Last night Mitt Romney won big. Highlights: Critique of trickle-down government. No tax cut that adds to the deficit. List of taxes paid by small businesses. Not going to borrow money from China. Economy is a moral question. Let’s not be Spain. Don’t designate some banks as too big to fail. Don’t cut $716 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare. (See “Commanding performance,” by Edward Lee Pitts.)
Meanwhile, Barack Obama was retorting, Oil companies, corporate jets!! Oil companies, corporate jets!! At other times President Obama meandered, and Gov. Romney at one point told him, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” (Romney can get away with that because he clearly is not stupid.) When Obama said Social Security is structurally sound, it was like Gerald Ford saying in 1976, “There is no Soviet dominance of Eastern Europe.”
Romney talked much faster than Obama and seemed to think faster. My question was whether his internal computer processor was going too fast for some viewers to keep up, but the initial post-debate poll numbers were good for Romney. He stressed jobs, showed that he was not a robot, and left Obama so far behind that even Democratic strategist James Carville acknowledged, “The president didn’t bring his ‘A’ game.”
After the debate, MSNBC’s left-wing commentators were in mourning. A CNN poll had Romney winning the debate 67 percent to 25 percent, with Romney leading Obama in improving the economy, reducing the deficit, and even—gasp—likability. (WORLD’s own unscientific poll has it 77 to 18 percent in favor of Romney’s performance this morning.) CNN had to bring out its deeply biased “Reality Check” to try to win for Obama what he was unable to win for himself.
It will be interesting to compare the reactions of those who only watched the debate, those who watched the debate but listened to television commentators afterward, and those who didn’t watch the debate and got all their information from journalists. Given his enormous press support, Obama should still be considered the favorite in this race, but it is now a race, not a rout.