The first Presidential Debate: About last night dear…

So, it’s the day after the night before and all are in agreement that Governor Romney hockeyed Barack Obama in Denver. A few days ago I gave my opinion that last night would not largely matter in the long run, and I am still of the opinion that it will not really matter in the end.

Romney was well prepared, came across as perfectly reasonable about most matters and took the fight to POTUS all evening. On the other hand, Obama was seen as defensive and his explanations or points seemed somewhat disjointed, not portraying him and his administrations many achievements during a first term characterised by concerted Republican obstructionism in both the House of Representatives and the Senate in relation to all legislative initiatives initiated by Obama and House Democrats.

Last night, Romney’s ‘etch a sketch’ plan regarding his policies if elected to office came off as he was able to paint himself as someone who would merely tinker around the edges with a number of the government programmes and regulations, as opposed to the anti-bureaucratic revolutionary who would scythe through copious amounts of ‘red tape’ to help big business make more money.

Over at the New Republic, Noam Scheiber discusses the strategic flaw of POTUS’ debate last night:

More broadly, I’d argue that the debate structurally favored Romney. As James Fallows has persuasively argued, Romney is an impressive performer when he can anticipate questions: He is impeccably prepared and executes well. He only struggles when the debates take a surprising turn. But with Obama up several points in the national polls, and nearly uncatchable in swing states like Ohio, there was no incentive for Obama to get creative. That meant Romney was very likely to have a good night.

Last night will most definitely feed into the ongoing narrative of Democrats ‘wimping out’ against their Republican opponents, something that particularly annoys Dorian T. Warren over at the Nation. She believes that the forces of progress must become:

more hard-nosed, strategic and indeed ruthless in our effort to weaken the legitimacy and power of the right. Much as conservatives went for our collective jugular after the 2010 midterm elections by targeting the public sector labor movement, we must be willing to go for theirs—regardless of how much more money and power they might have.

This may be true, and it would allow American voters to have a clear choice of vision from both of their main parties as opposed to a somewhat consensual ‘third way’ that has been in vogue since the Clinton White House with Democrats ‘triangulating’ their positions to win elections and elections alone, however, in the meantime we have an election coming up.

So, has last night’s performance been beneficial for Romney’s campaign? Over at, the swing states still in play are all bar one (North Carolina) leaning towards Obama still, a change of one since Sunday but the large states key swing states are not going Romney’s way (Florida, Ohio and Virginia).

I’ll leave a final thought to Noam Scheiber back at the New Republic:

[W]hat Romney’s performance will do is re-energize the Republican elites who were on the verge of ditching him after these last four soul-crushing weeks. Without them, Romney had no hope of winning—no one to help raise money, no one to plead his case in the media, no one to pitch their constituents for him. With them, he has a fighting chance. He can hang around long enough to capitalize on an Obama mistake. That’s not exactly a game-changer. But considering that the only possible game-changer last night was a performance that ended his candidacy, Team Romney will probably take it.


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