Round three of the presidential verbal boxing match is over, and even die-hard politicos who treated each of the debate nights as though the Oscars cornholed Christmas and gave the Grammys a reach-around, are actually thrilled.
Bob Shieffer, who has served as presidential debate moderator on multiple occasions throughout the centuries, took a rather laid-back approach to last night’s affairs. It was not unlike telling your grandfather you are going to watch cartoons but instead you download porn because you know he’d be totally cool with it and not tell anyone. Shieffer’s laissez–faire, attitude still managed to keep both candidates at equal speaking time, and only once did he mix up the names of the president and a deceased Al-Quaeda leader: “We know that Pakistan has arrested the doctor who helped us catch Obama [sic] bin Laden..” God bless him.
Governor Romney, fresh from spelunking in Netanyahu’s nether regions, took time to learn the word, “tumult” during his debate preparation. And not a man to let things go to waste, he tossed out the word a total of five times, and he even pronounced it correctly three times. In between stumbling over his rehearsed lines, and running out the clock with platitudes and obfuscations, he managed to whine that President Obama was “attacking” him. He said it three times.
While the governor was busy learning a new debate word to wield, he was still unfamiliar with Middle Eastern geography and stated that Syria is Iran’s route to the sea. Never mind that Iran has the Caspian Sea to the north and the Persian Gulf to the south and that the country is not connected to Syria except through Iraq or Turkey. But perhaps this was simply a slip of the tongue? Not exactly; he said the same thing in the Arizona G.O.P. debate in February 2011.
- When did “daylight” become the new political mot du jour that we need created between ourselves and our allies? Sit down, Daylight, we’ve had about enough of you.
- And did every pundit just learn the word “bellicose?” Is it possible to now unlearn it?
It was clear as the evening wore on that Romney knew he was whipped, and twice let it slip: “If I’m president,” and on the second fumble corrected himself following up with “when I’m president.” At that point even Senator McCain who’d previous called him a “pretty good” candidate couldn’t even believe his ears.
President Obama led the charge and continued to attack even while the governor was attending to his wounds. And Romney’s continuous virtual surrenders of agreement (with the president’s foreign policies) were still not enough to mollify Obama who laid into his opponent’s questioning of the size of the U.S. military (that he himself already referred to as “second to none in the world”) with his most scathing attack:
“But I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works. You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916.
Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.
And so the question is not a game of Battleship, where we’re counting ships.”
Intelligent forward-thinking people are aware that intelligence operations are pushing traditional warfare into the background and will eventually be as relevant in our war chest today as smallpox blankets and sling shots. Also off the debating tables, “he hit me first,” “I’m tellin’,” and the classic: “Your mama.”
The debate, like his campaign, went just as predicted: Once Romney won the nomination he would slide toward the center. What we hadn’t considered, however, is that he’d all but endorse Obama for a second term
Sadly presidential debate junkies will have to wait until 2016 for another bump of politi-smack when Secretary of State Clinton goes toe-to-gut with Governor Christie. We can only hope it doesn’t turn out to be a hotdog-eating contest.