WEBCommentary Editor

Author: Bob Webster
Date:  October 23, 2012

Topic category:  Elections - Politics, Polling, etc.

Romney Wins Third Debate - On Substance and Presentation
Obama wins on pettiness, lack of facts, minutes to talk, and interruptions.

Mitt Romney continues to impress debate watchers with his presidential demeanor and clear understanding of subject matter and how various aspects of presidential duties work together to either strengthen or weaken the U.S. After his knockout victory in the first debate, he has dealt intelligently and clearly with petty attacks by a less-than-presidential Barack Obama. In short, Romney's presidential stature has risen dramatically; Obama's has fallen just as dramatically.

Impressions of the final debate:

Another 90 minutes, another step closer to the presidency for Mitt Romney.

The last of the debates, generally on the subject of foreign policy, had its own character with similarities to each of the first two debates. As in the first debate, Mitt Romney has shown he is not the caricature created by the fertile imaginations of the Obama campaign. Romney has shown himself to be reasonable, calm in the face of provocation, well-acquainted with the facts, and he projects a very presidential image because of these attributes.

On the other hand, Obama, after recovering from his bout of sleep-walking in the first debate, has shown that when he is awake, sometimes he is not a very nice person. Obama used every question, not to inform the people about the nature of his foreign policy, but rather to attack Mitt Romney, who spoke to the people and laid out a responsible, mature foreign policy. In both the second and final presidential debates, Obama has been animated and aggressive, barely containing his contempt for Romney as he spewed his personal vitriolic venom at Romney, and, in the process showing he does not possess a likable presidential demeanor.

On numerous occasions during the last two debates, Obama disrespected his opponent, lying (or at least showing he is not familiar with the truth), and at times being downright smarmy with his childish sniping at Romney. To Romney's credit, he did not rise to the bait, a contrast which made Obama even more infuriated with Romney, triggering even more unpresidential behavior. Obama would have benefited from some serious anger-management counseling prior to the final two debates.

Chris Wallace of FOX News made a very astute comment, noting about half way through the debate that if one had been in outer space and just parachuted into the audience of this debate that Romney conducted himself as a President protecting a lead in the polls while Obama appeared to be the challenger desperately attacking his opponent to try to make up ground in the polls.

It is interesting to note that some people apparently confused the aggressive staccato Obama presentation with real substance and thought Obama "won" each of the last two debates on "points" (whatever that means). Evidently, those who thought Obama "won" the debate were giving far too much consideration to the number of his interruptions of Romney (a metric he clearly won). Perhaps they gave credit for having motor-mouthed into, once again, the lead in minutes of spoken words. In that regard, quality should always trump quantity and by any reasonable standard, Romney was the clear winner on substance.

Fact-checking showed Obama wrong on substance:

On three clear points of disagreement, fact-checking showed Obama was flat-out wrong in two instances and misinformed and rather condescending in the other.

The first major disagreement was over Obama's claim that Romney wanted to put 10,000 troops in Iraq in a desperate attempt to show Romney was reckless. However, Romney's only position on troops in Iraq has been that he supported the Obama administration's pursuit of a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Iraq that was a part of the Bush-negotiated troop withdrawal plan (for which Obama continues to claim credit). Despite Vice President Biden being in charge of that agreement, claiming he'd bet his office on getting an agreement, no such agreement was ever made and consequently no troops were left in Iraq.

The second major disagreement was over the dramatic drop in US Naval assets. Obama took this issue as opportunity to imply Romney was not up-to-date, lecturing Romney on the technology changes since 1916, saying we don't use bayonets and horses today either and we have big ships that airplanes land on and others that go under water. This was Obama at his smarmiest. Fact-checking reveals that China's new modernized navy will vastly outnumber the US Navy in a very few years. These are modern warships with high-technology weapons being deployed by China. Fact-checking also revealed that bayonets and horses are being used today in the mountainous regions of eastern Afghanistan's border with Pakistan. While the Obama remark played well with the crowd in the moment, it will be seen in the long run as just another churlish attack on Romney.

