Last night was the final Presidential Debate of the the 2012 election campaign. I watched it with my wife, our closest friends and our adult sons. About 10 minutes before it ended I indicated that I felt that while Obama didn’t lose, he didn’t win either. I very quickly found that I was a minority of one. Everyone else in the room felt without a doubt that Obama had won. Certainly the polls and commentary that followed supported that view. But victory for me needed to look a little different and I think that is why we disagreed.
I tried to view the debate through the eyes of someone who, while having made a decision as to who to support, was still open to changing his mind. I was looking for something to happen that might cause that change. I simply didn’t see it. I believe the undecideds are not engaged, probably won’t vote and not worth our energy. While I agree that Obama won the debate on facts, demeanor and knowledge, I would have expected no less. But what I saw in Romney, I didn’t expect.
Mr. Romney prepared for this debate with a simple and incredibly cynical and dishonest goal. He wanted to appear to be moderate and peace loving. He wanted to avoid getting into any battle with the President that would force him to move to the right. He wanted to sound reasonable and in control. He simply didn’t want to scare people who thought that he was a neocon and would get us into war again. He, in fact, stepped back from virtually every foreign policy pronouncement he has made during the 18 months of the primary and than general election campaigns. In order for him to get away with this he had to make one major assumption, that of voter inattention and ignorance.
In every pronouncement he has made, whether it be his budget, foreign policy, taxes, immigration, abortion or immigration he has assumed that the voting public is lacking in knowledge. He has assumed that the voting public will not take the time to research, investigate, read and listen to the facts. He is banking on an uninformed public. Just as he postured at last nights debate, he has postured at every opportunity, based on what he perceived his audience wanted to hear. He thinks the voting public is lazy and will accept whatever he says as the truth.
What does this say about candidate Romney? It says four things; he is arrogant, he has no respect for the voting public, he has no core values, and he will do anything to win. While Obama won on debating points, Romney won on avoiding his weakest area from becoming a disaster that impacted on the election outcome. In other words, if his assumptions about the voting public are correct, he didn’t lose last night. I hope I am wrong. Nothing would give me greater pleasure. Your vote can make me wrong.