First Presidential Debate: Romney Wins on Polish, Loses on Substance

mitt romneyThe big loser in last night’s debate was Jim Lehrer. I grew up with my dad watching the MacNeil/Lehrer Report back in the day. I know Jim Lehrer is articulate and intelligent. But last night leaves me wondering what the heck happened? Moderator aside, I think each candidate “won” in his own way. Romney won the theater points, while Obama took the lead with substance. 

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Romney was poised for the most part, despite some intermittent frat boy smirking. He seemed more confident than I have ever seen him. Obama, on the other hand, lacked his usual confidence and fire. I suppose spending your 20th wedding anniversary with Mitt Romney would sort of dampen your constitution. The public keeps weighing in on how Romney took this debate even though he is the wrong choice for America. It wasn't Obama's best performance, but our president is not elected by American Idol standards. As if theater is the only thing that matters. It’s important to look beyond the body language and composure and really examine the words each man spoke.

This is where Obama wins on the substance front, hands down. For starters, Romney was flip-flopper extraordinaire. He hailed his health care reform in Massachusetts while dissing Obamacare. Romney’s plan was indeed a template of sorts for the Affordable Care Act. His flip-flopping amounts to (more) dishonesty. He talked an awful lot about “my plan” but failed to share anything specific. He was a winner when it came to artfully dodging the question. Clearly he was well rehearsed. President Obama called him on it:

And at some point, I think the American people have to ask themselves is the reason that Governor Romney is keeping all these plans to replace secret because they’re too good? Is it because that somehow middle class families are going to benefit too much from testimony no, the reason is, is because when we reform Wall Street, when we tackle the problem of pre-existing conditions, then you know, these tough problems and we’ve got to make choices and the choices we’ve made have been ones that ultimately are benefiting middle class families all across the country.

Presidential debates are not about performance and theatrics. The meat is in what they say, how they will lead, and the principles that govern them, which in turn govern our country. And come on, Romney would slaughter Big Bird?! Romney has proven once again that what he has in dollars, he lacks in substance. Sure, his rhetoric sounded polished, and he had good posture. But truthfully, what did he say? Can you honestly articulate his plan for taxes, education, healthcare, jobs? If Massachusetts has such great education, maybe Mitt Romney could go take a math refresher. His claims just don’t add up.

 

Image via Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia

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