The Final Debate
by Jeremiah Joslin
So, I began the day the way I ended the night – mad at the debate, especially at Mitt Romney. First of all, I was disappointed at Romney’s non-confrontational performance. BHO pitched him softball after softball and he just didn’t swing. The President, on the other hand, attacked Romney time and time again using the same points he used during the second debate — points that fact-checkers said Obama had wrong. He used facts that Romney successfully countered during that town hall meeting. Romney just sat there, smiling. He respectfully watched the President as he spoke and politely listened to BHO’s comments. He even took a few notes.
I hollered at the TV – at Mitt – each time Obama interrupted Romney. With more than 100 interruptions, Obama played the Biden game and did it successfully by all standards. There was Romney, the last debate, two weeks before the election and he didn’t take the initiative. He gave Obama the floor and watched as Obama told his story – empty prose. Obama just can’t run on his record, but Mitt never said anything like that.
The next day, the talking heads all gave the win to Obama based on performance, but they also gave unexpected props to Romney. Then they started talking about what was actually said and it struck me. Romney had a plan and, whether or not I liked it, he stuck to it. His plan was to let the President, himself, shine the light on his own abysmal record. I’m not sure if you remember but in one of my earlier posts I said that people were taken by “how” BHO said things not by “what” he said. While the talking heads, on both CNN and FNC, didn’t say that exactly, they did give Mitt more props than I did and as they “unspun” Obama I thought back to the debate and remembered some of the things he said that caused me to scream at Mitt to challenge.
Late in the debate, Mitt was outlining some of the things he accomplished during his term as Massachusetts Governor. Obama interrupted again, as prescribed I suppose by his debate strategy as taught by Joe “the Interrupter” Biden, saying that the successful advances in performance of Massachusetts students happened before Romney took that office. Wrong, Mr. President, and you know it. Every fact checker in existence admits that Romney’s education progress, as Governor, was superlative.
Let me take on a few more on Mitt’s behalf and try to shed some light on the facts.
Another point that jumped out at me and that I thought Mitt was about to turn back on Obama was this thing about the strong “partnerships” BHO claimed he built around the world. The only names that he specifically mentioned as partners were Pakistan, Somalia, Russia and China. The one that exploded in my mind was the “valuable partnership [Obama] built with Pakistan.” There he was proclaiming that he had a great partnership with Pakistan, one that was important for security in the area and, yet, just a few minutes earlier, after ridiculing Mitt for thinking we should have asked for Pakistani permission before going in and killing Bin Laden, Obama went nuts and said Pakistan would never give us permission and that if we had waited for that permission Ben Laden would still be alive. Now, that’s a testament to a valuable partnership. Baloney! The only partner we have in Pakistan is the Pakistani Doctor who helped us nail down Ben Laden’s location. That partner is currently serving a life sentence in a Pakistani prison for aiding and abetting us. Great partnership.
Oh, Yeah almost forgot, we have a partnership with Somalia, too. There is a partnership that we can use to help secure peace in the world. Why on earth is that such a valuable partnership? Pirates still rule that place and murderous gangs roam the forests killing children or pressing them into military service for any one of the various warlords.
Obama talked about the partnerships with Russia and China, as well, and how much stronger they are today than when he took office. We did hear Obama himself trying to personally establish a partnership with Russia. Remember the promise he made to Medvedev and Putin “…of more flexibility” after the election. Russia has done everything in their power to block every initiative the U.S. has made to limit Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear weapons initiatives, not to mention the anti-missile system we were placing in Poland to protect our allies and us from Iranian attack. I can’t think of a single thing that Russia has done that would indicate they might even be loosely considered a partner. Every time he goes to the UN to get international support for sanctions against Iran over their nuclear weapons program, Russia and China, our strong partners, veto them in the Security Council – the only ones doing that. Oh, I forgot, Putin has endorsed Obama. I wonder if he’s looking forward to the flexibility Obama promised. I think that Chaves and the Castros might want to be partners, too. They endorsed, as well.
Although not mentioning any names, Obama also said that through strong partnerships he has “created” he’s been able to effectively establish the strongest sanctions ever on Iran over their nuclear ambitions. “Sanctions that are crippling their economy.” Yet, after four years in office, not a single unilateral sanction has had any effect on Iran’s plans. What he doesn’t realize is that the Iranian leadership doesn’t care a whit about the suffering of its people. Like other extreme governments in the region, only the goals of the government are important. Look what’s happening in Syria. Romney respectfully and calmly reminded us that four years of Obama’s strong leadership and partnership-building has accomplished exactly what? An Iran so close to a nuclear weapon that our “only” ally in the area is threatened by extinction and 30,000 Syrian civilians have been killed by their own government/military. Show me the strength – SHOW ME THE STRENGTH!
