Let me start by saying I think last night’s debate was horrible. No one was moved to change who they support. The Mitt and the Pres have exactly the same supporters. The debate devolved into a wonky soup of boring, with bland chunks of spun beyond recognition factoids from each side. Finished off with a float of extremely poor moderation this room temperature goulash of despair didn’t show us anything new that might make either candidate give us hope of a better America.
So I think it was pretty clear this debate was Obama‘s to lose, and he seemed to take advantage of his option to hand the win to the Mitt. I don’t agree with some that say Mitt mopped the floor with the Pres, but Mitt did come off as more “engaged” than the Pres. So the question is “is this the beginning of Mitt’d path to the White House?” I am not convinced it is. In fact I expect this sets the stage for Mitt’s undoing. How so “thinker of the thoughts worth thinking” can you come to this conclusion?
let’s look at what happened. First off Mitt has finally been forced to take firm positions on a number of issues. Interestingly enough some of these are absolutely opposite of what he has said up till last night. Mitt’s inability to demonstrate consistency has plagued him and he was as flippy floppy as ever last night. He took a new position on education, health care plans and taxes to point out just a few. Mitt also claimed not to understand how a company could get a tax break if it moved facilities out of the country, something he CLEARLY understands and has directly encouraged. Finally Mitt should want more teachers, especially math since he showed he doesn’t understand math. Just try and make a tax model where rates go down, so do deductions (to some “magic made up number) that produces tax savings for the middle class and still produces more revenue because you expand the “base”. Of course there is a hard limit on how much bigger the base can grow unless people start working more than one job. The math just doesn’t work. I’m also not swayed when a candidate says a key part of his plan involves a number that we’ll just “make up”.
So good news is Mitt is finally locking down his positions. Here however is how he is going to lose. I expect the next debate to have a very different tone. Now the Pres can lead with “Mitt, you said these are your plans, we can show that can’t work”. If the Pres is smart he’ll see that he can lose a debate to the Mitt and step it up. Maybe we’ll hear questions about why Mitt has so much invested outside of America? How Mitt thinks the doubled budget past what any military leader asked for reduces the deficit? Why did he choose a Washington “insider” for a V.P. when he claims the reason he needs to be elected is that “insiders” can never solve our problems. Maybe call him out for claiming some successful companies like Tesla were “losers”. Maybe if Mitt asks about “transparency” next time the Pres can ask about whether or not one year of tax returns (800+ pages!) lets American know enough about how Mitt lives his life.
So in summary, Mitt won, no doubt about it, but to win he also locked himself into positions counter to many he held before last night. I also don’t think the debate last night changed anyone’s mind. It is clear the Pres woke up today and is getting his head back in the game for real.. I think the next debate will be a very different animal all together.
So can’t wait to see where this goes from here!