Well, there you have it, America. We don’t have to watch any more debates until the next presidential campaign gets underway, which won’t be for several months yet.
Romney held his own well enough, and landed a few good blows (best of all: the apology tour). He looked steady and calm, and plausibly Presidential. That said, he seriously blew, in my opinion, the answer to “What is the greatest threat to America’s national security?” His answer was Iran’s nuclear program, but that was off by two. Closer would have been Pakistan (excuse me: “Pock-ee-stahn”), which is disintegrating into Islamizing chaos and owns at least a hundred nuclear weapons. The best answer, though, would have been to say that the biggest threat to America’s security is its unsustainable debt and deficit spending.
Romney also has his head in the clouds regarding the Muslim world generally; he seriously seems to believe that America actually has some chance of noodging the Ummah world into rejecting Islamic “extremism”, and that pinning our hopes on this constitutes a realistic policy. But I have long since given up on any mainstream politician, or pundit, or pretty much anybody with a career in public affairs to worry about, ever saying anything sensible or realistic on that score.
I think that Mr. Obama made a serious mistake with all that snark about horses and bayonets, and how we have “these things called aircraft carriers — planes land on them.” It was snotty and unpresidential, and it ignored, sarcastically, a legitimate point about naval strength. It seemed he often answered serious criticisms with petty personal retorts.
The snap polls are giving this one to Obama, and overall he probably gave as good as he got tonight, I think; he more than held his own in several exchanges. He needed more than that, though, and I don’t think he reversed Mr. Romney’s momentum. He also made one startling remark: that sequestration is “not going to happen”. Whut? Front page news, if true.
Bob Schieffer was by far the best of the moderators (save for jumping in to debate the Republican once or twice). I thought he did a good job.
So! Just some last-minute chess-playing on the hustings, and then off to the only poll that matters. I’ll be glad when it’s over. Keep in mind: no matter who wins, we’re completely screwed.