If Obama tells the truth, he’ll be in trouble, so he’ll lieAnd, that is what he did. Obama talked about how he is a good friend to Israel, his belief in free enterprise, his successful war effort in Afghanistan, and he bragged about his forceful opposition to Iran's nuclear program. All are lies, of course.
Romney agreed much of Obama's foreign policy claims. This seemed to be strategy. If Romney were to criticize, say, Obama's failures in Afghanistan, then Obama could accuse him of being dangerous and pro-war. Romney, however, appears to want to keep the focus on the economy. By agreeing with Obama wherever possible on foreign policy, he removed it as a campaign issue.
Ms. Bookworm also predicted:
I fear, though, that Romney will sound more than usually tongue-tied, since foreign policy is something he knows in his head, but doesn’t feel in his gut.This also seemed quite true. Romney's best moments seemed to be when he launched into pre-planned talking points. Romney, by nature, is a manager and not a philosopher. Ronald Reagan, by contrast, spent decades developing a coherent philosophy and explaining it to the public. Romney has no such background and it shows.
So, who won?
Obama's supporters will undoubtedly love Obama's aggressive manor and snarky comments. His supporters will not be bothered by his lies. The pro-Palestinian left, for example, will have no problem with Obama's profession of loyalty to Israel as long as they believe that he is lying. After all, if the left had ever been bothered by lies, Bill Clinton would not be their hero. For them, politics is a game to be won by any means necessary. Obama supporters will think Obama won by a knockout
Independents, by contrast, are more influenced by character than by issues. Whether its Palestine vs. Israel or Keynesianism vs. monetarism, independents are happy to trust someone else to figure it out. What is important to them is that the president be a responsible and trustworthy adult. In 2008, Obama pretended to be such an adult. In 2012, Obama has to run on his sad record and consequently he comes across as snarky, condescending, peevish, and small. And with that, among the independent voters who decide the election, Obama loses the debate.
FLASHBACK: In a 1984 presidential debate, Reagan was asked if he was too old to be president:
Just after Reagan answers the question, note Walter Mondale's good-spirited laugh and smile. Although Mondale was a liberal, he didn't have the bitterness that characterizes the current generation of liberals.
PREVIOUSLY on this Fall's debates:
•Romney-Obama 2nd debate: instant poll results on who won
•Biden-Ryan VP Debate: Instant poll results on who won
•2nd debate: Did Obama really call Benghazi an "act of terror"?
•VP Debate follow-up: White House claims ignorance as its defense