A good night for Romney
The Kansas City Star
I thought Mitt Romney had a solid win last night, even though the CNN snap poll found that most disagreed. But Romney did what he needed to do. I saw a president up there. I’m sure many voters saw the same thing.
Romney went toe-to-toe with Obama, kept his cool and frequently had the president on the defensive. I thought smoke would come out of Obama’s ears when the “apology tour” stuff came up, accented by Romney’s killer refrain, “they noticed.”
From the transcript: “And then the president began what I’ve called an apology tour of going to — to various nations in the Middle East and — and criticizing America. I think they looked at that and saw weakness. Then when there were dissidents in the streets of Tehran, the Green Revolution, holding signs saying, is America with us, the president was silent. I think they noticed that as well. And I think that when the president said he was going to create daylight between ourselves and Israel that — that they noticed that as well.”
Romney won the key exchange over China, although I disagree with his position that bashing Beijing and declaring China a currency manipulator is the best way to handle the problem.
Some people seemd to think the “horses and bayonets” line was a plus for Obama, which to me is puzzling. This was one of Obama’s most condescending and wrongheaded moments.
Romney mentioned our shrinking fleet and Obama replied, in effect, that of course the fleet is smaller; with time your military assets should change.
Here’s Obama: “Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets — (laughter) — because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. And so the question is not a game of Battleship where we’re counting ships. It’s — it’s what are our capabilities.”
The trouble with Obama’s flawed analogy is while we don’t need horses to any significant extent, we still need ships — and sorry, “counting ships” matters greatly. As our ships become more technologically capable and expensive, the costs of losing just one becomes a much heavier blow proportionately. So a shrinking Navy implies a more risk-averse national security strategy — something, to borrow Romney’s refrain, other powers will “notice.”
Romney did what is always tough for challengers to do. He showed he was up to speed on foreign policy and capable to stepping into the commander-in-chief role.
The first debate changed the dyanmics of this race utterly. The subsequent two — and the veep debate — did nothing to restore the political landscape to Obama’s liking. Romney is well positioned for the home stretch.