And Mr. Eastwood Has the Last Laugh
The 2012 General Election for the presidency will be won and lost in the debates.
The first presidential debate revealed the American people are engaged and listening to President Obama and Governor Romney. For both campaigns, the stock price for ads (especially negative ones) in the final month has dropped significantly. Tens of millions of dollars of advertisements were no match for a free 90-minute debate and exchange of ideas. There is a new barometer for winning the presidency on November 6th: words and performances matter and therefore debates are defining.
President Obama was flat, void of new ideas and lacked “2008 inspiration.” Governor Romney was prepared, sharp and encouraging for legislative progress in the nation’s capital. Keep in mind that throughout the debate, Obama rarely smiled or made eye contact with Romney, who in turn did the opposite. As a result, Romney looked better and even more presidential than the current occupant of the Oval Office who was just feet away. The split screen made this blatantly obvious and also exposed Obama’s arrogant refusal to accept any criticism as legitimate. The president looked down at his notes most of the evening and didn’t even look present in Denver. The New Yorker best illustrated this observation:
Barry Blitt, The New Yorker
Jon Meacham, while on Morning Joe last week, may have said it best. “No one has spoken to him that way — no one has tried to interrupt him — in four years.”
The sheer fact that the impressive debate victory for Governor Romney moved the needle so far with such a small group of undecided voters this close to the election is monumental and, dare it be said, potentially game changing. It will also be remembered as one of the many quiet moments when Super PACs, with their unlimited cash flows, carried little weight to the simple contrast of ideas spoken to an audience of more than 67 million people on a single night.
It was a contest with a clear winner and loser, just how Americans like it.
While this fluidity in poll numbers applies to both candidates, Romney has a significant advantage because the American people, conservatives and Republicans in particular, have been yearning for a clear line in the sand to be drawn regarding distinct policy differences to the current positions that have shaped the past four years. They finally got them.
Is Mitt Romney perfect? No.
Is Mitt Romney the ideal conservative for President? No.
Is Mitt Romney a great campaigner? No.
Can Mitt Romney improve America’s economic situation? More people are starting to believe he just might be able to.
Three more debates remain, one vice presidential and two presidential, and they will determine the winners and losers of the 2012 General Election. This is the final stretch and, as the American people proved last Wednesday night, we will be paying attention and listening intently to the two men on stage.
NBC News Anchor Brian Williams said before the first debate that it will be mostly political ‘theater.’ If that’s the case, then President Obama clearly missed the memo and Governor Romney is writing quite a third act.