Hey, it’s not Christmas every day, so here’s some more sane, sober analysis for those of us in the Reality-Based Community to savor. First off, if you haven’t already read Joe Patrice’s summary at Recess Apointment, he’ll teach you about the sturdy foundation supporting last night’s beatdown:
Everyone is talking about Obama “showing up” and “fighting back,” but the more important difference between this debate and the prior debate is that Obama had a strategy. That strategy was: everything you do should be about the middle class, more than being “wrong” Romney should be cast as a liar. When you consider that as a strategy and rewatch the debate (or just soundbites) you see the strategy in action for almost every question. And it worked….
Here’s Paul Constant at Seattle’s Stranger:
Mitt Romney Brought Every Mitt Romney He Could to the Debate Tonight, and President Obama Destroyed Them All
… Tonight was the return of the Mitt Romney that we’ve seen since the very beginning of his presidential campaign. When he has months to prepare, as he did for the first presidential debate, Romney can momentarily tuck this awkward, stammering, stiff cardboard cutout of a man away for ninety minutes or so. But when he only has two weeks to prepare, he simply can’t get it done. Worse, Romney can’t remember what he’s supposed to be anymore. What we saw tonight was a Mitt Romney who was backfiring and shape-shifting between all the different Mitt Romneys we’ve seen during his long and ignominious public career. He appeared to take two very different stances on immigration simultaneously. On the liberal side, he reversed his stance on making contraception available to women. On the conservative side, he tried to blame gun violence on single mothers.
President Obama, on the other hand, was having an amazing night. He allowed himself to become angry—presidentially angry, not sputtering faux-teabagger angry, as Romney did—when he was accused of playing politics with dead American ambassadors. Twice, he talked about being there when the coffins came home. He demanded that Romney finish his attack, even when Romney appeared to get cold feet about it (“Proceed, sir,” Obama said, and it was then when I think every viewer understood that these two men hate each other on a fundamental level). He attacked Romney for trying to drag America down to Romney’s level, and he berated the Republican with all the disdain you’d expect a Commander-in-Chief to muster when he’s truly disgusted.
Romney didn’t win a single question tonight… He lurked in the background of many of the shots as President Obama spoke, pink-faced and grimacing, choking the neck of his microphone as he scrambled around in the depths of his brain, trying to figure out what he should say next. That expression on his face was the look of a man who knew he was failing. He brought all of his best ideas to Hofstra University, and President Obama left every single one of those ideas broken on the debate hall floor, looking chintzy and cheap in the floodlights.
My emphasis. I will admit that I was reassured to see that President Obama really does understand that Willard Romney is not just a fine, upstanding, perhaps-slightly-misinformed patriot who truly wants (what he understand to be) the best for all his fellow Americans. Romney is a lying, craven, lifelong bully and probable sociopath who doesn’t consider Obama and at least 47% of the rest of us fully human. The truism is that that as tribalists we’re always going to assume the worst about our enemies, but we’ve had plenty of proof over the last many months that Romney really is a monster with a beautifully-cut suit and an even more finely-tailored resume, and I want my President to understand the difference between community organizing and full-scale political war.
Finally, Professor Krugman fact-checks “Small Time Mitt“:
So, I was amazed to hear Mitt Romney describing himself as having “come through small business”, as if his private equity firm were just like a mom-and-pop store or something. But Digby informs us that he made similar claims in his convention speech, making Bain sound like a scrappy little start-up. And it’s true it had only 10 people at first — that, and $37 million, yes, $37 million, in seed money.
Where did that $37 million come from? A large part from foreigners, in many cases investing via Panama-based shell companies. Also, funds from families of Central American oligarchs, who were sitting things out in Miami while death squads sponsored by their class, and in some cases by their relatives, were roaming their home countries…
Apart from sweet, sweet schaudenfreude, what’s on the agenda for the evening?