The Horse Sense Blog compares the nonsense in today's news with good ol' fashioned horse sense

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Monday, October 22, 2012

3rd Debate: Obama Maintains Average Performance While Romney Achieves Goal

Here’s the Nonsense:  President Obama took a commanding lead with his performance in this last presidential debate of the campaign.  This should bring him an astounding bounce in the polls and push Romney to the side as Obama races for the finish.

Here’s the Horse Sense:  President Obama showed up tonight and that's about it.  With another average performance like he had in the 2nd debate he will see no real change in his position in the race.  Mitt Romney, on the other hand, played a careful game tonight that resulted in maintaining his lead and continuing his edge as he heads for election day.

The 3rd presidential debate was tonight.  With high anticipation by many, the results varied depending on who will report them.  But the fact is that the debate and its results were very simple.  Obama put in another average performance, just like he did in debate #2 (he was so bad in debate #1 that I won’t even bring it up again).  Romney, on the other hand, accomplished what was most likely the underlying goal of his campaign:  to maintain his lead by not taking chances thereby giving him the edge as they race to the finish line in this election.

President Obama, as I’ve said before, is a mediocre debater at best.  All the great promotion of his intellect, oratory skills, and debate prowess have proven themselves 3 times this campaign season to be nothing more than myth.  At best he puts forth an average performance.  His entire debate performance, when he’s doing well, is nothing more than repeated campaign talking points, a few supposedly bright retorts, and his typical personal attacks on his opponent laced with dishonesty and inaccuracy.  After 4 years of this guy in the presidency this should be no surprise to anyone.

Mitt Romney is an entirely different situation. With a clear victory in the first debate Romney was thrust into the lead in the campaign (if you can believe the polls that he wasn’t in the lead already).  This created a surge in the polls for Romney as the campaign moved into its final weeks. 

Romney followed the first debate with a solid performance in the second debate.  Since Obama’s performance was mediocre in that debate it allowed for no negative impact on Romney and no improvement for Obama (except in the minds of his supporters who blindly follow him).  The campaigns moved forward as Romney’s surge ahead continued.

Tonight was Obama’s last chance to have a debate opportunity that would throw Romney a curve and thrust Obama back into the lead.  Of course Obama’s performance didn’t allow for that.  It simply allowed for him to maintain the status quo.  In the meantime, tonight Romney must have decided to do what most sports teams do when the end of the competition is nearing.  It is common for a team that has a lead to not take chances at times like that.  They play it cautious and just put in a solid performance so they don’t lose their lead.  Their goal is to simply maintain the lead, not to do anything outstanding.  And that appears to be exactly what Romney did.

Sure, Romney showed himself as presidential.  In fact, he was far more presidential than Obama.  We got to see Obama’s ridiculous stares at Romney while he was speaking (I think he was trying to intimidate Romney and I can tell you that a man with Romney’s business experience doesn’t scare easily.).  And we got to hear him twist facts and distort truths while making no points except the old, worn out campaign talking points he’s been repeating over and over again throughout his campaign.  To me the worst one is probably when he keeps saying that Romney doesn’t have a plan when Obama himself doesn’t have one.  He’s still stuck on his old tax and spend agenda.  And yet the whole time Romney has laid out a plan but the Obama campaign and the media conveniently seem to ignore it.

Romney must be given credit for moving the discussion to domestic policy on issues like the economy even though the debate was supposed to be about foreign policy.  Of course that was easy because he was right that a strong military and strong foreign policy cannot happen without a strong economy.  It was a fair move on Romney’s part, but I’m sure Obama didn’t see it coming.

Romney’s focus on the economy and jobs is his strongest point.  Obama can’t hold a candle to Romney’s experience or success in that area.  And the media, much like Obama, still haven’t learned how to balance a checkbook let alone understand even basic economics.

Some people who report or comment on tonight’s debate will talk about unimportant things or report them in error.  They won’t even bother to mention that this is another debate where the Democrat got more time to speak than the Republican (Obama got 4 minutes 18 seconds more time tonight than Romney).  All 3 of the presidential debates and also the vice presidential debate gave more time to the Democrat than the Republican.  But with solid Obama-supporting moderators what could you expect?

Romney showed his willingness and experience in working towards bipartisan successes, something Obama has not even showed a desire to achieve.  Romney’s support of military strength and views on the Middle East gave him a clear advantage tonight. Add to that his understanding of the real abuse of Israel by the Obama Administration made a very clear impression that he understands both he importance of our relationship with Israel and the relationship we need to have with our allies all over the world.  When he pressed Obama on his apology tour and showed that he did not agree with some of President Bush’s actions, as Obama has accused him of, it solidified for voters that Romney is both his own man and has specific ideas of how foreign policy needs to be handled.  He has no plans to return to policies of the past and made that clear.  

Among his other strong points tonight was his clear understanding of foreign trade using the example of opportunities we are missing in Latin America and trying to win with China by getting back into a position of strength instead of Obama’s method of respect through weakness.  Romney clearly was more presidential and could easily give the American voters confidence in his ability to step into the office of the presidency with the ability to move America back to strength and world respect.

No, anyone who thinks tonight was a win for Obama clearly wasn’t paying attention.  Obama gained nothing and is still behind.  Romney maintained his lead by being cautious.  While that probably isn’t what a lot of us would have liked him to do, it was the safe play. With so much at stake in this election we should be glad he played it safe and maintained his lead. 

Personally I would have loved to have seen another replay of the first debate, but Romney did his homework for tonight and the result was a win by not getting fancy or flashy.  This may be the way he played things in business.  It may be one of the reasons he has been so successful in his life.  He’s headed for the finish line with only two weeks to go.  He’s got his eye on the prize and now we all have to work hard to help get him there while maintaining his lead.  This is not the time to relax.