"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Reviewing The RG's Debate Predictions

All in all not quite what I expected... sort of like Sunday's episode of Homeland.

Debate predictions:

1. Obama will talk about ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and his role in the Arab Spring, arguing that while it's not too soon to declare victory in the former, it's too soon to declare defeat regarding the latter.

This pretty much happened.   Obama can do no wrong.   He's the Light-Bringer.   Or so he thinks.

2. Obama will mention that he "got" bin Laden about a hundred times.  Romney won't question the morality, legality, or efficacy of extra-judicial murders of our enemies abroad, and the moderator won't push Obama about it.   (The moderator also will not push Obama about his promises to close Gitmo, try terrorists as criminals in federal court, etc.   The moderator won't push Obama about drone strikes generally as a tool of American foreign policy.   What happened to liberals?)

Check.  Given the way in which Obama tries to portray himself as a foreign policy/terrorism hawk, you would think he would get some pushback from the left.   But they don't really care about Guantanamo or torture or drone strikes... all they care about is maintaining liberalism in power.   "Killing Arabs abroad, killing babies at home" is the new Democratic slogan.

3. Obama will hit Romney on China as a "flip flopper" because he outsourced jobs there in his Bain days.

Check.   Obama has no concept that an investment manager owes fiduciary duties to his investors, period.   If he's not maximizing their return on investment, he's not doing his job.   But then, doing your job isn't Obama's forte.

4.  Obama will express outrage at even being questioned about his various "narratives" about the Benghazi attacks.

Surprisingly didn't happen.   Romney made a calculated decision not to get into the weeds of Benghazi, not to give Obama a chance to attack him for politicizing the death of Ambassador Stevens, to look Presidential, to not throw stones, etc.   Didn't agree in the moment, but I think I agree now.   Let surrogates keep hitting Obama on this.   The people know what happened:  "Obama lied, Stevens died."
5.  Obama will try to do a Johnson "mushroom cloud" bit on Romney as Goldwater regarding Iran and Israel, saying Romney's bellicosity toward Iran could lead to war in the Middle East.

I think Romney's calm and unthreatening demeanor disarmed Obama's ability to play this card.   Think of the Left's standard schticks about Republicans.   They're mean.   They're stupid.   They're warmongers.   They're angry.   Romney defused all of them.

6. Romney will try mightily to draw the connections between a strong economy and strength in foreign policy, arguing that energy independence will improve our options in the Middle East and defund radical Islamists, lowering our deficits will defund China's military, enhancing free trade will bring us closer to our allies, etc.

Check, check, check.   Awkward at times to rope economic issues into the foreign policy debate, but I don't think voters cared or noticed.   Romney continues to make the case that he can turn the economy around.

7. Romney at some point ought to say, but probably won't say something like this:  "What does it say about President Obama that Chavez, Castro and Putin all support him?"

Didn't happen.   Romney played the nice adult, Obama the snarky teenager.   Obama won... if you think of politics like a sit-com, where the kids are always smarter and quicker-witted than the parents.   Romney won if you care about leadership in the real world.

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