Now, that I have taken some time to put into words some of the things I remember from the debate, Mitt’s tactics in this debate have begun to crystallize. His mission was to show he knew the details, geography, the leaders and the problems. You know what? He did that with clarity. He remained calm and ready to present his picture of the future and the past along with his plans for fixing the massive problems Obama has created. Most importantly, he was able to demonstrate that the security of the US, the loyalty of allies and, yes, the development of “partnerships” depend first on the vitality of our economy. Mitt reminded us in all three debates that our economy doesn’t have much vitality and that the responsibility for that rests squarely on Obama’s shoulders.
Mitt was calmer, less confrontational and showed more willingness to collaborate than did Obama. Obama painted the clear picture. At no time did he talk about having included Republicans anywhere, in any discussions. Mitt demonstrated understanding of the problems, offered different recommendations and was clearly more ready to work with diverse politics. Obama, in his own words, simply restated his vision – no plan, just vision. You know what, it is the same vision he shared with us four years ago.
As BHO moved through is plan of attack, he talked about Mitt’s plans for additional spending on our military. I remember this being aggressively and exhaustively discussed during Debate #2. Mitt was clear, he wasn’t increasing spending, he was talking about not accepting the disastrous reduction in spending — two different things. Obama got it wrong then and he got it wrong again. However, that wasn’t such an important part of this discussion. Romney pointed out that our Navy had taken a serious hit and that more was going to happen. The US Navy will be smaller than it was in 1916 (I think that was the date). Obama, very disrespectfully, went into his “Battleship Game” analogy. At the time, I wondered if he planned that or it just came to mind then — you know the whole” horses and bayonets” thing. Inventive, but not true analogy. What Obama doesn’t know is that the number of ships has declined to a point lower than we need to support operations that defend our national security. What he doesn’t know is that it takes lots of ships ferrying supplies — weapon systems, medical and food supplies, water purification equipment, base camp supplies that include tents, cots, sleeping bags, pots & pans, you name it – to sustain a mission. Oops, forgot the Marines – “Semper Fi.” They travel by ship, too. Having led an operation that established such supply ships during my time in the military, I know what I’m talking about. Obama doesn’t. Whether Obama actually sought input from the Joint Chiefs or not, they are under the command of POTUS and if told to build a plan to reduce spending by $2 Trillion, they will come up with a plan. I would like to have been a fly on the wall in that meeting.
As I continue this post, I am falling more in line with Mitt’s plan than I was during and immediately after that last debate. Obama told some lies and made some outlandish statements. Was Mitt totally accurate? No, but Obama was the winner in the “false” or “mostly false” categories. The reason for that might be based in his insistence to “quote” data. He was disrespectful and rude in a couple of cases and, man, did he ever interrupt.
Anyway, I wanted to talk about one more thing – another falsehood perpetrated by our President. That is his short-term memory regarding his attempts to secure a Status of Forces Agreement in Iraq. He attacked Romney on Romney’s position that we should probably still have troops in Iraq. While Obama was coming up with a total withdrawal of forces, Romney was saying that some troops should stay to help secure and maintain the gains we made over there. Obama tried to sell the tale that it was Obama that brought all the troops home, which enabled more to go to Afghanistan. He chided Romney by saying if Romney were in charge; we’d still have troops over there because Romney was against the recall. Truth be told, Obama was trying to keep troops there too. He sent Biden and Clinton to Iraq to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement. Obama wanted a Status of Forces Agreement in place. Why, because one needs a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) in place when troops are to be deployed to the country. Yup, Obama, probably at the behest of his military leaders, wanted to keep forces there as well. That was one of the biggest lies he’s told this year. I remember the SOFA debacle when it happened, but it was brought clearly to the surface when Mitt mentioned it during the debate.
Well, that’s about it for me. Did Mitt lose the debate. I think Obama performed better, but Mitt was more honest with us and Obama was disrespectful, almost demeaning, throughout. I think Romney folks are still Romney folks as Obama folks are still with him. As for the undecided, if they listened to the delivery, Obama won. If they listened to the content then Mitt won. It’s up to you, but my hope is with Mitt.