all means necessary,” should be used to keep us safe.
Another Obama failure was that we have not seen progress regarding Israeli-Palestinian talks.
Schieffernasked both candidates what they thought was America’s greatest security threat.
When asked about the greatest terrorist threat Obama actually somehow managed to even end that response by mentioning “investing in education.”
Romney pounced. “Government investments do not make businesses successful.” The greatest threat is a nuclear Iran.
Schieffer asked whether it was wise to declare China currency manipulators on day one. Would that start a trade war? Romney was prepared, noting that we have a tremendous trade imbalance. “They do not want a trade war.”
Obama inisted on remaining petulant. “Romney is right, he knows about jobs shipped overseas. He did it.” Mr. Obama then naturally brought up green energy proving he could go one sentence without mentioning education.
When Romney said that “attacking me is not an agenda for increasing trade,” and tried to discuss how a managed bankruptcy works, Obama kept interrupting.”
Romney stuck to policy. “We need to invest in research,” but that should be done to funding universities and think tanks, not investing in companies. His investing in companies like Solyndra actually stifles investment.
Obama once again came back to the school playground. “You keep trying to airbrush history.”
When Obama brought up the George W. Bush years for the eight billionth time, Mr. Romney said that “I certainly don’t want to go back to the policies of the last four years. Hiring teachers won’t get it done and the federal government should not hire our teachers. We need to get our private sector growing.”
The closing statements allowed President Obama to be himself.
Apparently in the last four years “we made real progress,” he says. President Obama repeated exhausted talking points about the worst crisis since the Great Depression and Romney wanting to take us back to those policies that got us in the mess to begin with.
Romney said that he was “optimistic about our future as a nation.” However, there are “two different paths to get the economy going,” while pointing out that four more years of President Obama gets us twenty trillion in debt and takes us on a path to Greece, with declining take home pay, twenty million people out of work, and many more people on food stamps.
The solution is to get people good jobs. We have to have a President who can work with people on the other side of the aisle. Mr. Romney contrasted himself with the last four years by saying “I will lead in an open an honest way.”
The overall consensus was the exact same conclusion as those who watched the second debate and the Vice Presidential debate. Mr. Obama is very good at personal insults lobbed at Mr. Romney. On policy issues, especially the economy, Mr. Romney wins the debates by a wide margin.
The election is now two weeks away. With the trend moving in Governor Romney’s direction, leaving President Obama no choice but to engage in a slash and burn fight to the finish that should be reserved for Radical Islamists and not political opponents.
Mr. Obama has trouble differentiating enemies from opponents, and the debates showed this for all to see.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, blogger, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian. Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.”
Eric is 100% alcohol, tobacco, drug, and liberalism free. Follow Eric on Twitter @TYGRRRREXPRESS
Eric Golub is an independent writer for the Communities. Read more from Eric at TYGRRRR EXPRESS
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