The third real disagreement was over Obama's campaign characterization of Romney' position regarding GM and Chrysler bailouts. The actions taken by the Obama administration, in direct violation of long-standing US bankruptcy procedures, were solely motivated by showing favoritism to auto-workers unions whose bloated benefits have driven these US automakers to the brink of extinction. Obama's infusion of massive public funds and installation of government-appointed executives have merely delayed the eventual disintegration of GM and assured that the public will never be repaid. Obama claimed Romney wanted the auto companies to go out of business because he wanted them to go through normal bankruptcy procedures. But normal bankruptcy would not have closed the companies, it would have saved the companies, preserving the creditor status of bondholders, while assuring that steps were taken to actually make the companies financially competitive. The Romney op-ed piece to which Obama referred clearly included federal assistance under the bankruptcy settlement. Obama claimed Romney wanted to deny any federal assistance.

So in all three instances of pointed disagreement, facts reveal Obama to be the uninformed, unpresidential candidate.

Demeanor:  Romney clearly the more presidential

If pettiness, petulance, provocation and generally rude and uncivil behavior toward one's debate opponent are the standards by which a "win" is measured, then Obama was far and away the clear winner of the final debate. But if substance, clear presentation and presidential appearance count, then Romney was so far superior to Obama, one has to wonder which one of them is really President!

The true test of winning the debates will be the impact they have have on the voting public. What will be the lasting impressions from these debates?

Few will remember the specifics of any of the debates. What will linger and impact the vote is that Romney demonstrated he is more presidential, likable, knowledgeable, experienced, reasonable, and willing to work with all Americans to lead our nation out of the terrible mess these last four years have put us in.

A clear picture has been painted in the public mind. It is a picture of contrast between a calm, reasonable Romney and the aggressive, churlish Obama, well-known for his poor relationship with Congress and disdain for Romney. The clear choice emerges as between someone (Romney) who is likable and is inclusive of everyone as contrasted with someone (Obama) whose first term record is atrocious and whose debate behavior was, quite frankly, repulsive and who is routinely divisive, playing one group against another.

Consequences of debates:

This clear contrast has been reflected ever more strongly in the polls as the people focus on making their choice over the remaining days before election day.

I see no reason why the polls will not continue to show Romney gaining greater favor among the electorate. A Romney landslide victory on November 6th is not out of the realm of possibility. Whatever the margin, it is becoming clear to just about everyone that Obama has little likelihood of regaining the trust of voters he had misled for so many months of his campaign by demonizing Romney. Once trust is lost, all voters need is verification that the alternative might be a better choice. They received the verification they sought from Romney, finding him a truly caring and likable human being in the process.

That is the dynamic that will play out over the next several weeks leading up to a what is shaping up to be a "Chick-fil-A" event on election day!

Bob Webster
WEBCommentary (Editor, Publisher)

Biography - Bob Webster

Bob Webster, a 12th-generation descendent of both the Darte family (Connecticut, 1630s) and the Webster family (Massachusetts, 1630s) is a descendant of Daniel Webster's father, Revolutionary War patriot Ebenezer Webster, who served with General Washington. Bob has always had a strong interest in early American history, our Constitution, U.S. politics, and law. Politically he is a constitutional republican with objectivist and libertarian roots. He has faith in the ultimate triumph of truth and reason over deception and emotion. He is a strong believer in our Constitution as written and views the abandonment of constitutional restraint by the regressive Progressive movement as a great danger to our Republic. His favorite novel is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and believes it should be required reading for all high school students so they can appreciate the cost of tolerating the growth of unconstitutional crushingly powerful central government. He strongly believes, as our Constitution enshrines, that the interests of the individual should be held superior to the interests of the state.

A lifelong interest in meteorology and climatology spurred his strong interest in science. Bob earned his degree in Mathematics at Virginia Tech, graduating in 1964.

Copyright 2012 by Bob Webster
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